Violent crime rises during pandemic as confidence in police takes a hit

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 21: Police investigate the scene of a shooting in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on July 21, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. At least 14 people were transported to area hospitals after several gunmen, believed to be in this bullet-riddled car, opened fire on mourners standing outside of a funeral home. The car crashed and the occupants fled after mourners returned fire. More than 2000 people have been shot and more than 400 have been murdered in Chicago so far this year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(CNN) — As the body counts rise, American cities remain ground zero for a deadly new reality.

And those charged with keeping communities safe and helping flatten the curve of death are under fire and losing confidence from those they are sworn to protect.

This isn’t coronavirus but a plague of violence in many American cities as murders and assaults spike during the global pandemic.

From May to June 2020, homicides in 20 major US cities increased by 37%, led by Chicago, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, according to new data from the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) think tank. Aggravated assaults jumped by 35% over the same period of time, while other types of crime were down.

The CCJ’s data comes as Gallup released new public opinion polling data indicating confidence in law enforcement has fallen to the lowest level in 27 years, with just 48% of respondents indicating a positive view of those who wear the badge.

Both academic researchers and policing experts say identifying a specific reason for the sudden spike in violent crime remains elusive. It could be the result of multiple factors converging as the nation simultaneously grapples with several public safety crises.

“Crime is complicated,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a non-profit police research and policy organization. “Murder is complicated. You have to ask yourself what has been going on in these four or five months that would indicate some theory for why this is happening.”

The plague of violence

This year has been one marked by unprecedented tragedy as the nation reels from a public health crisis that has claimed more than 160,000 lives, as well as the questionable deaths of several Black Americans — including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks — at the hands of police officers.

After Floyd’s death, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets around the country demanding racial justice and an end to excessive use of force by police. While the overwhelming majority of demonstrations were peaceful, some incidents of rioting and looting occurred in places like Minneapolis, Chicago, New York City and Atlanta.

While CCJ researchers who examined the recent spikes in homicides and aggravated assaults say it is too soon to draw conclusions on any one contributing factor, they note that the social stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent national unrest cannot be overlooked.

Policing experts tend to agree.

“It’s a time unlike any other American history,” said Wexler, who noted both the coronavirus pandemic and recent calls for police reform have had an impact on law enforcement.

Wexler said the spread of the coronavirus has likely had a negative impact on both witnesses to crime coming forward, as well as law enforcement agencies themselves hampered as infections spread throughout their ranks.

“Investigations have been impacted,” said Wexler, citing the New York Police Department as one organization that had dozens of officers sidelined due to illness. “If someone has shot someone else, the chances are they’re probably shooting other people. So, if you can’t follow up on those shootings, they’ll likely continue.”

As another possible contributing factor, Wexler said various incidents of social unrest have required law enforcement agencies to pull resources away from patrolling the streets to deal with looting and unrest.

“When you’re spread thin like that, it has an impact on your operations,” he said.

Wexler said he questioned whether the early release of some inmates over fears of COVID-19 spreading in correctional institutions could affect crime on the streets.

Still, he says, there are no easy answers to the surge in homicides and assaults noted by CCJ researchers but believes public officials must study the issue.

Distrust of the police

The global pandemic and increased murder rates are not the only issues plaguing American policing.

In a profession that succeeds or fails largely based on community support, new Gallup polling data shows public confidence in police has hit its lowest level in nearly three decades.

Around 48% of Americans said they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police, down from 53% the previous year, according to the new poll.

Since Gallup began including police in its Confidence in Institutions poll in 1993, the organization says, White respondents have been more likely to express confidence in police than Black respondents. From 2014 to 2019, Gallup says confidence in police among White Americans averaged at 60%, compared to 30% among Black Americans.

This year, confidence in police declined among both Black and White participants, but the dip among Black participants was more marked: 19% of Black participants said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police while 56% of White participants said the same. It’s the largest gap between Black and White respondents Gallup has recorded in the current poll, which questions respondents on 16 institutions.

What’s behind the sudden loss of public confidence in police?

“Negative publicity and viral videos,” says Charles Ramsey, a CNN law enforcement analyst and former head of police departments in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Ramsey says the massive public attention paid to recent high-profile incidents involving alleged excessive use of force by police is likely affecting officers nationwide.

“I think the behavior that’s been shown on these viral videos is not representative of the majority of police officers,” Ramsey said, “but it still shows there’s a problem in policing that must be addressed.”

