January 31, 2021 Day 12 of the First Year - History

January 31, 2021 Day 12 of the First Year - History

Vice President Kamala Harris visits with her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2021, in the Second Gentleman’s Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.

Meet the first local babies born on New Year’s Day 2021

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It was a very happy New Year’s for two Columbus couples who welcomed little ones in the early morning hours.

Brinley Fore was born at 12:11 a.m. Friday at Dublin Methodist Hospital. She weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measured 19-and-a-half inches long. Moms Selena and Nicole say their baby girl was born a little earlier than expected Brinley’s original birthday was set for January 12th.

In Westerville, Joseph Tuttle was born at 1:18 a.m. Friday at Mount Carmel Saint Ann’s Hospital . The big boy weighed in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces and is 21-and-a-half inches long. Mom and dad are Jennifer and Joel Tuttle.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Activities (3)

Old Calendar: Septuagesima Sunday

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him (Mark 1:23-26).

The feast of St. John Bosco, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

Sunday Readings
The first reading is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy 18:15-20. This central section of this book describes the various offices and officers of the theocratic society which Yahweh, through his servant Moses, is setting up for the Chosen People.

The second reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 7:32-35. He devotes chapter 7 to answering questions concerning marriage and virginity. In today's extract he emphasizes freedom to serve God fully, freedom from earthly cares which those who choose a life of celibacy have.

The Gospel is from St. Mark 1:21-28. St. Mark makes it clear that, from the very first day of Christ's public ministry, his messianic power began to be manifested to those who saw and heard him. The Jews of Capernaum were "astonished" at his teaching and "amazed" at his power over the evil spirits. "What is this," they asked one another, "a new teaching and the unclean spirits obey him!" But they were still a long way from recognizing him for what he was, the Messiah and Son of God. This is as might be expected, the astounding mystery of the incarnation was way beyond human expectation or human imagination. And it was our Lord's own plan to reveal this mystery, slowly and gradually, so that when the chain of evidence had been completed by his resurrection, his followers could look back and see each link in that chain. Then they would be ready to accept without hesitation the mystery of the incarnation and realize the infinite love and power of God that brought it about. We look back today through the eyes of the Evangelists, and, like them, know that Christ was God as well as man—two natures in one person. We should not therefore be "amazed" at the teaching of Jesus or at his power over the unclean spirits. What should amaze us really is the love that God showed mankind in becoming one of our race.

We are creatures with nothing of our own to boast of. We were created by God, and every talent or power we possess was given us by God. God's benevolence could have stopped there and we would have no right to complain. But when we recall the special gifts he gave man, which raise him above all other created things, we see that he could not, because of his own infinitely benevolent nature, leave us to an earthly fate. What thinking man could be content with a short span of life on earth? What real purpose in life could an intelligent being have who knew that nothing awaited him but eternal oblivion in the grave? What fulfillment would man's intellectual faculties find in a few years of what is for the majority of people perpetual struggle for earthly survival? No, God created us to elevate us, after our earthly sojourn, to an eternal existence where all our desires and potentialities would have their true fulfillment. Hence the incarnation, hence the life, death and resurrection of Christ, who was God's Son, as the central turning point of man's history.

Today, while amazed at God's love for us, let us also be justly amazed at the shabby and grudging return we make for love. Many amongst us even deny that act of God's infinite love, not from convincing historical and logical proofs, but in order to justify their own unwillingness to co-operate with the divine plan for their eternal future. This is not to say that their future, after death, does not concern them it is a thought which time and again intrudes on all men, but they have allowed the affairs of this world which should be stepping stones to their future life, to become instead mill-stones which crush their spirits and their own true self-interests.

While we sincerely hope that we are not in that class, we can still find many facets in our daily Christian lives which can and should make us amazed at our lack of gratitude to God and to his incarnate Son. 'Leaving out serious sin which turns us away from God if not against him, how warm is our charity, our love of God and neighbor? How much of our time do we give to the things of God and how much to the things of Caesar? How often does our daily struggle for earthly existence and the grumbles and grouses which it causes, blot out from our view the eternal purpose God had in giving us this earthly existence. How often during the past year have we said from our heart: "Thank you, God, for putting me in this world, and thank you a thousand times more, for giving me the opportunity and the means of reaching the next world where I shall live happily forevermore in your presence"? If the true answer for many of us is "not once," then begin today. Let us say it now with all sincerity, and say it often in the years that are left to us.

— Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.

    Learn more about the tradition associated with Septuagesima Sunday (Extraordinary Rite) in Catholic Culture's library, Burying the Alleluia: Burning Strawmen, Mourning Choirboys

Commentary for the Readings in the Extraordinary Form:
Septuagesima Sunday

"Why do you stand here all day idle? . . . Go you also into the vineyard" (Gospel).

As athletes of Christ we are called to a competitive "race" (Epistle). As workers with Christ we are ordered into the "vineyard" (Gospel).

It is a "race" with death for the "prize" of life eternal. Only "one receives the prize" by His own right, Christ! But, remember, He still runs in us if we do not lag in this "race," as did Israel under "Moses" (Epistle).

God comes to us "early" in life. Unitl the last "hour" He repeats, "Why . . . stand . . . idle?" Each "hour" brings us nearer to the "evening" of reward, not due to the excellence of our work in itself but mercifully given by God as a recompense (Gospel).

— Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood

On This Day in Rock History

1942 – Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool, Englan… &mdash 1942 – Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool, England. The Beatles have 20 No. 1 songs, more than any other recording act, and McCartney by himself or in duets has [. ]

2006 – Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall leads al… &mdash 2006 – Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall leads all winners, taking home three honors, at the 17th Annual MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto. The event features performances by Nelly Furtado featuring [. ]

2004 – Ray Charles’ funeral is held at the First AME… &mdash 2004 – Ray Charles’ funeral is held at the First AME Church in Los Angeles. Among the performers at the service are Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, and B.B. King. Also [. ]

2003 – Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller became the first British music manager since The Beatles &mdash 2003 – Pop Idol creator Simon Fuller became the first British music manager since The Beatles’ Brian Epstein to hold the top three positions in the US singles chart. Fuller, [. ]

2002 – U2 lost a bid to prevent the demolition of Hanover Quay studio in Dublin. Over &mdash 2002 – U2 lost a bid to prevent the demolition of Hanover Quay studio in Dublin. Over 8,000 fans signed an online petition to preserve the studio, where the group recorded [. ]

2002 – Ozma keyboardist/flute player Star Wick is … &mdash 2002 – Ozma keyboardist/flute player Star Wick is injured in a car accident in the midst of the Vans Warped Tour. Wick suffers whiplash and bruising in addition to a [. ]

1998 – The Walt Disney Co. becomes an even bigger … &mdash 1998 – The Walt Disney Co. becomes an even bigger player on the Internet with the purchase of a 43% stake in Web search engine company Infoseek Corp. Disney Plans [. ]

1998 – Teen Idol, David Cassidy sells a two-CD set… &mdash 1998 – Teen Idol, David Cassidy sells a two-CD set exclusively on cable TV shopping network QVC at 2 p.m. ET. The set, on Slamajama Records, includes his latest album, [. ]

1998 – Heart featuring Ann Wilson embarks on a U.S… &mdash 1998 – Heart featuring Ann Wilson embarks on a U.S. in Chicago. Other tour stops include Detroit and Los Angeles.

1997 – Country Music Association entertainers of t… &mdash 1997 – Country Music Association entertainers of the year Brooks & Dunn play a special show for their fan club at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. In keeping with tradition, both Brooks [. ]

1997 – during a North American tour U2 played the first of two nights at Oakland &mdash 1997 – during a North American tour U2 played the first of two nights at Oakland Coliseum, San Francisco supported by Oasis.

1988 – George Michael appeared live at the Glasgow SEC on his “Faith” &mdash 1988 – George Michael appeared live at the Glasgow SEC on his “Faith” tour. Tickets cost £11 ($19).

1987 – A concertgoer sues Motley Crue… &mdash 1987 – A concertgoer sues Motley Crue, claiming that she went deaf because their PA was turned up too loud.

1984 – At New York’s Madison Square Garden, nutty Judas… &mdash 1984 – At New York’s Madison Square Garden, nutty Judas Priest fans tear up hundreds of seats as their idol performs.

1980 – The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd… &mdash 1980 – The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as the deadpan R&B team, premieres in New York.

1977 – Fleetwood Mac went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Dreams’, the groups &mdash 1977 – Fleetwood Mac went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Dreams’, the groups first and only US No.1, it made No.24 in the UK.

1977 – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers supported by The Boomtown Rats &mdash 1977 – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers supported by The Boomtown Rats appeared at Friars, Aylesbury, England.

1977 – Johnny Rotten and Paul Cook are stabbed… &mdash 1977 – Johnny Rotten and Paul Cook are stabbed by a gang who, safe to say, are not Sex Pistols fans.

