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The year in review: Top news stories of 2020 month-by-month

On January 9, 2020, on the "CBS Morning News," Anne-Marie Green reported about a new virus, related to SARS, that was possibly responsible for a mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China: "The new coronavirus was found in 15 of 59 patients with the illness. The virus is spread through coughing or sneezing or by touching an infected person."

Little did we know what that news meant for the world back then. With just a few days left in this one-of-a-kind year, correspondent Lee Cowan takes a quick look back …


COVID reared its head in January. The very first case in the U.S. was a Washington State man who had travelled from the city of Wuhan in China, where it all started.


February was consumed with the impeachment of President Trump by the House. He was eventually acquitted by the Senate of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


In March it was back to COVID. The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, and the 2020 Olympics was officially postponed.


Senators vote to approve the extension of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's emergency declaration in Lansing
Militia group members pose in front of the Governor's office after protesters occupied the State Capitol during a vote to approve the extension of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's emergency coronavirus declaration/stay-at-home order, in Lansing, Michigan, April 30, 2020. In October federal and state authorities charged 13 people for plots to kidnap the Democratic governor.  SETH HERALD/REUTERS

Tensions over COVID took center stage in April, when armed demonstrators took to the Michigan State Capitol to protest stay-at-home orders. 


Demonstrators rally against police brutality in Brooklyn, New York
Protesters gather along Parkside Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, during a protest against police brutality on May 30, 2020. Irina Ivanova/CBS News

In May the nation's focus shifted to justice and inequality, after the death of George Floyd, sparking protests all around the country.


Donald Trump outside St. John's Church
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he stands outside St. John's Church, across Lafayette Park from the White House, on Monday, June 1, 2020. AP

In June a peaceful protest near the White House was broken up in order to allow President Trump to pose outside a church holding a Bible.


San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, with an audience that would be consuming very little peanuts or Cracker Jacks, July 23, 2020 in Los Angeles. Harry How/Getty Images

We got a bit of normalcy in July, when Major League Baseball finally returned, in front of cardboard cut-outs, but it was better than nothing.


APTOPIX Tropical Weather Louisiana
Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, August 27, 2020, in Cameron, La. David J. Phillip/AP

As if 2020 weren't hard enough, Hurricane Laura slammed into the Louisiana Gulf Coast in August – it was one of 12 named storms to hit the United States this season.


Law clerks and others pay their respects as the flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., September 23, 2020. ALEX BRANDON/AFP via Getty Images

September saw the makeup of the highest court in the land change, with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and President Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her.


COVID hit the Oval Office in October. President Trump was diagnosed, hospitalized and released, all in the waning days of his campaign.


Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden's an election rally, after news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden (accompanied by his wife, Jill, and members of their family) after being projected the winner of the 2020 election, in Wilmington, Delaware, November 7, 2020.  REUTERS

In November, of course, we voted. Joe Biden won. President Trump disagreed, and tried to overturn the result both in the courts and in certain state legislatures.


Mercifully, the year ended with some positive news on COVID: the vaccines were finally here, much-needed shots-in-the-arm that will continue far into the New Year.

Story produced by Julie Kracov. Editor: Chad Cardin.

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