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:
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.
https://t.co/w0BcDoAJXM https://t.co/fqLa3dr1E0— Chris Del Conte (@Chris Del Conte)1609605906.0
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.
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.
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.
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.
@teslaownersSV How strange— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)1610033547.0
Some say it feels like 2020 never ended with all that's happened in just one full week of the new year.
With a taste of MLS play under their belts, Austin FC is entering the second half of a scoreless inaugural match.
The club has been given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
The two breaks aside, Austin FC has been holding their own against the match favorites. In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team has been quick and intense, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. ATXFC has also kept about equal possession with LAFC, although their shot attempts haven't been quite as nervewracking as the home team.
LAFC has given goalkeeper Brad Stuver some scares with 11 shot attempts, four of them on goal. By contrast, Austin FC has had five shots on goal.
LA has pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense isn't as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and defensive midfielder Alex Ring has shown the qualities that make him captain as he leads his teammates through their first ever match.
Will Austin FC win against the odds? It's tough to tell, but Austonia will keep you updated!
It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!
Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.
5 p.m: Kickoff!
It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!
4:40 p.m: Excitement radiates back home
Watch parties are in plenty supply back home. Austonia's Laura Figi visited Circle Brewing Co. and found a crowd of excited supporters.
4:20 p.m: Austin FC supporters are in the stadium
Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!
~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds
With a warm welcome from Los Verdes, Austin FC players were welcomed into the Banc of California Stadium.
~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA
(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)
Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.
Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.
11:45 a.m: We landed!
View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)
Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.
We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.
8:20 a.m: LA bound
Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.
A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.
As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.