Since Floyd’s death, Ramsey has been one of a number of policing professionals who have publicly condemned the actions of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin — the former officer charged with second-degree murder after bystander video showed him placing his knee to Floyd’s neck as the unarmed Black man slowly lost consciousness.

Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrats who authored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — a bill that calls for sweeping reform to policing tactics — is not surprised that Gallup’s polling shows a majority of Americans have lost confidence in police.

“I think when people witnessed the really slow, tortuous murder of George Floyd, it was just not up for debate,” Bass said. “I think the American people were horrified.”

“You see the man being compliant,” she said. “You see the police officer — acting with complete impunity — looking at the camera while he is literally murdering this man. The symbolism of that was he was so arrogant about what he was doing. He thought, “It’s just a black man, nobody is going to do anything to me.'”

Bass told CNN she believes the cell phone video of the incident involving Floyd was key to helping the public understand the issue of racism in policing for themselves.

“One of the key things from an African-American perspective is we’ve never been believed,” Bass said. “People always turned it on us.” She added that people of color are often presumed to have done something wrong during police encounters.

“There is nothing worse than to not be believed and for your reality to be completely denied,” Bass said. “That is beyond hurtful, and I’m not sure people understand the depths of the pain it causes when people say police officers have killed us without reason, and other people say that just didn’t happen.”

Staunch defenders of law enforcement reject the notion of systemic racism in policing, including US Attorney General William Barr, who has said such broad claims amount to “oversimplification.” But new data on the use of force by officers continues to raise serious questions about the manner in which people of color are treated by police.

In a June 2020 study, researchers at Texas A&M University studied 2 million 911 calls from two major American cities. Their study found that White officers were far more likely to use force than non-White officers, particular in minority neighborhoods.

“While White and Black officers discharge their guns at similar rates in white and racially mixed neighborhoods, white officers are five times as likely to fire a gun in predominantly Black neighborhoods,” the study found.

Restoring confidence and fighting crime

For law enforcement experts, diminished public confidence in police and increased rates of violent crime in American cities go hand in hand. They note that public safety suffers when officers throttle back their enforcement efforts.

“I think we have some police officers who may not be as proactive as they were before because they don’t want to be the subject of the next viral video,” said former police chief Ramsey. “That doesn’t mean they are doing anything wrong, but the use of force is not a pretty thing to look at. As a result, the bad guys see an opportunity and take advantage of it, which means more robberies, rapes, and shootings.”

While Ramsey believes bad cops make up only a small percentage of law enforcement, he says it’s past time police departments start aggressively identifying and removing officers who should not be wearing the badge.

“We have to do a better job of weeding out officers that don’t belong and people who are not psychologically fit for policing,” he said.

Better training, accreditation and certifying officers against a national standard are all ways Ramsey believes police agencies should be reformed, including a basic focus on treating people with dignity.

“Officers need to understand the importance of just treating people in a respectful way,” he said.

Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum says stopping the rise in homicides in some major American cities is inextricably linked with public confidence in law enforcement.

“What we know from homicide investigations is the better relationship you have with the community, the more likely you are to get their confidence in providing support when there is a homicide,” he said, citing the vital role people play in helping identifying suspects and as witnesses.

“Where you have good support from the community, you have high trust,” Wexler says, “and solving homicides is going to be better.”

One immediate result of the loss of confidence in law enforcement has been the growing call among some criminal justice reform advocates to defund police departments and shift resources to other types of community-based services.

In Minneapolis, local officials unanimously voted in June to begin the process of dismantling the city’s embattled police department. However, there are still scant details on what a substitution for law enforcement there would actually look like.

President Trump has cited the “defund the police” movement in an attempt to project a law and order 2020 campaign agenda, even as his administration was criticized following allegations of excessive use of force by federal officers in Washington and Portland.

But even some Democrats say the issue is more nuanced than simply abolishing law enforcement.

“Nobody is going to defund the police,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “We can restructure the police forces. Restructure, re-imagine policing. That is what we are going to do.”

And while certain states and local jurisdictions have taken action in the wake of George Floyd’s death to reform policing tactics — like banning of chokeholds — some national lawmakers aren’t waiting around for region by region reforms.

The legislation introduced by Bass has provisions to overhaul qualified immunity for police, prohibitions on racial profiling on the part of law enforcement and a ban on no-knock warrants in federal drug cases. The bill bans chokeholds at the federal level and classifies them as a civil rights violation, and establish a national registry of police misconduct maintained by the Justice Department.

