On This Day

What Happened in December 2020

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Chinese robotic spacecraft Chang’e-5 lands on the Moon as part of two-day mission to retrieve rock samples

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 1 Actor Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, reveals he is transgender

  • Dec 1 Spotify's most streamed artist of 2020 was Bad Bunny, its most streamed song "Binding Lights" by The Weekend

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Dec 2 US Attorney General William Barr says there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, despite claims by President Donald Trump

45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
  • Dec 2 The UK becomes the first western country to authorize a vaccine for COVID-19, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  • Dec 2 US records its largest daily death toll for COVID-19 at 2,885 and for the first time patient numbers in hospital exceed 100,000
  • Dec 3 “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” warns Dr. Robert Redfield, head of US CDC about the months ahead with COVID-19
  • Dec 3 AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros studio announces all its 2021 movies will stream online the same day they appear in theatres because of the pandemic
  • Dec 4 New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson smashes 251 to set up the home side's innings & 134 run win over the West Indies in the 1st Test in Hamilton
  • Dec 4 Mosconi Cup nine-ball pool, Coventry, England: Europe ends US 2-year run with emphatic 11-3 win; MVP: Jayson Shaw (Scotland)
  • Dec 5 Russia begins vaccinating people with its Sputnik V vaccine in Moscow, despite the vaccine not finishing clinical trials
  • Dec 6 Japanese space capsule Hayabusa-2 lands safely back on earth in Australia, carrying first significant rock samples from an asteroid, the Ryugu
  • Dec 6 US President Donald Trump orders about 700 troops withdrawn from Somalia
  • Dec 7 Breaking, the competitive form of breakdancing, confirmed as an Olympic sport for the Paris 2024 games
  • Dec 7 Coca-Cola named the world's No. 1 plastic polluter, in Break Free From Plastic's annual brand audit
  • Dec 7 Most of California begins second lockdown as hospitals come under strain and the state records average of 21,000 COVID-19 cases a day

  • Dec 7 Australian states celebrate "Freedom Day" easing COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria and New South Wales
  • Dec 7 Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo wins a second term in the country's general elections
  • Dec 8 The UK begins vaccinating for COVID-19 using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  • Dec 8 Former Israeli space security chief Haim Eshed says Aliens and a Galactic Federation exist and Donald Trump knows about it, in article published in the Jerusalem Post
  • Dec 9 United Arab Emirates is the first country to authorize China's Sinopharm vaccine for COVID-19 saying it is 86% effective
  • Dec 9 Canada approves the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19
  • Dec 11 European Union leaders agree to cut net carbon emissions by 55% in the next decade
  • Dec 11 America's FDA authorizes the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Dec 11 US Supreme Court rejects lawsuit by Texas to overturn Jo Biden's election in four battleground states, endorsed by 17 Republican attorney generals

46th US President, Vice President and Senator Joe Biden
46th US President, Vice President and Senator
Joe Biden
  • Dec 11 Gunmen storm a school in Kankara, Katsina state, northern Nigeria, kidnapping more than 300 students (Boko Haram later claims responsibility)
  • Dec 11 First same-sex civil union registered in Bolivia after a two-year legal battle by activists

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 Chinese leader Xi Jinping says the country will reduce its carbon intensity by 65% by 2030

Paramount Leader of China Xi Jinping
Paramount Leader of China
Xi Jinping

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 UN Chief Antonio Guterres urges world's leaders to declare "climate emergency" to avoid catastrophic global warning on 5th anniversary of Paris Climate Accord

PM of Portugal and Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres
PM of Portugal and Secretary-General of the United Nations
António Guterres
  • Dec 13 Germany announces a strict lockdown till Jan 10 after looser restrictions failed to prevent COVID-19 numbers surging

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 13 British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finishes 3rd in season-ending Abu Dhabi GP to claim record equalling 7th F1 World Drivers C'ship by 124 points from teammate Valtteri Bottas; Mercedes' 7th straight Constructors title

Formula 1 Driver Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1 Driver
Lewis Hamilton
  • Dec 14 America begins its first COVID-19 vaccinations using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on the same day it records over 300,000 deaths
  • Dec 14 Total solar eclipse visible across southern Chile and Argentina
  • Dec 14 US Electoral College votes 306-232 to officially affirm Joe Biden's presidential election victory
  • Dec 14 US Open Women's Golf, Champions GC, Houston: Kim A-lim wins her first major title by 1 stroke from fellow South Korean Ko Jin-young and American Amy Olson
  • Dec 14 US Attorney General William Barr resigns

  • Dec 15 Russia revealed to have been behind massive cyberattack on US government agencies and private companies since the Spring
  • Dec 15 MacKenzie Scott announces she has given away more than $4 billion to 384 non profit organizations across the US

