Top 10 Bay Area stories of 2021 — and what they mean for 2022


After the upheavals of 2020, it would have been nice if 2021 had been calm and uneventful. But across the nation and the world, the year delivered another earth-shaking 12 months.

Supporters of Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, attacking police and violently attempting to overthrow Joe Biden’s inauguration as president by blocking the electoral vote count. The Tokyo Olympics, a year late due to COVID-19, went on with empty seats. After a 20-year war, U.S. troops finally left Afghanistan in a chaotic retreat. Massive wildfires made worse by climate change and overgrown forests burned from Lake Tahoe to Sequoia National Park. And the COVID-19 death toll surpassed 5 million worldwide, with more people dying this year than last year, despite the introduction of life-saving vaccines.

The Bay Area’s biggest events of 2021 similarly shook the local economy, culture and…

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