The bill passed passed the Democratic-controlled House in June and Bass said the House is working to get the GOP-controlled Senate to consider the bill.

“If the Senate wants to come up with another bill, we can go to conference and negotiate. That’s fine — it’s under discussion,” she said. “But we’re going to continue to push the Senate.”

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given no indication the Senate will take up the bill anytime soon, Bass says she remains optimistic about the future of police reform.

“I’m hopeful because of the hundreds of thousands of people who have peacefully protested, and who are continuing to raise the issue,” she said.

Ultimately, Bass believes reforming policing tactics will be a win for both officers and the public.

“The police officers need help, and by help I mean they need national standards,” she said

Asked if she would recommend becoming a police officer to young people in her district, Bass said absolutely, but with one important caveat.

“The first thing I would do is ask them why they want to be an officer,” she said. “There are some people who want to go into law enforcement because they want to knock heads and don’t recognize this is about communities.”

“But assuming it’s not for abusive reasons, I would encourage them to do so,” she said. “I would also encourage them to hold onto their values. Don’t go along to get along.”

Coronavirus links

Indiana coronavirus timeline

With updated information from the Indiana Department of Health through Sept. 21, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.

  • March 6: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
  • March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. An adult in Hendricks County who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools say a parent and that parent’s children will be self-quarantining after attending an out-of-state event where someone else tested positive.
  • March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
  • March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
  • March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will be conducted with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
  • March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled. 
  • March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Gov. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
  • March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
  • March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
  • March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
  • March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Indiana’s Catholic bishops cancel masses indefinitely. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
  • March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
  • March 19: Gov. Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools. Standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament was canceled. The Marion County Emergency Operations Center upgrades to Level 1 status.
  • March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Gov. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
  • March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
  • March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 19. ISDH announces seven deaths.
  • March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 24. Holcomb orders Hoosiers deemed nonessential to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
  • March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 29. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 35. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23.
  • March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 44.
  • March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 47.
  • March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
  • March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 76.
  • March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91.
  • March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Gov. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6. Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, asked about when Indiana will be in a surge of COVID-19 cases, says she thinks the surge is starting.
  • April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees.
  • April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
  • April 3: Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The state receives a federal Major Disaster Declaration for all 92 counties. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
  • April 4: Indiana’s death toll rises above 200.
  • April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
  • April 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 300. Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
  • April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
  • April 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 400.
  • April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
  • April 16: Indiana records more than 10,000 positive coronavirus tests. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
  • April 17: Indiana’s death toll rises above 600. The governor says that he will extend the “stay at home” order through May 1.
  • April 20: Indiana’s death toll rises above 700. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says, if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
  • April 22: Indiana’s death toll rises above 800. The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
  • April 24: Indiana’s death toll rises above 900. The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department with a plan to test every resident.
  • April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
  • April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
  • April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
  • April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
  • April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
  • May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the stay-at-home order to May 4.
  • May 3: Indiana records more than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
  • May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June. 
  • May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
  • May 10: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,500.
  • May 13: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,600.The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
  • May 15: Simon Property Group reopens Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre Mall, and Fashion Mall at Keystone
  • May 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,700.
  • May 17: Marion County’s death toll rises above 500.
  • May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people had tested positive there.
  • May 19: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,800.
  • May 21: Indiana records more than 30,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
  • May 23: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,900.
  • May 27: The U.S. death toll rises above 100,000. Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
  • May 28: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000.
  • May 29: Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
  • June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
  • June 2: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,100.
  • June 3: Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
  • June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