1977 – The No. 1 album in the U.K. is The Beatles… &mdash 1977 – The No. 1 album in the U.K. is The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, a live album created by splicing together two performances at the venue from [. ]

1977 – Boston earned their third top 40 single in the U.S… &mdash 1977 – Boston earned their third top 40 single in the U.S. when “Peace of Mind” peaked at number 38 in 1977. The song was taken from their multi-platinum selling [. ]

1968 – London’s National Theatre premieres In His… &mdash 1968 – London’s National Theatre premieres In His Own Write, an adaptation of the writings of John Lennon.

1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience makes its debut… &mdash 1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience makes its debut performance at the Monterey (Calif.) Pop Festival. The Hendrix album “Electric Ladyland,” released in 1968, tops Chart Toppers’s pop album chart [. ]

1967 – After an argument between Jimi Hendrix and… &mdash 1967 – After an argument between Jimi Hendrix and the Who over who’s going to close the Monterey festival, Hendrix plays an incendiary set that sees him light his [. ]

Help Stu in his battle with Cancer!

January 4: National Spaghetti Day

​Cheryl Chan / Moment / Getty Images

Whether you make your own or stick to store-bought, nothing beats a massive bowl of spaghetti with garlicky marinara sauce and meatballs on a cold winter day. For National Spaghetti Day, take your meal to the next level by pairing it with freshly made garlic bread.


In 567, the Council of Tours "proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany (traditionally 6 January) as a sacred and festive season, and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast." [7] [8] [9] [10] Christopher Hill, as well as William J. Federer, states that this was done in order to solve the "administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east." [ clarification needed ] [11] [12]

The Armenian Apostolic Church and Armenian Catholic Church celebrate the Birth and Baptism of Christ on the same day, [13] so that there is no distinction between a feast of Christmas and a feast of Epiphany.

The Oriental Orthodox (other than the Armenians), the Eastern Orthodox, and the Eastern Catholics who follow the same traditions have a twelve-day interval between the two feasts. Christmas and Epiphany are celebrated by these churches on 25 December and 6 January using the Julian calendar, which correspond to 7 and 19 January using the Gregorian calendar. The Twelve Days, using the Gregorian calendar, end at sunset on 18 January.

Eastern Orthodoxy Edit

For the Eastern Orthodox, both Christmas and Epiphany are among the Twelve Great Feasts that are only second to Easter in importance. [14]

The period between Christmas and Epiphany is fast-free. [14] During this period one celebration leads into another. The Nativity of Christ is a three-day celebration: the formal title of the first day (i. e. Christmas Eve) is "The Nativity According to the Flesh of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ", and celebrates not only the Nativity of Jesus, but also the Adoration of the Shepherds of Bethlehem and the arrival of the Magi the second day is referred to as the "Synaxis of the Theotokos", and commemorates the role of the Virgin Mary in the Incarnation the third day is known as the "Third Day of the Nativity", and is also the feast day of the Protodeacon and Protomartyr Saint Stephen. 29 December is the Orthodox Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Afterfeast of the Nativity (similar to the Western octave) continues until 31 December (that day is known as the Apodosis or "leave-taking" of the Nativity).

The Saturday following the Nativity is commemorated by special readings from the Epistle (1 Tim 6:11–16) and Gospel (Matt 12:15–21) during the Divine Liturgy. The Sunday after the Nativity has its own liturgical commemoration in honour of "The Righteous Ones: Joseph the Betrothed, David the King and James the Brother of the Lord".

Another of the more prominent festivals that are included among the Twelve Great Feasts is that of the Circumcision of Christ on 1 January. [14] On this same day is the feast day of Saint Basil the Great, and so the service celebrated on that day is the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil.

On 2 January begins the Forefeast of the Theophany. The Eve of the Theophany on 5 January is a day of strict fasting, on which the devout will not eat anything until the first star is seen at night. This day is known as Paramony (Greek Παραμονή "Eve"), and follows the same general outline as Christmas Eve. That morning is the celebration of the Royal Hours and then the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil combined with Vespers, at the conclusion of which is celebrated the Great Blessing of Waters, in commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. There are certain parallels between the hymns chanted on Paramony and those of Good Friday, to show that, according to Orthodox theology, the steps that Jesus took into the Jordan River were the first steps on the way to the Cross. That night the All-Night Vigil is served for the Feast of the Theophany.

Within the Twelve Days of Christmas, there are celebrations both secular and religious.

Christmas Day, if it is considered to be part of the Twelve Days of Christmas and not as the day preceding the Twelve Days, [3] is celebrated by Christians as the liturgical feast of the Nativity of the Lord. It is a public holiday in many nations, including some where the majority of the population is not Christian. On this see the articles on Christmas and Christmas traditions.

26 December is "St. Stephen's Day", a feast day in the Western Church. In Great Britain and its former colonies, it is also the secular holiday of Boxing Day. In some parts of Ireland it is denominated "Wren Day".

New Year's Eve on 31 December is the feast of Pope St. Sylvester I and is known also as "Silvester". The transition that evening to the new year is an occasion for secular festivities in many nations, and in several languages is known as "St. Sylvester Night" ("Notte di San Silvestro" in Italian, "Silvesternacht" in German, "Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre" in French, and "סילבסטר" in Hebrew).

New Year's Day on 1 January is an occasion for further secular festivities or for rest from the celebrations of the night before. In the Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, it is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, liturgically celebrated on the Octave Day of Christmas. It has also been celebrated, and still is in some denominations, as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, because according to Jewish tradition He would have been circumcised on the eighth day after His Birth, inclusively counting the first day and last day. This day, or some day proximate to it, is also celebrated by the Roman Catholics as World Day of Peace. [15]

In many nations, e. g., the United States, the Solemnity of Epiphany is transferred to the first Sunday after 1 January, which can occur as early as 2 January. That solemnity, then, together with customary observances associated with it, usually occur within the Twelve Days of Christmas, even if these are considered to end on 5 January rather than 6 January.

Other Roman Catholic liturgical feasts on the General Roman Calendar that occur within the Octave of Christmas and therefore also within the Twelve Days of Christmas are the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist on 27 December the Feast of the Holy Innocents on 28 December Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr on 29 December and the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas or, if there is no such Sunday, on 30 December. Outside the Octave, but within the Twelve Days of Christmas, there are the feast of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus on 2 January and the Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus on 3 January.

Other saints are celebrated at a local level.

Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages Edit

The Second Council of Tours of 567 noted that, in the area for which its bishops were responsible, the days between Christmas and Epiphany were, like the month of August, taken up entirely with saints' days. Monks were therefore in principle not bound to fast on those days. [16] However, the first three days of the year were to be days of prayer and penance so that faithful Christians would refrain from participating in the idolatrous practices and debauchery associated with the new year celebrations. The Fourth Council of Toledo (633) ordered a strict fast on those days, on the model of the Lenten fast. [17] [18]

England in the Middle Ages Edit

In England in the Middle Ages, this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season on 6 January. In Tudor England, Twelfth Night itself was forever solidified in popular culture when William Shakespeare used it as the setting for one of his most famous stage plays, titled Twelfth Night. Often a Lord of Misrule was chosen to lead the Christmas revels. [19]

Some of these traditions were adapted from the older pagan customs, including the Roman Saturnalia and the Germanic Yuletide. [20] Some also have an echo in modern-day pantomime where traditionally authority is mocked and the principal male lead is played by a woman, while the leading older female character, or 'Dame', is played by a man.

Colonial North America Edit

The early North American colonists brought their version of the Twelve Days over from England, and adapted them to their new country, adding their own variations over the years. For example, the modern-day Christmas wreath may have originated with these colonials. [21] [22] A homemade wreath would be fashioned from local greenery and fruits, if available, were added. Making the wreaths was one of the traditions of Christmas Eve they would remain hung on each home's front door beginning on Christmas Night (first night of Christmas) through Twelfth Night or Epiphany morning. As was already the tradition in their native England, all decorations would be taken down by Epiphany morning and the remainder of the edibles would be consumed. A special cake, the king cake, was also baked then for Epiphany.

United Kingdom and Commonwealth Edit

Many in the UK and other Commonwealth nations still celebrate some aspects of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Boxing Day, 26 December, is a national holiday in many Commonwealth nations. Victorian era stories by Charles Dickens, and others, particularly A Christmas Carol, hold key elements of the celebrations such as the consumption of plum pudding, roasted goose and wassail. These foods are consumed more at the beginning of the Twelve Days in the UK.

Twelfth Night is the last day for decorations to be taken down, and it is held to be bad luck to leave decorations up after this. [23] This is in contrast to the custom in Elizabethan England, when decorations were left up until Candlemas this is still done in some other Western European countries such as Germany.

