2020 Year in Review: QNS’ top stories of the year

Photo: Getty Images. Insert: Schneps Media

This past year was dominated by one thing: COVID-19.

Stories about the spread of the virus in the borough, the actions taken by leaders to limit its spread and the countless ways in which it affected the everyday lives of Queens residents were read on QNS.com millions of times.

In the early days of the pandemic, readers wanted to know how to pass their time while quarantining, what resources were available online to continue to enrich their children’s learning and what the destructive virus was doing to their neighbors.

In total, Queens residents visited QNS.com more than 9.1 million times in 2020 and we deeply appreciate your readership.

Here are the top 10 most read stories on QNS.com in 2020.

1. Free resources and subscriptions for remote learning and home schooling due to coronavirus

By Donna Duarte-Ladd, Olga Uzunova and Katarina Avendaño, March 16, 2020

The day this story was published, March 16, 2020, was the first day New York City schools closed down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It was early days of the pandemic and readers wanted to know how to keep their students engaged during what was a very uncertain time.

In this story, readers could access resources and subscriptions that offered students lessons on history, math, art, reading and much more.

For the full story, click here.

2. Coronavirus count: Queens leads New York City in virus cases

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Robert Pozarycki, March 24, 2020

Just as soon as the COVID-19 crisis began, Queens was leading the city in confirmed cases. Through no fault of their own, Queens residents were quickly living in the world’s epicenter of the pandemic.

At the time this story was published, there were over 3,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Queens. Overall, there were 13,119 in the city.

For the full story, click here.

3. New York state on PAUSE: Cuomo enacts ‘Matilda’s Law’ in response to ongoing spread of COVID-19

By Emily Davenport, March 20, 2020

After debating the scale of a shutdown for some time, on March 20, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo put the state on PAUSE, or Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.

For the first time during the pandemic, non-essential gatherings in New York were canceled.

On the day the PAUSE was announced, New York state had 7,102 cases of coronavirus, with 1,255 people hospitalized. Thirty-five people died that day from the virus.

For the full story, click here.

4. Here are 10 things to do while in quarantine this weekend

Getty Images

By Alex Mitchell, March 20, 2020

On the day Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City would be shut down, people began to imagine their lives in quarantine.

By now, it’s almost guaranteed most Queens residents have completed every item on this list, which includes redecorating your home, video conferencing with friends and family and binge-watching the day away.

For the full story, click here.

5. Hospital workers in Brooklyn who treated city’s first coronavirus fatality went into isolation

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech, March 14, 2020

The first known person to die from complications related to COVID-19 in New York City was an 82-year-old woman from Ridgewood. Days later, the frontline medical workers who treated her were sent into isolation.

The woman’s diagnosis wasn’t known until she had already been brought into the hospital, possibly exposing the EMS personnel in the ambulance that took her to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, as well as those in the hospital’s emergency room.

For the full story, click here.

6. New York State Liquor Authority charges Richmond Hill bar with violating emergency shutdown order

Photo via Flickr/governorandrewcuomo

By Robert Pozarycki, March 20, 2020

One of the first eateries to lose its liquor license after flouting rules put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 was Richmond Hill bar New Oriental Guyana Restaurant Inc., located at 115-22 Liberty Ave.

While many restaurants and bars would go on to have their liquor licenses suspended, New Oriental Guyana Restaurant was one of the first.

Several days after Governor Andrew Cuomo passed an executive order forcing restaurants and bars to close their doors to indoor dining, the Richmond Hill bar was found to have continued operations as normal. The bar packed in customers and closed their gates to appear closed.

For the full story, click here.

7. Coronavirus count: Queens leads with 4,667 cases as NYC total soars to more than 15,000

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech, March 25, 2020

The day after Queens had become the epicenter of the COVID-19 in the city, state and country, the number of COVID-19 patients in the borough continued to rise.

On March 25, 2020, there were 4,667 known coronavirus cases in Queens. There were 4,407 cases in Brooklyn, 3,013 cases in Manhattan, 2505 in the Bronx and 999 in Staten Island.

For the full story, click here.

8. Queens politicians condemn New York Post image of Flushing amid coronavirus case in Manhattan

Screenshot via Twitter/ Toby Ann Stavisky

By Carlotta Mohamed, March 2, 2020

Much to the ire of local elected officials, The New York Post used a photo of an Asian man in Flushing to illustrate its story about the first case of COVID-19 in New York City.

In the early months of 2020, hate crimes against Asians in New York were on the rise and believed to be related to the entirely false perception that they were more likely to spread COVID-19. According to lawmakers like state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, the Post story did little to combat this dangerous narrative.

“Posting a picture of an Asian man in Flushing, Queens, while reporting about a confirmed case in Manhattan is troubling,” Stavisky said at the time. “This does nothing but further the misconceptions that are hurting many people and businesses in my district.”

For the full story, click here.

9. Student households can sign up for free Wi-Fi via Spectrum while DOE works to deliver 25,000 iPads next week

By Angélica Acevedo, March 17, 2020

The transition to remote learning was and remains difficult for students and families without access to the electronic devices needed for a virtual classroom.

In mid-March, days after schools closed for the first time, the Department of Education began to distribute around 25,000 iPads to students in need of online access. At the time, about 300,000 students were without online devices.

To help ease the transition to remote learning, internet provider Spectrum announced it would be offering student households up to 60 days of free service.

For the full story, click here.

10. When Americans can expect their coronavirus relief checks

By Carlotta Mohamed, April 6, 2020

As unemployment spiked in Queens and across the country in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were – and many remain – in dire need of financial relief.

In early April, it was announced that taxpayers would receive a payment up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, passed by Congress.

Readers of QNS.com wanted to know where their money was and when it would get to them.

“People in Queens and across the nation are hurting, and this financial assistance will provide important short-term relief to families and workers,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “I will monitor these timelines to ensure that constituents receive their payments.”

For the full story, click here.

More from Around New York