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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

What we missed: January 2021


A collage of arts and events displayed on the wall.

2020 truly tested the American populationfrom a global pandemic to a contentious political climate, the year was action-packed from start to finish. Nevertheless, we have persevered, and now we find ourselves with January 2021 already in the books. Let’s see how it went:

COVID in January 2021:

On Jan. 1, the United States officially exceeded 20 million confirmed cases of COVID. As of the end of the month, there have been about 25 million confirmed cases. 

The global count has totaled 101.1 million cases, and the pandemic has caused 2.1 million deaths globally.

The COVID vaccine is being administered to combat the pandemic. According to the CDC website, 48.4 million doses have been distributed, while 26.2 million have been administered as of Jan. 28. The New York Times further breaks that second number down into about 21.7 million people having gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and 4.3 million people having been fully vaccinated as of Jan. 28.

UMass Boston in January 2021:

On Jan. 13, 2021, UMass Boston News published a story detailing findings conducted by a team that included UMass Boston researchers. The report is part of a larger research project involving the Boston Area Research Initiative at Northeastern University, UMass Boston, and the Boston Public Health Commission. Six members of the UMass Boston community served on the research team for this report.  

The research team found information regarding disparities among which Bostonians plan to get vaccinated. According to the report, one in five Boston residents plan not to receive the vaccine, almost half of Black Bostonians reported that they probably or definitely will not receive the vaccine, and one quarter of Latinx respondents said the same thing. 

On Jan. 25, classes began at UMass Boston. The vast majority of classes are still being held in a remote modality. Monday, Feb. 1 marks the Add/Drop deadline.

The SAEC also planned a virtual Welcome Week that took place during the first week of classes. “Connection Stations” were one recurring event that allowed students to interact with different campus offices and resources, as well as clubs and other organizations. Other events included a virtual scavenger hunt, a Disney trivia Kahoot, and digital superhero caricatures. 

Political Affairs in January 2021:

On Jan. 5, the Georgia Senate runoff election occurred. Democrat Raphael Warnock beat incumbent Republican senator Kelly Loeffler, becoming the first Black senator from Georgia. Democrat Jon Ossoff beat incumbent Republican senator David Perdue, becoming the youngest sitting U.S. senator at age 33. With these victories, the Senate is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans; however, Vice President Kamala Harris has the power to cast a tie-breaking vote if necessary. 

On Jan. 6, Trump supporters protested outside the Capitol. Peaceful protests quickly became violent as rioters stormed the Capitol building. Many rooms in the building were destroyed, and five people died due to the riot. 

On Jan. 13, Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on a charge of incitement of insurrection regarding the events of Jan. 6. This is the second time Trump has been impeached, making him the first president in the history of the United States to be impeached twice. The trial in the Senate is set to begin the week of Feb. 8.

On Jan. 20, President Joe Biden was officially inaugurated. Just hours after being sworn into office, President Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums, and proclamations. 

Executive actions signed by President Biden include rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Accords, ending the ban on travel to the U.S. from many predominantly Muslim and African countries (a.k.a. the “Muslim Ban”), and stopping construction on the border wall.  

With only one eventful month of 2021 down, it is impossible to foresee the events that lie ahead for the UMass Boston community, the United States, and the world.