United States Edit

In the United States, Christmas Day is a federal holiday which holds additional religious significance for Christians. [24]

The traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been nearly forgotten in the United States. Contributing factors include the popularity of the stories of Charles Dickens in nineteenth-century America, with their emphasis on generous giving introduction of secular traditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, e. g., the American Santa Claus and increase in the popularity of secular New Year's Eve parties. Presently, the commercial practice treats the Solemnity of Christmas, 25 December, the first day of Christmas, as the last day of the "Christmas" marketing season, as the numerous "after-Christmas sales" that commence on 26 December demonstrate. The commercial calendar has encouraged an erroneous assumption that the Twelve Days end on Christmas Day and must therefore begin on 14 December. [25]

Many American Christians still celebrate the traditional liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas, especially Amish, Anglo-Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Mennonites, Methodists, Moravians, Nazarenes, Orthodox Christians, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. In Anglicanism, the designation of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" is used liturgically in the Episcopal Church in the US, having its own invitatory antiphon in the Book of Common Prayer for Matins. [4]

Christians who celebrate the Twelve Days may give gifts on each of them, with each of the Twelve Days representing a wish for a corresponding month of the new year. They may feast on traditional foods and otherwise celebrate the entire time through the morning of the Solemnity of Epiphany. Contemporary traditions include lighting a candle for each day, singing the verse of the corresponding day from the famous The Twelve Days of Christmas, and lighting a yule log on Christmas Eve and letting it burn some more on each of the twelve nights. For some, the Twelfth Night remains the night of the most festive parties and exchanges of gifts. Some households exchange gifts on the first (25 December) and last (5 January) days of the Twelve Days. As in former times, the Twelfth Night to the morning of Epiphany is the traditional time during which Christmas trees and decorations are removed.

A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) dominated 2020. This is a look back at how the pandemic evolved and progressed through the year, which closed with the arrival of vaccines, but also continued challenges.

As the year ended, the United States surpassed 20 million infections from SARS-CoV-2, and more than 346,000 deaths. Globally, cases rose to 83,832,334 and 1,824,590 deaths.

Cases in some parts of the country began surging again in the weeks after Thanksgiving the same effect may be seen in January as health officials are gravely concerned about the extent of travel for the Christmas and winter holidays. The Transportation Security Administration said it screened the most passengers (1.3 million) on the Sunday before Christmas, the most since March 15.

While vaccines began to roll out in the last month of the year, distribution challenges became evident and the United States fell short of its goal of providing an initial dose to 20 million people by December 31.

This is an updated look at how the pandemic progressed throughout 2020.

January 9 — WHO Announces Mysterious Coronavirus-Related Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

At this point, the World Health Organization (WHO) still has doubts about the roots of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the spate of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan could have stemmed from a new coronavirus. There are 59 cases so far, and travel precautions are already at the forefront of experts’ concerns.

January 20 — CDC Says 3 US Airports Will Begin Screening for Coronavirus

Three additional cases of what is now the 2019 novel coronavirus are reported in Thailand and Japan, causing the CDC to begin screenings at JFK International, San Francisco International, and Los Angeles International airports. These airports are picked because flights between Wuhan and the United States bring most passengers through them.

January 21 — CDC Confirms First US Coronavirus Case

A Washington state resident becomes the first person in the United States with a confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, having returned from Wuhan on January 15, thanks to overnight polymerase chain reaction testing. The CDC soon after deploys a team to help with the investigation, including potential use of contact tracing.

January 21 — Chinese Scientist Confirms COVID-19 Human Transmission

At this point, the 2019 novel coronavirus has killed 4 and infected more than 200 in China, before Zhong Nanshan, MD, finally confirms it can be transmitted from person to person. However, the WHO is still unsure of the necessity of declaring a public health emergency.

January 23 — Wuhan Now Under Quarantine

In just 2 days, 13 more people died and an additional 300 were sickened. China makes the unprecedented move not only to close off Wuhan and its population of 11 million, but to also place a restricted access protocol on Huanggang, 30 miles to the east, where residents can’t leave without special permission. This means up to 18 million people are under strict lockdown.

January 31 — WHO Issues Global Health Emergency

With a worldwide death toll of more than 200 and an exponential jump to more than 9800 cases, the WHO finally declares a public health emergency, for just the sixth time. Human-to-human transmission is quickly spreading and can now be found in the United States, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

February 2 — Global Air Travel Is Restricted

By 5 pm on Sunday, those en route to the United States have to have left China or they can face a 2-week home-based quarantine if they had been in Hubei province. Mainland visitors, however, will need to undergo health screenings upon their return, and foreign nationals can even be denied admittance. Other countries beginning to impose similar air-travel restrictions at this point include Australia, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand.

February 3 — US Declares Public Health Emergency

The Trump administration declares a public health emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement comes 3 days after WHO declared a Global Health Emergency as more than 9800 cases of the virus and more than 200 deaths had been confirmed worldwide.

February 10 — China’s COVID-19 Deaths Exceed Those of SARS Crisis

The COVID-19 death toll surpasses that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak from 17 years ago, totaling 908 reported deaths in China in the last month compared with 774 deaths in the SARS crisis.

February 25 — CDC Says COVID-19 Is Heading Toward Pandemic Status

Explaining what would signify a pandemic, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says that thus far COVID-19 meets 2 of the 3 required factors: illness resulting in death and sustained person-to-person spread. Worldwide spread is the third criteria not yet met at the time.

March 6 — 21 Passengers on California Cruise Ship Test Positive

Twenty-one people of just 46 tested aboard a cruise ship carrying more than 3500 people off the California coast test positive for COVID-19, with 19 being crew members. The ship is held at sea instead of being allowed to dock in San Francisco while testing is conducted. Since the event, 60 passengers have sued the cruise line and parent company, Carnival Corp, for gross negligence in how passenger safety was handled.

March 11 — WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic

In declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, said at a briefing in Geneva the agency is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak. He also expressed concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.”

March 13 — Trump Declares COVID-19 a National Emergency

President Donald Trump declares the novel coronavirus a national emergency, which unlocks billions of dollars in federal funding to fight the disease’s spread.

March 13 — Travel Ban on Non-US Citizens Traveling From Europe Goes Into Effect

The Trump administration issues a travel ban on non-Americans who visited 26 European countries within 14 days of coming to the United States. People traveling from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are exempt.

March 17 — University of Minnesota Begins Testing Hydroxychloroquine

The University of Minnesota launches a clinical trial to investigate whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent an individual exposed to COVID-19 from becoming ill or reduce the severity of the infection. The trial is limited to those at high risk of exposure and aims to enroll 1500 individuals.

March 17 — CMS Temporarily Expands Use of Telehealth

CMS expands its telehealth rules, permitting use during the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to protect older patients from potential exposure. The relaxation allows Medicare to cover telehealth visits the same as it would regular in-person visits.

March 17 — Administration Asks Congress to Send Americans Direct Financial Relief

Trump asks Congress to expediate emergency relief checks to Americans as part of an economic stimulus package. The proposal comes just as the United States reports its 100th death from COVID-19.

March 19 — California Issues Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

California becomes the first state to issue a stay-at-home order, mandating all residents to stay at home except to go to an essential job or shop for essential needs. The order also instructs health care systems to prioritize services to those who are the sickest.

March 24 — With Clinical Trials on Hold, Innovation Stalls

Overwhelmed hospitals are keeping out everyone who does not need to be there, and that means delaying the start of new clinical trials, according to an interview. The Center for Biosimilars ® reported that drugs with fresh FDA approvals are not likely to launch, as their chances of making it into circulation are dim with hospitals struggling just to find enough personal protective equipment.

March 25 — Reports Find Extended Shutdowns Can Delay Second Wave

Mathematical models based on social distancing measures implemented in Wuhan, China, show keeping tighter measures in place for longer periods of time can flatten the COVID-19 curve.

March 26 — Senate Passes CARES Act

The Senate passes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, providing $2 trillion in aid to hospitals, small businesses, and state and local governments, while including an elimination of the Medicare sequester from May 1 through December 31, 2020.

March 27 — Trump Signs CARES Act Into Law

The House of Representatives approves the CARES act, the largest economic recovery package in history, and Trump signs it into law. The bipartisan legislation provides direct payments to Americans and expansions in unemployment insurance.

March 30 — FDA Authorizes Use of Hydroxychloroquine

FDA issues an emergency use authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products” to be donated to the Strategic National Stockpile and donated to hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19. The EUA would be rescinded June 15, except for patients in clinical trials, in the wake of reports of heart rhythm problems among some patients.

March 31 — COVID-19 Can Be Transmitted Through the Eye

A report in JAMA Ophthalmology creates a stir with the finding that patients can catch the virus that causes COVID-19 through the eye, despite low prevalence of the virus in tears. The coverage of the study involving 38 patients from Hubei Province, China, drew some of AJMC.com’s highest readership of 2020, as the findings contradicted assumptions by leading professional societies.