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 15 UK newspaper "The Sun" publishes recording of Tom Cruise berating his film crew for breaking COVID-19 protocols

Actor Tom Cruise
Actor
Tom Cruise
  • Dec 16 China blocks imports of coal, from Australia, the world's second biggest market for the world's biggest coal exporter
  • Dec 16 14 people found guilty of 2015 terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo office and supermarket in Paris
  • Dec 16 Major winter storm hits US Northeast resulting in at least seven deaths and Binghamton, New York, receiving record 41 inches of snow
  • Dec 16 Nine-year-old girl who died of an asthma attack in 2013 becomes first person in the world to officially have air pollution listed as cause of death
  • Dec 16 US Major League Baseball announces it is elevating the Negro Leagues to Major League status
  • Dec 17 China's Chang'e-5 mission successfully returns from collecting rock samples from the Moon, landing in Siziwang Banner, Mongolia
  • Dec 17 French President Emanuel Macron tests positive for COVID-19, sending other European leaders into isolation
  • Dec 17 King Carl XVI Gustaf says Swedish authorities have failed in their response to COVID-19, criticizing the country's controversial anti-lockdown strategy
  • Dec 17 More than 300 school boys rescued after they were kidnapped from their school in Katsina state, northern Nigeria
  • Dec 17 Cyclone Yasa makes landfall as a category 5 storm over Bula province, Fiji, killing two people
  • Dec 18 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine granted emergency authorization by US Food and Drug Administration
  • Dec 18 International body Covax, established to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to low and middle income countries, announces deals with vaccine manufacturers and method for countries to share excess vaccines

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 18 US Vice President Mike Pence receives the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine live on TV

48th Vice President of the United States Mike Pence
48th Vice President of the United States
Mike Pence
  • Dec 18 South Africa announces detection of new variant of COVID-19, called 501.V2, which is driving a second wave of infections
  • Dec 20 European countries begin closing their borders to the UK after news of a faster-spreading variant of COVID-19 across London and the south-east
  • Dec 21 US President-elect Joe Biden receives the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine live on TV
  • Dec 21 Governor of California Gavin Newson says there are now no intensive care beds left in Southern California or the San Joaquin valley
  • Dec 21 US begins vaccinating for COVID-19 using the Moderna vaccine

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 22 Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi scores his 644th goal for FC Barcelona during 3-0 win over Real Valladolid to break Pele's record for most goals for one club; Pele, 643 goals for Santos 1956-74

Football Star Lionel Messi
Football Star
Lionel Messi
  • Dec 25 New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara equals Ernie Nevers 1929 NFL record of 6 touchdowns in a match in the Saints' 52-33 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • Dec 29 Milwaukee Bucks break NBA record for most 3-pointers made by a team in a single game with 29 in a dominant 144-97 victory over the Heat in Miami
  • Dec 30 San Antonio assistant Becky Hammon becomes first female to coach an NBA team after Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is ejected in a 121-107 loss to the LA Lakers
  • Dec 30 Argentina is the first major Latin American country to legalize abortion (signed into law 14 Jan 2021)
  • Dec 31 WHO grants the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization, paving the way for worldwide distribution

