Quarantine Rewind: What Even Happened this Year?


Fordham University requires all students to be vaccinated by the start of the fall semester. (Courtesy of Erica Weidner/The Fordham Ram)

When Fordham University initially suspended face-to-face classes and told all students to return home immediately on March 9, 2020, the student body rejoiced. Students crowded Edward’s Parade, enjoying the sunshine and celebrating the extended spring break with friends. COVID-19 seemed like an afterthought, and no one knew how dire things would soon become.

Just days later, Fordham suspended all face-to-face instruction for the rest of the semester. From that moment, our lives changed forever. The world has entered a new era since that fateful day. Here are some of the biggest cultural moments that have occurred since the infamous “Corona Day” on March 9. 

1. The Pandemic

COVID-19 has altered life as we know it. As of today, there have been 29.5 million total cases in America alone, along with over 534,000 deaths. While the pandemic shows no sign of slowing, the availability of vaccinations offers hope for a more normal future. 

2. Sports Cancellations

On March 12, 2020, the NBA did the unthinkable and suspended its entire season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Golbert tested positive for COVID-19 right before a game. Other sports powerhouses, such as the MLB, WNBA and NHL, ceased competition after the NBA made its announcement. Collegiate sports followed suit as the NCAA canceled the 2020 March Madness basketball tournament and any remaining national championships for winter and spring seasons. Officials even had to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the most prestigious sports competition of the modern era, until 2021. 

The sudden cancellation of all sports came as both a shock and disappointment to all athletes and fans involved.  However, sports still managed to persevere. The NFL did not suspend its fall season and managed to play games up until the Super Bowl, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched the overall victory. The NBA and the MLB resumed their seasons in July 2020, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers winning their respective national titles. (A successful year for Los Angeles!) 

3. George Floyd and the Racial Reckoning in America

The death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man from Minnesota, at the hands of a white police officer sparked a nationwide outcry against police brutality and systemic racism in America. On May 25, 2020, an employee at a convenience store called authorities after Floyd allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase cigarettes, and the officers on the scene responded with excessive force. Three officers pinned Floyd to the ground and kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, resulting in his death. Bystanders managed to capture Floyd’s murder on video, and the clips of Floyd begging for his life horrified America.

Floyd’s murder was the final straw after many months of rising racial tension, especially after the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Nationwide protests erupted as a result, advocating to defund corrupt policing organizations to stop police brutality at its source. These conversations resulted in a massive change in American attitudes regarding racial injustice. 

4. The Repercussions of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court and a trailblazing feminist icon, passed away from metastatic pancreatic cancer on Sept. 18, 2020 at age 87. Ginsburg’s absence from the court allowed former president Donald Trump to choose a third seat during his time in office, therefore tipping the Supreme Court into conservatives’ favor. He nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor, to fill the open spot and the Senate confirmed her with a 52-48 vote last October. Her confirmation resulted in Republican appointees outnumbering Democrats 6-3 on the Supreme Court. 

Many Americans voiced concerns about Barrett’s presence on the Supreme Court, considering her political history. Barrett holds a conservative voting record in cases regarding abortion, gun control, immigration and discrimination, and she has extremely religious views. Democrats argued that Barrett’s presence on the Supreme Court could endanger women’s rights in America. For instance, she is expected to push towards repealing Roe v. Wade, the case that established a woman’s right to abortion. To follow the “Notorious RBG,” who fought so hard for women’s rights, with Barrett felt like a slap in the face to Democrats.

5. Joe Biden Wins the Presidency, and Whispers of Voter Fraud Arise

After months of political rallies, troubling debates and not-so-subtle subtweets, sitting president Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s fight for the presidency came to an end last November. Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, came out on top, winning 306 electoral votes in comparison to Trump’s 232. 

The election seemed to be in Trump’s favor on the first night, as polls counted in-person votes, yet mail-in ballots (courtesy of the ongoing pandemic) propelled Biden to victory. Biden succeeded in flipping Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania blue, cementing the win. 

Trump, however, wasn’t going down without a fight. The former president accused polling stations of voter fraud and refused to concede the presidency until January 7. 

6. Capitol Insurrection and Trump’s Downfall

Trump’s accusations of voter fraud ignited a fury within his supporters, who now believed the election was stolen from them. Things came to a head on Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump held a rally near the White House as the Senate certified the electoral votes. After the rally, a frenzied mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths. 

The riot also initiated a sudden downfall for Trump. Twitter, along with multiple other social media platforms, banned the president permanently to prevent “further incitement of violence” through misinformation. Congress also impeached Trump for the second time because they believed he contributed to inciting the riot. 

7. Gamestop and the Stock Market

Video-gaming corporation Gamestop experienced a sudden influx in its stock in mid-January, thanks to a group of Reddit users’ trading investments. However, investment apps, such as Robinhood, limited users’ abilities to purchase shares. This exposed the many disadvantages that regular shareholders have in comparison to those on Wall Street. 

8. The Rise of TikTok

Boredom during quarantine helped short-video app TikTok explode in popularity over the course of the year. Dance trends, video edits and humorous clips provided hours upon hours of enjoyable content for those quarantining at home. TikTok also catapulted users such as Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae and Bella Poarch to international stardom. 

9. Successful TV Shows and Movies

COVID-19 slowed the entertainment industry down tremendously, but old and new shows on various streaming services managed to keep audiences hooked. Shows such as “Tiger King,” “Avatar: the Last Airbender,” “The Masked Singer” and “Wandavision” are among some of the most popular. Only a few movies made their debut on the big screen this year, but some streaming services released films immediately on their platforms, like“Soul” (Disney+), “Hamilton” (Disney+) and “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime). 

10. Those We Lost

The world said goodbye to a number of beloved individuals in both 2020 and 2021. These included actor Chadwick Boseman, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek, actor Christopher Plummer, pop singer Sophie Xeon, interviewer Larry King, actress Naya Rivera and actor Sean Connery.