April 8 — Troubles With the COVID-19 Cocktail

“What do you have to lose?” Trump asks when touting the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine as possible treatments for COVID-19. With a common antibiotic, azithromycin, the drug cocktail becomes an early candidate to prevent hospitalization or death. But Trump’s promotion of the combination, despite known heart risks for some patients, prompts the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Heart Rhythm Society to warn in a joint guidance that the drugs are not for everyone.

April 16 — “Gating Criteria” Emerge as a Way to Reopen the Economy

After Trump briefly entertains the idea of reopening the US economy in time for Easter Sunday, the White House releases broad guidelines for how people could return to work, to church, and to restaurants and other venues. The plan outlines the concept of “gating criteria,” which call for states or metropolitan areas to achieve benchmarks in reducing COVID-19 cases or deaths before taking the next step toward reopening.

April 28 — Young, Poor Avoid Care for COVID-19 Symptoms

As the pandemic lingers, the term “deferred care” caught fire in health care circles—referring to the fact that many would avoid a doctor’s office or hospital for any procedure that could wait. But a Gallup poll finds a darker side to this phenomenon: 1 in 7 Americans report they would not seek care for a fever or dry cough—the classic symptoms of COVID-19. The reason? Cost concerns. Those most likely to avoid medical treatment for symptoms are younger than age 30 and make less than $40,000 a year. By the end of April, 26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

April 29 — NIH Trial Shows Early Promise for Remdesivir

National Institutes of Health (NIH) trial data, which are not peer reviewed, show that remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences, is better than placebo in treating COVID-19. Patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement who received the antiviral had a 31% faster recovery time, or about 4 days.

May 1 — Remdesivir Wins EUA

Shortly after the trial data are published, FDA grants an EUA to remdesivir after preliminary data from an NIH trial found the treatment accelerated recovery in individuals with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement.

May 9 — Saliva-Based Diagnostic Test Allowed for At-Home Use

The FDA broadens authorization of a saliva-based test to detect COVID-19 infection the EUA is granted to Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory. The test makes it possible for those who cannot get to a collection center to get tested, including those who are home because they are ill, quarantined, or at high risk of infection due to their age or comorbidities.

May 12 — Death Toll Likely Underestimated, Fauci Testifies

Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before the US Senate that the US death toll of 80,000 is likely an underestimate. He warns against the relaxation of social distancing and says he is “cautiously optimistic” that a vaccine will be effective and achieved within 1 or 2 years.

May 21 — United States and AstraZeneca Form Vaccine Deal

The Trump administration and AstraZeneca announce a collaboration to speed development of a COVID-19 vaccine called AZD1222. HHS says it expects the first doses to be available as early as October 2020 phase 3 clinical studies are underway this summer.

May 28 — US COVID-19 Deaths Pass the 100,000 Mark

The CDC says surpassing 100,000 deaths is a “sobering development and a heart-breaking reminder of the horrible toll of this unprecedented pandemic.” It asks that Americans continue following local and state guidance on prevention strategies, such as social distancing, good hand hygiene, and wearing a face mask while in public.

June 4 — Lancet, NEJM Retract COVID-19 Studies on Hydroxychloroquine

On the same day, The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet both retract 2 studies on the use of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19, after the authors said they could not vouch for the data used. A private database of medical records compiled by a little-known firm called Surgisphere was used in both studies. The retractions bring to light the difficulty of publishing vital COVID-19 research while ensuring accuracy.

June 10 — US COVID-19 Cases Reach 2 Million

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 hits 2 million in the United States as new infections continue to rise in 20 states. Cases begin to spike as states ease social distancing restrictions.

June 16 — HHS Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Will Be Free for Some

Officials associated with the United States’ Operation Warp Speed, a project to rapidly develop and deploy a COVID-19 vaccine, explain that the vaccine would be provided for free to elderly patients and other vulnerable populations who cannot afford it.

June 18 — WHO Ends Study Into Hydroxychloroquine

WHO announces it will stop testing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. The data from the Solidarity Trial show the drug did not reduce mortality. According to WHO, patients who were previously administered the drug would finish their course or stop based on a supervisor’s discretion.

June 20 — NIH Halts Trial of Hydroxychloroquine

Just days after WHO ended its own trial, the NIH announces it is halting a clinical trial examining the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. The study indicates that the treatment does no harm, but also provides no benefit.

June 22 — Study Suggests 80% of Cases in March Went Undetected

A study in Science Translation Medicine suggests that as many as 80% of Americans who sought care for flu-like illnesses in March were actually infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the research, if one-third of these patients sought COVID-19 testing, it may have amounted to 8.7 million infections.

June 26 — White House Coronavirus Task Force Addresses Rising Cases in the South

For the first time in 2 months, the White House Coronavirus Task Force holds a briefing. The focus of the discussion is the rising number of cases and growing positive test rate in some states. As cases rise, Texas and Florida both decide to halt the reopenings as each state records growing numbers of cases.

June 29 — Gilead Sets Price for Remdesivir at $3120

Gilead Sciences sets a price for remdesivir, which can shorten hospitalization stays for patients with COVID-19, at $520 a vial. With a treatment course of 6 vials, the typical treatment course will be $3120 per patient for people covered with private insurance. Critics of the price point are quick to point out that taxpayers funded the COVID-19 remdesivir trial through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

June 30 — Fauci Warns New COVID-19 Cases Could Hit 100,000 a Day

In his appearance before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Fauci warns that while the current daily number of new cases in the United States is hovering around 40,000, that could reach as high as 100,000 new cases per day given the outbreak’s current trajectory.

July 2 — States Reverse Reopening Plans

Several states, including California and Indiana, postpone or reverse plans to reopen their economies, as the United States records 50,000 new cases of COVID-19—the largest one-day spike since the pandemic’s onset. New Mexico also extends the state’s emergency public health order through July 15 and implements a $100 fine for those not adhering to required mask usage.

July 6 — Scientists, Citing Airborne Transmission, Ask WHO to Revise Guidance

Hundreds of scientists call on the WHO to revise recommendations on COVID-19 to better reflect its potential for airborne transmission. Previously, the organization stated that COVID-19 spreads primarily via small droplets from the nose or mouth emitted when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

July 7 — CMS Plans to Pay More for Home Dialysis Equipment

CMS proposes a rule aimed at keeping patients outside of dialysis centers for treatment as the nation faces rising cases. The transitional add-on payment for new and innovative equipment or supplies would allow greater access to home dialysis machines, improving accessibility for Medicare beneficiaries.

July 7 — US Surpasses 3 Million Infections, Begins WHO Withdrawal

The same day that the United States reports 3 million COVID-19 infections, the nation begins its withdrawal from WHO, citing its response to the global pandemic. The Trump administration notifies the United Nations of its decision, which would not take effect until 2021 and could be reversed by President-elect Joe Biden.

July 9 — WHO Announces COVID-19 Can Be Airborne

WHO announces that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through the air after more than 200 scientists sign a letter urging the agency to revise its recommendations. In an updated scientific brief, WHO notes that the virus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces and emphasizes that the virus may be spread by asymptomatic individuals.

July 14 — States With COVID-19 Spikes Report Greatest Health Insurance Coverage Losses

As of May 2020, states with the greatest percentage of nonelderly adults who are currently uninsured included Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, according to an analysis from Families USA. These states also report the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents as of July 12.

July 14 — Early Moderna Data Point to Vaccine Candidate’s Efficacy

Data from phase 1/2 trials of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine show that doses produced immune responses in all 3 groups of 15 volunteers. The company was the first to enter large-scale human trials. Adverse effects of the vaccine candidate, which is administered twice 28 days apart, include injection site pain and chills.

July 15 — New Hospital Data Reporting Protocol Prompts Concern

An announcement mandates that all hospitals must bypass the CDC and send COVID-19–related information to a central database run by HHS Protect. Previously, data were sent to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network site. Following the change, questions are raised regarding the future of COVID-19 data transparency and politicization.

July 16 — US Reports New Record of Daily COVID-19 Cases

The United States reported a record 75,600 cases of COVID-19 in a single day, breaking a record set the week prior. At this point, daily cases have seen 11 record totals in the past month alone. Texas, Hawaii, and Montana are among the 10 states reporting new record daily totals.

July 20 — Diagnostic Delays From COVID-19 May Increase Cancer-Related Deaths

The next several years could bear witness to thousands of additional deaths from cancer that could have been prevented through routine diagnostic care that was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, delays in referrals and screenings for breast, colorectal, esophageal, and lung cancers were indicated in a pair of studies published in The Lancet Oncology to potentially lead to almost 10% (n = 3291-3621) more deaths in England over the next 5 years.

