2021: The Year in Events

In 2021, the United States—and the world—continued to confront the consequences of the momentous events of 2020, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in which former Vice President Joe Biden defeated the incumbent President Donald Trump.

COVID-19’s Continued Toll

As the year began, the nation was still firmly in the grip of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that first emerged in late December 2019 and spread around the world in 2020, prompting lockdowns, a global recession and upheaval on an unprecedented scale. The first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were administered in the United States by the end of 2020; a third vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson, was authorized in February. By year’s end, more than 200 million Americans would be fully vaccinated, as use of the vaccines was expanded to cover first adolescents and later children aged five and over.

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