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 1 Maria Itkina, Russian athlete (9 sprint world records, 60m-400m), dies at 88
  • Dec 1 Arnie Robinson Jr., American athlete (Olympic gold long jump 1976; bronze 1972), dies from a brain tumor at 72
  • Dec 1 Denis Menke, American baseball infielder (MLB All Star 1969, 70; Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds), dies at 80
  • Dec 2 Rafer Johnson, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1960), dies from stroke complications at 86
  • Dec 2 Pat Patterson, Canadian pro wrestler (WWE Hall of Fame; creator Royal Rumble), dies from cancer at 79
  • Dec 2 Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, French politician, President of France (1974-81), dies of COVID-19 at 94
  • Dec 2 Pamela Tiffin, American actress (One, Two, Three; Viva Max!), dies at 78 [1]
  • Dec 3 Alison Lurie, American novelist (Pulitzer Prize - Foreign Affairs), dies at 94 [1]
  • Dec 3 Bill Fitsell, Canadian journalist, writer and historian (International Hockey Hall of Fame curator, historian 1969-2005), dies at 97
  • Dec 3 Noah Creshevsky, American electroacoustic composer, dies of cancer at 75
  • Dec 4 David L. Lander, American actor (Laverne & Shirley - "Squiggy"), dies of multiple sclerosis at 73 [1]
  • Dec 4 Bassam Sabam, Lebanese violinist, oud, and nay player (New York Arabic Orchestra; Silk Road Ensemble), dies of Covid-19 complications at 62 [1]
  • Dec 5 Peter Alliss, English golfer (Ryder Cup 1957 GB winners) and author, course designer and television presenter, commentator (BBC, ESPN, ABC Sports), dies at 89
  • Dec 5 Viktor Ponedelnik, Russian soccer striker (29 caps Soviet Union; FC SKA Rostov-on-Don), dies at 83
  • Dec 5 Wojciech Zabłocki, Polish fencer (4 x World C'ship gold team; Olympic silver team sabre 1956, 60; bronze 1964), dies at 89
  • Dec 6 Paul Sarbanes, American politician (Senator-D-MD, 1977-2007, sponsored Sarbanes–Oxley Act), dies at 87
  • Dec 6 Tabaré Vázquez, Uruguayan politician and physician, President of Uruguay (2005-10, 2015-20), dies at 80 [1]
  • Dec 6 Neil Armstrong, Canadian ice hockey linesman (1,744 NHL games; Hockey Hall of Fame), dies at 87
  • Dec 6 Dennis Ralston, American tennis player (4 x Grand Slam doubles champion; Wimbledon singles 1966 runner-up), dies from cancer at 78
  • Dec 6 Jack Scarbath, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Uni of Maryland; Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers), dies at 90
  • Dec 6 Petras Bingelis, Lithuania conductor, founder and artistic director (Kaunas State Choir, 1969-2020), dies of Covid-19 at 77
  • Dec 7 Doug Scott, English mountaineer (first ascent of south-west face of Mount Everest), dies at 79 [1]
  • Dec 7 Chuck Yeager, American test pilot who was the 1st man to break the sound barrier, dies at 97 [1] [2]
  • Dec 7 Dick Allen, American baseball infielder (7 × MLB All-Star; NL Rookie of the Year 1964, Philadelphia Phillies; AL MVP 1972, Chicago WS), dies at 78 [1]
  • Dec 7 Fred Akers, American football coach (University of Wyoming; University of Texas, Austin; Purdue; career college record 108–75–3), dies at 82
  • Dec 8 Alejandro Sabella, Argentine soccer midfielder (8 caps; River Plate, Sheffield United, Estudiantes) and manager (Argentina 2011-14), dies from heart disease at 66
  • Dec 8 Harold Budd, American avant-garde ambient pianist and composer (The Pavilion of Dreams), dies of Covid-19 at 84 [1]
  • Dec 9 Ray Perkins, American football coach (New York Giants, University of Alabama, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arkansas State University), dies from heart disease at 79
  • Dec 9 Paolo Rossi, Italian soccer striker (48 caps; FIFA World Cup 1982 [Golden Boot, Golden Ball]; L.R. Vicenza, Juventus), dies at 64
  • Dec 9 Gordon Forbes, South African tennis player and author (French Open mixed doubles [Darlene Hard] 1955), dies from COVID-19 at 86
  • Dec 9 Ray Hunter, Northern Irish cricket all-rounder (28 international matches) and rugby union centre (10 Tests; British & Irish Lions 1962; Portadown RFC), dies at 82
  • Dec 9 Alex Olmedo, American/Peruvian tennis player (Australian C'ships, Wimbledon 1959), dies from brain cancer at 84
  • Dec 10 Barbara Windsor, British actress and Dame (Carry On films, EastEnders). dies at 83
  • Dec 12 Charley Pride, American country singer (Sweet Country), dies of Covid-19 complications at 86 [1]
  • Dec 12 John le Carré [pen name for David Cornwell], English novelist (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold), dies at 89
  • Dec 12 Motjeka Madisha, South African soccer defender (13 caps; Mamelodi Sundowns), dies in car accident at 25
  • Dec 12 Ann Reinking, American dancer and actress (All the Jazz, Micki & Maude), dies at 71 [1]
  • Dec 12 Jack Steinberger, American physicist (1988 Nobel Prize for Physics - Neutrinos), dies at 99 [1]