July 21 — Vaccines From AstraZeneca, CanSino Biologics Show Promising Results

Two experimental vaccines, one from AstraZeneca and the other from CanSino Biologics, show promising results against COVID-19. The interim results of AstraZeneca’s phase 1/2 COV001 trial of AZD1222 show that the vaccine was tolerated and generated robust immune responses against the virus in all participants who were evaluated. In the CanSino Phase 2 trial, the vaccine induced significant neutralizing antibody responses, with as many as 95% of patients showing either cellular or humoral immune responses at day 28 post vaccination.

July 22 — HHS, DOD Announce Vaccine Distribution Agreement With Pfizer and BioNTech

HHS and the Department of Defense (DOD) strike a partnership with biotech giants Pfizer and BioNTech for a December delivery of 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162, in a deal that could expand to 600 million doses if the vaccine receives approval or an EUA from the FDA, and even then only if phase 3 clinical trial results confirm that the vaccine is safe and effective.

July 23 — Antibody Levels Drop After First 3 Months of COVID-19 Infection

Findings from a research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, dropped dramatically across the first 3 months of infection. At this rate, researchers note that antibody resistance would be depleted within a year, although experts note that the possibility of being infected again with the virus is very unlikely.

July 23 — Antibody Cocktail May Treat, Prevent COVID-19

Researchers conceive of an antibody cocktail that uses antibodies directed at different locations on the familiar “spike” on SARS-CoV-2 that gives the virus its “corona.” The scientists found the antibodies fell into 2 distinct groups, targeting different regions of the viral spike. Thus, they say, the battle against COVID-19 could be waged on separate fronts, much like those against HIV and some forms of cancer.

July 27 — Moderna Vaccine Begins Phase 3 Trial, Receives $472M From Trump Administration

In beginning the first phase 3 clinical trial to examine a vaccine candidate against COVID-19, Moderna announces that the Trump administration increased funding by $472 million to expand the trial to 30,000 US participants. The move now brings the total investment made by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to $955 million.

July 27 — Senate Introduces HEALS Act

Republicans introduce a package of bills known together as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, which provides provisions for another stimulus check, more money for small businesses, and liability protections for companies seeking to bring employees back to the workplace during the pandemic.

July 29 — FDA Grants Truvian EUA for Rapid Antibody Test

FDA grants Truvian Sciences an EUA for its Easy Check COVID-19 IgM/IgG antibody test after it was shown to exceed EUA requirements, including a sensitivity rate of 98.44% and a specificity of 98.9%. The announcement follows the FDA’s increased oversight of antibody tests on May 5, requiring them to meet standards of other molecular tests.

August 3 — New US Pandemic Phase US to Pay Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline $2B for Vaccine

Coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, says the United States has entered a new phase of the pandemic, as widespread cases nationwide differ from early concentrated outbreaks first reported in March and April. Birx’s comments come as the United States agrees to a $2.1 billion deal with GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur in an effort to develop, manufacture, and scale up delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine.

August 4 — Rural Hotspots Face Lack of Intensive Care Unit Beds

Almost 5 months after the pandemic was declared a national emergency in the United States, 49% of low-income areas have no free beds in their intensive care units vs 3% of the wealthiest. Hospitals are now being forced to transfer their sickest patients to care facilities in these wealthier areas, with the Southwest and West facing an especially difficult bed shortage.

August 7 — Talks Stall on Second Relief Package

Stimulus checks from the first package rolled out seemingly quickly, but talks stall between the White House and Democrats on a potential subsequent round of relief, even as jobless claims reach a record high of 1.186 million. Trump continues to claim he will issue executive orders if a deal cannot be reached.

August 11 — Trump Administration Reaches Deal With Moderna

Despite still waiting on final data, the Trump administration reportedly agrees to pay $1.5 billion to Moderna for 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, or an average per-dose price of $15. The vaccine, however, is still under investigation in the joint phase 3 COVE trial Moderna is conducting with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

August 12 — Severe Obesity Increases Mortality Risk From COVID-19

Investigators from Kaiser Permanente publish their findings showing that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 to 44 kg/m 2 have a risk of death from COVID-19 that is more than twice that of individuals whose BMI is 18.5 to 24 mg/m 2 . An abundance of comprehensive patient data enabled the team to isolate obesity’s effects compared with those resulting from more than 20 comorbidities, health care use, and population density, among others. At the heart of this finding is that excess fat exacerbates the breathing issues brought on by COVID-19.

August 13 — Biden Calls for 3-Month Mask Mandate

Still a presidential nominee, Joe Biden calls on all governors to require their citizens to wear masks anytime they go out in public through November, and he claims he will mandate the practice if elected. At this point, there are a reported 165,000 deaths from COVID-19, and the measure is estimated to save 40,000 lives in the coming months. At this point, mask mandates still vary greatly among the states and regions.

August 15 — FDA Approves Saliva Test

The federal agency issues an EUA for SalivaDirect, a test developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health that is less invasive compared with the current standard nasal swabs. With shorter wait times not affecting test sensitivity, labs can reportedly run 90 test samples, which are collected in sterile containers, in under 3 hours. The test is also inexpensive and produces results similar to nasal swabbing.

August 17 — COVID-19 Now the Third-Leading Cause of Death in the US

In just 4 days, there’s been a 3.2% uptick in COVID-19–related deaths, to 170,434, giving the disease a No. 3 ranking behind heart disease in the top spot and cancer at No. 2. Deaths now exceed 1000 per day and nationwide cases exceed 5.4 million. Testing has dropped off by an average 68,000 per day, despite death being 8 times more likely in the United States vs in Europe.

August 23 — Convalescent Plasma Is Cleared for Use by FDA

The FDA issues another EUA, this time for convalescent plasma from recovered patients as a therapy to fight COVID-19. There is ongoing debate about the treatment, which is rooted in experts’ skepticism that all patient populations will derive benefit from it, due to a lack of efficacy data. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claims it is a therapeutic breakthrough.

August 24 — Remdesivir’s Clinical Benefits Questioned

A global, multicenter study finds that the antiviral drug remdesivir had little effect on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The findings, published in JAMA, indicate there were no significant differences in duration of supplemental oxygen or hospitalization between the intervention group given remdesivir and the control group given standard care.

August 25 — CDC Changes Testing Guidance, but Later Reverses Itself

The CDC quietly changes its guidance on who should get tested for COVID-19, saying that individuals who are asymptomatic, but have been exposed, do not need testing. After it is revealed the decision had bypassed CDC’s usual scientific review process and without internal review, the changes are reversed.

August 26 — FDA Grants EUA to Abbott’s Rapid Test

A portable rapid COVID-19 test that can deliver results in under 15 minutes was cleared by the FDA under an EUA. The test is aimed at places like workplaces and schools.

August 28 — First Known Case of COVID-19 Reinfection Reported in the US

A 25-year-old man from Nevada became reinfected with COVID-19 in late May after recovering from a mild case in April, reports say. It marks the first reported case of reinfection in the United States the second occurrence resulted in a much more severe case, requiring hospitalization and oxygen. A full study of the case is published in Lancet Infectious Disease Journal in October.

September 1 — US Rejects WHO Global COVID-19 Vaccine Effort

The United States says it will not participate in an initiative by the WHO to develop, make, and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. COVAX, with 172 countries participating, was launched so that an eventual vaccine could be distributed evenly to poor and developing countries.

September 3 — Steroids Reduce Mortality in Severe Cases Sanofi, GSK Begin Human Vaccine Trials

Three studies report that inexpensive steroids are the most effective treatment to date for serious COVID-19. Results from the studies find that the use of systemic corticosteroids can reduce the risk of death by one-third in individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with usual care or placebo.

Additionally, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) start a clinical trial of their protein-based vaccine the COVID-19 vaccine uses the same protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s influenza vaccines and is combined with an adjuvant, or booster, developed by GSK.

September 3 — Bioethicists Weigh In on Equitable Vaccine Distribution

Nineteen bioethicists outline measures for equitable distribution of limited supplies of any COVID-19 vaccine the plan, called the Fair Priority Model, considers 3 types of harms caused by COVID-19 and 3 values that must be adhered to when considering the allocation of a scarce supply of vaccine.

September 8 — AstraZeneca Halts Phase 3 Vaccine Trial

The phase 3 trial for AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine is halted for a safety data review following an unknown adverse reaction in a patient. The patient was part of the United Kingdom arm of the trial. At the time, the nature of the adverse reaction was not known, but the company did say that the participant was expected to recover. AstraZeneca says the hold was initiated as “a routine action.”

September 14 — US Airports Stop Screening International Travelers

The government announces it will stop screenings taking place at some airports since January. In March, incoming flights from high-risk countries, including China, Iran, and much of Europe, were funneled through 15 designated airports, but as of September 14, the flights will no longer be redirected and all passenger screenings will be halted. As part of the screening process, passengers had their temperatures taken and were subject to a basic health screening about typical COVID-19 symptoms before they could go through passport control and customs.