  • June 8: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,200. Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
  • June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
  • June 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,300.
  • June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopen in the state. Marion County’s public libraries begin a phased reopening.
  • June 19: Marion County advances to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
  • June 20: Indiana’s death toll rises to 2,400.
  • June 24: The governor says the state’s moratorium on the eviction on renters will be extended through July. Indiana announces it will create a rental assistance program July 13. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • June 27: Indiana hospitalizations for COVID-19 begin to increase, with about 33 new patients a day through July 1.
  • July 1: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,500. The governor pauses Stage 5 final reopening plan, announces Stage 4.5 from July 4-17.
  • July 4: Indiana’s Stage 4.5 reopening plan begins.
  • July 9: Indiana records more than 50,000 positive coronavirus tests. Marion County mandates mask-wearing.
  • July 10: Indianapolis Public Schools announces its reopening plans.
  • July 11: Indy Eleven resumes 2020 season with victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens.
  • July 12: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,600.
  • July 13: Indiana begins rental assistance program for all counties but Marion County. Marion County begins its own rental assistance program.
  • July 15: Indiana announces the Stage 4.5 reopening plan will continue another two weeks. The WNBA season will begin.
  • July 16: Indianapolis suspends applications for its rental assistance program due to overwhelming demand.
  • July 22: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,700.
  • July 23: Indiana records more than 60,000 positive coronavirus tests. MLB begins delayed season.
  • July 24: Bars, taverns and nightclubs in Indianapolis are shut down again. City officials also return to other previous restrictions.
  • July 25: Indiana Fever begins WNBA season after delays.
  • July 27: Indiana governor’s order to wear face coverings begins. Great Lakes Valley Conference, which including University of Indianapolis, postpones most fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, until spring.
  • July 30: NBA season resumes.
  • Aug. 2: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,800.
  • Aug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans.
  • Aug. 5: With more than 1,000 positive tests reported in a single day, Indiana jumps to a total of 70,993 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 10: Indiana records more than 75,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 11: The Big Ten announces it won’t play football this fall.
  • Aug. 12: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,900. With more than 1,000 positive tests reported in a single day, Indiana records more than 77,000 positive coronavirus tests. Delta Middle School and Delta High School were closed through Aug. 24 after 228 students went into quarantine; students were moved to e-learning.
  • Aug. 13: With more than 1,000 positive tests reported in a single day, Indiana records more than 78,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 14: With more than 1,000 positive tests reported in a single day, Indiana records more than 79,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Aug. 17: Indianapolis Public Schools restarts with online-only classes. News 8 learns the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on Presidents Day weekend in 2021.
  • Aug. 20: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,000. Purdue University suspends 36 students after a party at a co-op.
  • Aug. 21: Indiana high school football season begins with some teams not playing due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Aug. 23: Butler University tells undergraduates that instruction will occur remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, starting Aug. 24, instead of in classrooms.
  • Aug. 24: Purdue, Indiana, IUPUI and Ball State universities resume in-person classes.
  • Aug. 25: Reports say a fraternity, a sorority and a cooperative house at Purdue University are under quarantines.
  • Aug. 26: Indiana records more than 90,000 positive coronavirus tests. Gov. Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Sept. 25. Indiana’s rental assistance program will take applications for one last day.
  • Aug. 27: Indiana University says eight Greek houses are under 14-day quarantines.
  • Aug. 30: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,100.
  • Sept. 1: Indiana records more than 95,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 2: With more than 1,100 new cases, Indiana records more than 96,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indiana University tells 30 Greek houses in Bloomington to quarantine.
  • Sept. 3: With more than 1,000 new cases, Indiana records more than 97,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 4: With more than 1,000 new cases, Indiana records more than 98,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 6: Indiana records more than 100,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 8: Marion County allows bars and nightclubs to reopen with 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors.
  • Sept. 9: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,200.
  • Sept. 10: With more than 1,200 new cases, Indiana records more than 103,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 11: With more than 1,000 new cases, Indiana records more than 104,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 12: With more than 1,200 new cases, Indiana records more than 105,000 positive coronavirus tests. The Indianapolis Colts open their season with a loss in a Jacksonville stadium with a limited number of fans.
  • Sept. 17: With more than 1,400 new cases, Indiana records more than 109,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 18: With 1,100 new cases, Indiana records more than 110,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 19: Indiana records more than 111,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 20: Indiana’s death toll rises to 3,300.
  • Sept. 21: Indiana records more than 112,000 positive coronavirus tests. The Indianapolis Colts home opener is limited to 2,500 fans.
  • Sept. 22: Indiana records more than 113,000 positive coronavirus tests.
  • Sept. 23: Indiana records more than 114,000 positive coronavirus tests. Gov. Eric Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 24: Indiana records more than 115,000 positive coronavirus tests. The state’s mask mandate is extended through Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 25: The Mid-American Conference announces it will start a six-game football season Nov. 4, with the championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
  • Sept. 26: Indiana advances to a revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan with relaxed limits on gatherings, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and more. Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties decided to have more restrictive limits, however.
  • Sept. 27: The Indianapolis Colts second home game will be limited to 7,500 fans.
  • Oct. 17: Indiana mask mandate set to expire.
  • Oct. 23: The Big Ten will begin football season.
  • Nov. 25: The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons will begin the day before Thanksgiving with no fans in the stands.