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(Christa McWhirter)

Trump supporters gather in front of the Texas Capitol while the U.S. Capitol building was breached.

While 2020 gave us at least two weeks of relative sanity before COVID-19 struck, 2021 started out in utter chaos.

Despite New Year's Day being relatively quiet for the American people, a break from the madness would turn out to be short lived. Here's a look at what the new year has brought so far:

Day 2

On day two of the new year, University of Texas fans got news that Head Football Coach Tom Herman had been fired. And only moments later, it was announced that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian would replace Herman as head coach.

The announcement came as a shock to many after they just watched the Texas Longhorns beat the Colorado Buffalos in a 55-23 bowl victory and finished the season with a 7-3 record. In December, Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte had also confirmed Herman would keep his job.

Day 4

On Jan. 4, the city experienced the second-highest levels of cedar pollen in the past 25 years. This can be stressful because, while there are some key differences—primarily the lack of fever in the so-called "cedar fever"—pollen allergies and COVID-19 have similar symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, headache, fatigue and change in smell or taste.

Day 5

In week one of the new year, the U.S. has experienced massive spikes in positive covid cases. Hospitals are maxing out their ICU beds, a joint statement from Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David's HealthCare revealed on Tuesday said that 2,473 staffed beds within all three healthcare systems are 79% occupied, and the 483 ICU beds are 88% occupied.

Day 6

Congress' met to certify the election results with some senators prepared to claim voter fraud, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Trump supporters descended upon Washington D.C. in the thousands for the "Save America" rally at The Ellipse where President Donald Trump told the crowd to march down the road to the nation's Capitol building.

Protesters across the country gathered in front of their own state Capitol buildings, including hundreds of people who congregated in front of the Texas Capitol chanting, "Stop the steal!"

Signs from the Trump rally at the Texas Capitol on Jan 6.Christa McWhirter

By mid-afternoon, the U.S. Capitol building was breached for the first time since 1812 by protesters in D.C. in what is being labeled by lawmakers across the country as an insurrection. Four people were killed in the riot—including one Capitol building police officer.

Day 7

Austin's Ending Community Homelessness Coalition announced they would not move forward with the homeless count for this year, following many other cities that have cited COVID-19 concerns.

Also on Jan. 7, the U.S. recorded for the first time a one-day death count of 4,000 due to COVID-19. In Texas, the first case of the more contagious COVID-19 strain was identified in a Harris County resident.

Despite so much chaos at the beginning of 2021, one new Austinite seems to be doing well for himself. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was officially named the richest man in the world. The South African entrepreneur recently surpassed Jeff Bezos' worth of $187 billion when his worth rose to $188.5 billion.

Some say it feels like 2020 never ended with all that's happened in just one full week of the new year.


(Charlie L. Harper III)

After reaching Stage 4 last week of Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines, Austin-Travis County is now at the Stage 5 threshold with a seven-day average of 50 hospitalizations and dwindling ICU capacity.

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(Tito's Handmade Vodka)


  • 1 1/12 oz sweet pepper-infused Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 3 oz soda water
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
Directions: Add all ingredients, except soda water, to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass over fresh ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

(Beto O'Rourke/Twitter)

Austin legend Willie Nelson will perform at the Texas Capitol today, his first large performance since the pandemic began, closing out a four-day long march across Central Texas to build support for federal voting protections.

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