September 14 — Pfizer, BioNTech Expand Phase 3 Trial

After initially aiming to recruit 30,000 participants, Pfizer and BioNTech announce they will expand the phase 3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine by 50% to 44,000. The goal of expanding the trial is to increase data on safety and efficacy and promote a more diverse population, including adolescents as young as 16 years and patients with HIV, hepatitis C, or hepatitis B. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is provided as 2 shots given 3 weeks apart, but the vaccine must be kept at a temperature of –70 degrees Celsius (–94 degrees Fahrenheit), which may make distribution a challenge.

September 14 — NIH Launches Investigation Into Halted Astrazeneca Trial

After AstraZeneca put its phase 3 trial on hold, the NIH announces it is launching an investigation into the adverse reaction before the FDA decides whether or not to resume the trial. The participant suffered spinal cord damage, and there remained some uncertainty about what happened to cause the damage.

September 15 — CDC Reports on Spread of COVID-19 at Restaurants

A study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report finds that people who recently tested positive for COVID-19 were 2.4 times more likely to have dined out. The study considered restaurant dining to include being seated at a patio, being seated outdoors, and being seated indoors. The odds jumped almost 4-fold for participants who had been to a bar or café. The majority of participants (71%) claimed to have worn masks in the 2 weeks before their diagnosis.

September 16 — Trump Administration Releases Vaccine Distribution Plan

A plan devised by HHS and the DOD aims to make a COVID-19 vaccine free for all Americans, with the vaccine being rolled out in January 2021. Once a vaccine is authorized, the plan dictates that 6.6 million kits of supplies needed to administer vaccines will also be distributed. The plan does not include a decision on who would be the first to receive the vaccine.

September 17 — Europe Reports Rising COVID-19 Cases

Europe reports a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, with numbers growing at a higher rate than they did during the previous peak in March. In the first half of September, more than half of all European countries reported an increase greater than 10%.

September 21 — CDC Pulls Guidance Saying COVID-19 Transmission Is Airborne

The CDC removes guidance from its website that had been posted 3 days earlier saying that the transmission of COVID-19 is airborne. CDC says the document was posted in error and the guidance was a “draft version of proposed changes.”

September 21 — Johnson & Johnson Begins Phase 3 Vaccine Trial

Johnson & Johnson announces that it began a large phase 3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This vaccine does not need to be frozen and may require 1 administration instead of 2. The trial is expected to test the vaccine in 60,000 participants, making it the largest phase 3 trial of all vaccines currently being tested.

September 23 — A New, More Contagious Strain of COVID-19 Is Discovered

A study conducted at Houston Methodist Hospital finds a more contagious strain of COVID-19 in a large portion of recent patient samples. Investigators analyzed samples from the earliest phase of the pandemic and a more recent infection wave, finding that nearly all strains from the more recent phase had a mutation that allows the virus to bind and infect more cells.

September 25 — Midwest States See Increase in COVID-19 Cases

Over the course of September, Midwest states experience a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, with South Dakota alone having a 166% increase and 10 other states reporting record 1-day increases. The annual Sturgis motorcycle rally, school and university reopenings, and Labor Day weekend celebrations have all been cited as case links.

September 28 — Global COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 1 Million

The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 worldwide crosses the 1 million mark, according to The New York Times, surpassing the deaths caused by HIV, dysentery, malaria, influenza, cholera, and measles combined in 2020.

September 29 — HHS to Distribute 100 Million Rapid Tests to States

HHS announces a plan to send 100 million rapid COVID-19 tests, developed by Abbott, to states by the end of the year. The rapid tests are cheaper and faster than laboratory tests and can return results in about 15 minutes. The plan was designed to assist K-12 schools in reopening.

September 29 — Regeneron Announces Positive Results for Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Regeneron releases study results from its ongoing phase 1/2/3 trial showing that its proposed monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, REGN-COV2, was linked to quicker recovery, reduced viral load, and the need for fewer medical visits. REGN-COV2 is a mixture of 2 monoclonal antibodies (REGN10933 and REGN 10987).

October 2 — Trump, First Lady Test Positive for COVID-19 Trump Enters Hospital

President Trump announces that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. After experiencing mild symptoms of the disease, Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, “out of an abundance of caution,” said Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.

October 5 — Trump Leaves Hospital, Continues Receiving Treatment

After 3 days, Trump is discharged from the hospital and transported back to the White House, where he would continue to receive treatment for COVID-19 and be monitored. White House physician Sean Conley, DO, says that the president’s fever is gone and that his oxygen levels are normal. During his time at the hospital, Trump’s treatment consisted of Regeneron’s investigational antibody cocktail, remdesivir, and dexamethasone.

October 8 — NEJM Criticizes Trump’s COVID-19 Response 39 States See Case Spikes

In an editorial published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 34 editors call out the Trump administration’s response of the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that leaders have “taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

Additionally, 39 states report seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. Nine states set 7-day records for infections, and Wisconsin and Hawaii report a record number for deaths in a 7-day period.

October 8 — More Americans Trust Biden to Lead Health Care System

A poll released on this date by Gallup-West Health, but taken before Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, finds that more Americans trust Biden to lead the US health care system through the pandemic. The poll notes that Biden had the support of 52% of voters on this issue, compared with 39% who supported Trump, with the remaining undecided. The results leave room for Trump to narrow Biden’s wide lead in the national polls.

October 8 — White House COVID-19 Outbreak Grows to 34

By this date, the cluster of people infected by the COVID-19 outbreak connected to the Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has grown to 34, including several White House staff members, according to The Washington Post. CDC experts offer assistance with contact tracing.

October 9 — US Signs Deal With AstraZeneca

The Trump administration signed a $486 million agreement with AstraZeneca to develop an antibody treatment for COVID-19, which would call for HHS and the DOD to work with the company to roll out late-stage development and large-scale manufacturing of AZD7442, a cocktail of 2 monoclonal antibodies with potential to treat or prevent the disease.

October 12 — Johnson & Johnson Halts Vaccine Trial

Johnson & Johnson halts recruitment for its phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial for its COVID-19 vaccine halts vaccine trial over a patient’s unexplained illness, a development first reported in POLITICO. The company reports at the time that adverse events that temporarily pause recruitment are not uncommon and mean that clinical trials are being conducted in a safe manner. It later resumes the study of its 1-dose regimen, which is unique among the leading vaccine candidates. The company has also launched ENSEMBLE 2 to study a 2-dose version of the vaccine.

October 15 — US Cases Spike Again Studies Connect Blood Type and COVID-19 Risk

The United States reports 60,000 new COVID-19 cases, a number not reached since early August. Cases rise countrywide, and 44 states report caseloads surpassing those seen in mid-September. More rural states see numbers even higher than during first waves in the spring.

A pair of studies in Blood Advance suggest that the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 or developing life-threatening complications from the virus might be related to blood type. Researchers caution that the results do not point to any blood type being completely protective or vulnerable to the virus.

October 19 — Global Cases Top 40 Million

Data from Johns Hopkins University indicate that COVID-19 cases have topped 40 million worldwide as the United States and other countries see their highest rates of new cases in months. More than 1.1 million people have been killed by the virus worldwide so far, and nearly 220,000 of those deaths were in the United States, which remains the hardest-hit country in the world.

October 22 — FDA Approves Remdesivir as First COVID-19 Drug

Gilead’s remdesivir is the first FDA-approved drug to treat COVID-19 after 3 randomized trials found it to decrease the length of hospital stays and reduce the likelihood that patients will require oxygen. None of the trials showed reduced risk of mortality, however, and a WHO-backed study found that the drug had “little to no effect” on hospitalized patients. The FDA does not mention the WHO trial in its risk-benefit assessment of remdesivir, stating that an NIH-backed trial supporting the approval was better suited to assess time to recovery than the WHO-backed trial.

October 23 — AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson Announce Restart of COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson announce plans to restart clinical trials for their respective COVID-19 vaccine candidates after they both stopped due to safety concerns. Johnson & Johnson’s stalled on October 11, and a patient in the AstraZeneca trial developed neurological symptoms before its study was halted on September 6. An independent monitoring committee determined that the trial for the latter vaccine candidate was safe to continue.

October 28 — CMS Issues Vaccine, Treatment Coverage Rules

CMS provides new rules for insurance coverage, increasing what Medicare pays hospitals for COVID-19 treatments. Trump and Congress had enacted legislation calling for COVID-19 vaccines to be free, but new rules were necessary to fit that policy into the various payment requirements for public and private insurance. The new rules waive co-pays or deductibles on vaccines for seniors with Medicare.

November 4 — US Reports Unprecedented 100,000 Cases in 1 Day

The US hits a grim milestone with 100,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day for the first time. The unprecedented spike in cases leads to a shortage of N95 face masks at health care facilities despite increased production, and workers continue to ration and reuse masks with no end in sight.