  • Dec 13 Otto Barić, Croatian soccer manager (Croatia, Austria, Wacker Innsbruck, SK Rapid, SV Salzburg), dies from COVID-19 at 87
  • Dec 13 Jimmy Collins, American basketball shooting guard (Chicago Bulls) and coach (University of Illinois, Chicago 1996-2010), dies from heart surgery complications at 74
  • Dec 13 Pierre Lacroix, Canadian NHL executive (Quebec Nordiques; Stanley Cup 1996, 2001 Colorado Avalanche), dies from COVID-19 complications at 72
  • Dec 14 Gérard Houllier OBE, French soccer manager (Paris Saint-Germain, Lens, Liverpool, Olympique Lyonnais, Aston Villa, France), dies after heart operation at 73
  • Dec 14 Eric Freeman OAM, Australian cricket fast bowler (11 Tests, 34 wickets, 2 x 50s; South Australia), dies from a heart attack at 76
  • Dec 14 Günter Sawitzki, German soccer goalkeeper (10 caps West Germany; VfB Stuttgart), dies at 88
  • Dec 14 Jeannie Morris, American sports journalist and author (Chicago Daily News, WMAQ; 'Brian Piccolo: A Short Season', 2014 Ring Lardner Award), dies from appendix cancer at 85
  • Dec 15 Jean-Pierre Lux, French rugby union centre (42 caps; US Tyrosse, US Dax) and administrator (President European Rugby Cup 1999-2014), dies at 74
  • Dec 16 Kálmán Sóvári, Hungarian soccer defender (17 caps; Újpesti Dózsa, VM Egyetértés), dies at 79
  • Dec 17 Pelle Svensson, Swedish Greco-Roman wrestler (World C'ship gold 100kg 1970, 71; Olympic silver 97kg 1964), dies from cancer at 77
  • Dec 18 Tim Severin, British author and explorer who replicated historic voyages, dies at 80
  • Dec 19 Maria Piątkowskacka, Polish athlete (WR 4 x 100m relay 1964), dies at 89
  • Dec 20 Dietrich Weise, German soccer forward (Eintracht Frankfurt, FSV Mainz) and manager (FC Kaiserslautern, E Frankfurt, F Düsseldorf, Egypt, Liechtenstein), dies at 86
  • Dec 20 Fanny Waterman, English concert pianist & teacher (Leeds International Piano Competition), dies at 100 [1]
  • Dec 21 K. T. Oslin, American country singer (80's Ladies), dies at 78 [1]
  • Dec 21 Kevin Greene, American Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker (5 x Pro Bowl; First-team All-Pro 1989, 94, 96; LA Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers), dies at 58
  • Dec 23 Leslie West [Weinstein], American rock guitarist (Mountain - "Mississippi Queen"; "Theme for an Imaginary Western"), dies of cardiac arrest at 75 [1]
  • Dec 24 Ivry Gitlis, Israeli classical violin virtuoso, dies at 98
  • Dec 25 Tony Rice, American bluegrass guitarist (J.D. Crowe and the New South), dies at 69 [1]
  • Dec 25 Ivan Bohdan, Ukrainian Greco-Roman wrestler (Olympic gold Soviet Union heavyweight 1960; World C'ship gold 1958, 61), dies at 92
  • Dec 25 Robin Jackman, English cricket seam bowler (4 Tests, 14 wickets; 15 ODIs; Surrey), dies from COVID-19 at 75
  • Dec 25 K. C. Jones, American Basketball Hall of Fame point guard (Olympic gold 1956; NBA C'ship 1959–66, Boston Celtics) and coach (NBA C'ship 1984, 86; Boston Celtics), dies from Alzheimer's disease at 88
  • Dec 26 Phil Niekro, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (famed knuckleballer; no-hitter 1973; 5 x MLB All Star; 5 x Gold Glove; Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves), dies of cancer at 81 [1]
  • Dec 26 Jim McLean, Scottish soccer forward (Hamilton Academical, Clyde, Dundee) and manager (Dundee United 1971-93), dies from dementia at 83
  • Dec 27 José Luiz Carbone, Brazilian soccer midfielder (6 caps; São Paulo, Internacional, Botafogo) and coach (Fluminense, Guarani), dies from liver cancer at 74
  • Dec 27 Loyd Phillips, American College Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman (University of Arkansas; Chicago Bears), dies from a stroke at 75
  • Dec 28 Armando Manzanero, Mexican composer and singer (It’s Impossible, Adoro), dies at 86 [1]
  • Dec 29 John F Reid, New Zealand cricket batsman (19 Tests, 1296 runs @ 46.28, 6 x 100s), dies at 64
  • Dec 29 Claude Bolling, French jazz and classical cross-over pianist and composer (Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio), dies at 90 [1] [2]
  • Dec 29 Phyllis McGuire, American pop vocalist (McGuire Sisters - "Sincerely"; "Sugartime"), dies at 89
  • Dec 29 John Paul Jr., American auto racer (IMSA GT C'ship 1982; 24 Hours of Daytona 1982, 92; 12 Hours of Sebring 1982), dies from Huntington's disease at 60
  • Dec 30 Dawn Wells, American actress (Gilligan's Island -"Mary Ann"), dies of COVID-19 complications at 82 [1]
  • Dec 30 Samuel Little, American serial killer (who confessed to 93 murders), dies at 80 [1]
  • Dec 31 Tommy Docherty, Scottish soccer midfielder (25 caps; Preston North End) and manager (Chelsea, QPR, Scotland, Manchester United), dies at 92
  • Dec 31 Joan Micklin Silver, American film director (Hester Street; Crossing Delancey), dies at 85
  • Dec 31 Richard Thornburgh, 76th United States Attorney General (1988-91) and 41st Governor of Pennsylvania (dealt with Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown), dies at 88 [1]