November 5 — Study Predicts Difficulties in Nationwide COVID-19 Immunity

An analysis of flu vaccination rates during the 2019-2020 flu season suggests that the path to vaccinating the majority of the country for SARS-CoV-2, thus achieving sufficient immunity, will not be an easy one. Just 52% of the US population received a flu vaccine in the time frame of the analysis, and the study also highlighted disparities: Lower vaccination rates were recorded in Black and Hispanic adults than White adults, and elderly adults were more likely to receive a vaccine.

November 9 — President-Elect Biden Announces COVID-19 Transition Team Pfizer Publishes Vaccine Results

After former Vice President Joe Biden is determined to be the president-elect on November 7, he announces the names of the scientific, medical, and public health professionals who will serve on his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. The same day, Pfizer releases data from its COVID-19 vaccine trial showing that the vaccination was 90% effective.

November 9 — FDA Issues EUA for Eli Lilly’s Antibody Treatment

The FDA issues an EUA for Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment that mimics the immune system’s response to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and appears to protect high-risk patients with COVID-19 from progressing to more severe forms of the disease. Clinical trials showed reductions in COVID-19–related hospitalizations or emergency visits in these patients within 28 days of treatment compared with placebo.

November 11 — Indoor Venues Responsible for Much of COVID-19’s Spread

A new study in Nature observes that most new cases of COVID-19 originated from indoor gatherings in places like restaurants, gyms, and grocery stores, according to analysis of cell phone mobility data from large cities. The authors suggest that low-income neighborhoods have higher new case burdens because their public venues are more crowded and residents are more likely to work outside their homes.

November 16 ­— Moderna Reveals Vaccine Efficacy Results

The positive vaccine news continues with Moderna’s announcement that its experimental vaccine reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection by 94.5% in participants who received it. Like Pfizer’s vaccine, the Moderna vaccine works using mRNA, an innovative approach that has not yet been used in approved vaccines against any disease.

November 16 — FDA to Move Rapidly on EUAs for Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines

On CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar says the FDA will move “as quickly as possible” to clear Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine candidates for emergency use as long as the data support authorization. Both authorization applications are currently being completed, but Azar says that the FDA’s teams are working with both companies to “remove any unnecessary bureaucratic barriers.”

November 17 — Fauci Highlights the Need for Long-term Follow-up of COVID-19 Effects

During a talk at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Fauci discusses the cardiovascular implications of COVID-19 and highlights the need to follow up with patients to better understand the long-term effects of infection. He points to symptoms like profound fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sporadic fevers, and an inability to concentrate, which up to one-third of patients live with for weeks or months after contracting COVID-19.

November 18 — Pfizer, BioNTech Vaccine Is 95% Effective

The results of a nearly 44,000-person trial demonstrate that the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is 95% effective, making it as effective as vaccines for shingles and measles. Pfizer also announces that it will seek FDA approval within days so that distribution of the vaccine can happen by the end of the year.

November 20 — Pfizer, BioNTech Submit EUA Application CDC Warns Against Holiday Travel

Pfizer and BioNTech submit their COVID-19 vaccine to the FDA for an EUA, making them the first companies to seek such an approval in the United States. The EUA submission includes safety data on about 100 children between the ages of 12 and 15 years.

At the same time, the CDC urges Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving amid national spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The agency recommends that people avoid mingling with people who have not resided in their household for the last 14 days. As cases in the United States surpass 11 million, CDC officials worry that the situation could worsen during the holiday season.

November 23 — AstraZeneca Reports Vaccine Is 90% Effective FDA Grants EUA for Second Antibody Treatment

When AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later, it can be approximately 90% effective. This vaccine is easier to distribute and scale up than other vaccines, and the drug maker says it can have as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020 and 700 million by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, the FDA grants an EUA for a second COVID-19 antibody treatment. The cocktail, manufactured by Regeneron, was administered to Trump when he was battling COVID-19 at the beginning of October. In a clinical trial of 800 people, the treatment significantly reduced virus levels within days.

December 10 — FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

An FDA advisory panel endorses the first COVID-19 vaccine. The application for the Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is heard in a public, day-long meeting voting 17-4, with 1 abstention, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) decides the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for those 16 and older.

December 11 — FDA Agrees to EUA for COVID-19 Vaccine From Pfizer, BioNTech

A day after the panel votes, the FDA agrees to an EUA for the Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine, allowing shipments to begin vaccinations of health care workers begin within days.

December 17 — FDA Panel Backs Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

A week after hearing the application for the country’s first COVID-19 vaccine, the same FDA advisory panel meets and agrees that a second vaccine, from Moderna, will benefit individuals 18 years and older. The vote is 20-0, with 1 abstention. The Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart the Pfizer-BioNtech one, 21 days apart.

December 18 — FDA Signs Off on EUA for Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine

The FDA issues the second EUA allowing shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to begin.

December 21 — New COVID-19 Variant Circling the UK

The UK announces that a new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, B.1.1.7, is spreading across the country. The novel variant is more contagious, but does not appear to be more lethal or lead to more severe disease.

December 23 — US Buys More Pfizer Vaccine

The Trump administration announces it will buy an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine.

December 28 — Novavax Starts Phase 3 Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine

Novavax begins a phase 3 clinical trial, PREVENT-19, for its investigational COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, in 30,000 volunteers in Mexico and the United States.

December 29 — First US Case of New COVID-19 Variant Found in Colorado

The recently discovered novel variant found a week prior in the United Kingdom is detected in a Colorado man in his 20s with no travel history. Scientists say they are concerned, but not surprised, since viruses are known to mutate.

December 30 — UK Approves Emergency Authorization for the AstraZeneca and Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine

As UK cases surge, regulators clear a vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford, AZD1222, for individuals 18 years and older.

December 31 —US Falls Short of Goal to Give 20 Million Vaccinations by Year End

As the year closed, the CDC says about 2.8 million people so far have received an initial vaccination. The US says on December 30 that about 14 million doses have been distributed, out of total of 20 million allocated doses.


In the atmosphere, 500-millibar height pressure anomalies correlate well with temperatures at the Earth's surface. The average position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure&mdashdepicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the March 2021 map&mdashis generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.

Monthly Temperature: March 2021

Following a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) in February 2021, a strongly positive AO was present in March 2021. In a positive phase, the jet stream strengthens and circulates the North Pole, confining the cold Arctic Air across the Polar Regions. The AO value for March 2021 was 2.11&mdashthe fifth highest March value since 1950. The peak value on March 11 was the ninth highest daily value and the third highest for a day in March. In addition, during March 2021, La Niña continued to be present across the tropical Pacific Ocean however, it weakened in strength.

The global surface temperature departure of +0.85°C (+1.53°F) in March 2021 was the smallest March temperature departure since 2014 and was the eighth highest for March in the 142-year record. March 2021 also marked the 45th consecutive March and the 435th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

The most notable warmer-than-average March 2021 temperatures of at least +2.0°C (+3.6°F) were present across southern and eastern Canada, the eastern half of the contiguous U.S., the Middle East, southern and eastern Asia, as well as parts of central Antarctica. Other notable temperature anomalies were present across parts of the northern and southern Pacific Ocean, where temperatures were at least 1.5°C (2.7°) above average. Record warm March temperatures were limited to parts of the Middle East, southeastern Asia, and across parts of the Pacific Ocean. This encompassed only 2.5% of the world's surface with a record-warm March temperature, which is the smallest percentage since March 2014. Overall, this was the 11th highest March percentage for record-warm March temperatures since records began in 1951. Meanwhile, the most notable cool temperature departures of -0.5°C (0.9°F) or cooler during March were observed across Alaska, northern Canada, northwestern, north-central, and Far East Russia, and across parts of the tropical Pacific Ocean, the southern oceans, and Australia. However, no global land or ocean areas had record-cold March temperatures.

Regionally, North America and Asia had a March temperature that ranked among the 10 highest on record. Meanwhile, Oceania and the Hawaiian region had their smallest March temperature departure since 2012 and 2013, respectively.

March Ranks and Records
March Anomaly Rank
(out of 142 years)
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Land +1.60 ± 0.11 +2.88 ± 0.20 Warmest 9th 2016 +2.53 +4.55
Coolest 134th 1898 -1.69 -3.04
Ocean +0.57 ± 0.14 +1.03 ± 0.25 Warmest 9th 2016 +0.86 +1.55
Coolest 134th 1904, 1911 -0.50 -0.90
Land and Ocean +0.85 ± 0.15 +1.53 ± 0.27 Warmest 8th 2016 +1.31 +2.36
Coolest 135th 1898 -0.67 -1.21
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.93 ± 0.16 +3.47 ± 0.29 Warmest 8th 2016 +2.98 +5.36
Coolest 135th 1898 -2.13 -3.83
Ocean +0.65 ± 0.13 +1.17 ± 0.23 Warmest 7th 2020 +0.93 +1.67
Coolest 136th 1904 -0.55 -0.99
Land and Ocean +1.14 ± 0.13 +2.05 ± 0.23 Warmest 7th 2016 +1.70 +3.06
Coolest 136th 1898 -0.97 -1.75
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.76 ± 0.12 +1.37 ± 0.22 Warmest 16th 2016 +1.38 +2.48
Coolest 127th 1885 -1.01 -1.82
Ocean +0.52 ± 0.15 +0.94 ± 0.27 Warmest 12th 2016 +0.83 +1.49
Coolest 131st 1911 -0.54 -0.97
Land and Ocean +0.56 ± 0.14 +1.01 ± 0.25 Warmest 11th 2016 +0.92 +1.66
Coolest 132nd 1911 -0.57 -1.03
Ties: 2005

The most current data can be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

Select national information is highlighted below. Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data:

    had a very warm March, with a national average temperature that was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 1981&ndash2010 average. The nation's above-average mean temperature was mainly driven by a very high national maximum temperature (+1.65°C / +2.97°F), which ranked as the fifth highest March maximum temperature since 2000.
  • Cooler-than-average conditions were present across much of Austria during March 2021. Austria's national temperature was 0.8°C (1.4°F) below the 1991&ndash2020 average&mdashresulting in the coldest March since 2018. had its warmest March on record, with a mean temperature that was 2.9°C (5.2°F) above the 1981&ndash2010 average.

Year-to-date Temperature: January&ndashMarch 2021

The global surface temperature for January&ndashMarch 2021 tied with 2007 as the ninth highest for this year-to-date period at 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 20th century average. The global land-only temperature was also the ninth highest on record, while the global ocean-only temperature tied with January&ndashMarch of 1998 as the eighth highest in the 142-year record. According to a statistical analysis done by NCEI scientists, the year 2021 is very likely to rank among the ten warmest years on record and only has a 6% chance to rank among the five warmest years on record.

During the first three months of the year, the most notable high temperature departures were present across eastern Canada and southern Asia, where temperatures were at least 2.0°C (3.6°F) above average. Other notable areas include parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, which had temperature departures of +1.5°C (+2.7°F) or higher. Record warm January&ndashMarch temperatures were seen across parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as parts of Mongolia, China, and the Mediterranean Sea. Notable cool temperatures of -1.5°C (-2.7°F) or cooler were observed across parts of Alaska, northwestern Canada, northern Russia, Australia, and across parts of the tropical Pacific Ocean. However, no land or ocean areas had a record-cold January&ndashMarch.

Regionally, Asia and the Caribbean region had their fourth and eighth highest January&ndashMarch temperature, respectively, on record. Meanwhile, Oceania had its smallest January&ndashMarch temperature departure since 2012.

January&ndashMarch Ranks and Records
January&ndashMarch Anomaly Rank
(out of 142 years)
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Land +1.29 ± 0.17 +2.32 ± 0.31 Warmest 9th 2016 +2.22 +4.00
Coolest 134th 1893 -1.32 -2.38
Ocean +0.56 ± 0.16 +1.01 ± 0.29 Warmest 8th 2016 +0.87 +1.57
Coolest 135th 1904 -0.51 -0.92
Ties: 1998
Land and Ocean +0.76 ± 0.17 +1.37 ± 0.31 Warmest 9th 2016 +1.23 +2.21
Coolest 134th 1904 -0.59 -1.06
Ties: 2007
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.55 ± 0.21 +2.79 ± 0.38 Warmest 8th 2020 +2.56 +4.61
Coolest 135th 1893 -1.61 -2.90
Ocean +0.70 ± 0.15 +1.26 ± 0.27 Warmest 6th 2016 +0.99 +1.78
Coolest 137th 1904 -0.56 -1.01
Land and Ocean +1.02 ± 0.17 +1.84 ± 0.31 Warmest 7th 2016 +1.58 +2.84
Coolest 136th 1893 -0.91 -1.64
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.63 ± 0.13 +1.13 ± 0.23 Warmest 20th 2016 +1.37 +2.47
Coolest 123rd 1918 -0.88 -1.58
Ocean +0.47 ± 0.16 +0.85 ± 0.29 Warmest 15th 2016 +0.80 +1.44
Coolest 128th 1917 -0.52 -0.94
Ties: 2013
Land and Ocean +0.49 ± 0.15 +0.88 ± 0.27 Warmest 19th 2016 +0.88 +1.58
Coolest 124th 1917 -0.58 -1.04

Was Jesus born in the year 0?

There are two reasons for this:

There is no year 0.

Jesus was born before 4 B.C.E.

The concept of a year "zero" is a modern myth (but a very popular one). In our calendar, C.E. 1 follows immediately after 1 B.C.E. with no intervening year zero. So a person who was born in 10 B.C.E. and died in C.E. 10, would have died at the age of 19, not 20.

Furthermore, as described in section 2.14, our year reckoning was established by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century. Dionysius let the year C.E. 1 start one week after what he believed to be Jesus’ birthday. But Dionysius’ calculations were wrong. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus was born under the reign of king Herod the Great, who died in 4 B.C.E.. It is likely that Jesus was actually born around 7 B.C.E.. The date of his birth is unknown it may or may not be 25 December.

New Year's Day 2021

Happy New Year! Ever wondered why January starts the new year? Find out all about New Year’s Day, popular customs, and how we celebrate the beginning of a new year in the United States and Canada.

Celebrating the New Year

It’s safe to say that we’re all ready to celebrate the start of a new year. This time around, New Year’s Eve is Thursday, December 31, 2020, and New Year’s Day is Friday, January 1, 2021. Celebrations will certainly look a different this year, but we still look forward to watching the grand fireworks displays that will mark the start of 2021.

What Day Is New Year’s?

January 1 is a public holiday in the United States and Canada (as well as many countries around the world). It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

New Year’s Dates

Why January 1 Starts the New Year

January 1 starts the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar in use today. In 45 B.C., New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1 for the first time in history when the Julian calendar took effect (thanks to Julius Ceasar’s reforms). Today’s Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII to correct some slight inaccuracies, but continues to start the year in January.

The month of “January” is named for Janus, the ancient Roman god. Often depiced as having two faces—one looking forward and one looking back—Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, doors and gates, passageways and transitions.

In ancient Roman times, the gates of the temple of Janus were open in times of war and closed in times of peace. While Janus is linked to war, it was more as a way to protect and welcome returning warriors at other times, he symbolizes peace.

Janus am I oldest of potentates
Forward I look, and backward, and below
I count, as god of avenues and gates,
The years that through my portals come and go.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (1807–82)

A depiction of Janus.

The winter solstice was thought to occur on December 25. So, the New Year started on the 1st of the next month, January. The Romans consecrated this day to Janus, exchanging good wishes and gift of sweet figs and honey in Janus’ honor.

In modern times, not all cultures follow the Gregorian calendar. The date of the New Year in the Hindu, Chinese, Coptic, Jewish, and Islamic calendars differs.

  • The Chinese New Year starts in January or early February. Read more about the 2020 Chinese New Year.
  • The Jewish New Year (based on a lunar calendar) is called Rosh Hashanah and usually takes place in September.
  • The Islamic New Year, also known as the First of Muharram, is usually observed in July or August and is based on the sighting of the thin crescent Moon.

New Year’s Eve Customs

The evening before New Year’s Day—New Year’s Eve—is when most people celebrate the turning of the year! As the clock counts down, people may celebrate the last hours at a party or watch a televised countdown. When the clock strikes midnight, the custom is to exchange hugs and kisses and wish each other a “Happy New Year!”

In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve Day. This practice holds that the first foot to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year’s fortune. Today, there is a custom of visiting good friends and family after midnight on New Year’s Eve. See more New Year Traditions Around the World.

Many people ring in the New Year by singing the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” Robert Burns is credited with the two original stanzas, which most New Year revelers know (if that!):

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne

New Year’s Day Customs

A common custom on the first of the new year is to take time to reflect and make New Year’s resolutions. A fresh calendar encourages us to fill in the blanks with ambitious projects for home and personal improvement. Turn your face to the future with a few tips on how to make good New Year’s resolutions.

There are even some traditional New Year’s foods—many associated with good luck. One southern American recipe is Good Luck Hoppin’ John. A Scottish tradition is Hogmanay Shortbread.

Champagne and other holiday drink recipes are also served in celebration.

Good Luck Hoppin’ John. Credit: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

New Year’s Quotes

To help you ring in the New Year or write a special New Year’s greeting, we present some more verse from our archives.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.

–Sir Walter Scott

I hear you, blithe new year,
Ring out your laughter.

–Abba Goold Woolson

Hark! The Old Year is gone!
And the young New Year is coming!

–Bryan Waller Procter

Just listen to the merry New Year’s bells!
All hearts rejoice and catch the cheerful tone.

– M. A. Baines

Happy New Year to all of our Almanac readers! We hope your new year is “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor.”

Watch the video: Today in History for January 31st