“Sightings of unidentified objects in 2020 nearly doubled in New York from the previous year, to about 300, according to data compiled by the National UFO Reporting Center. They also rose by about 1,000 nationwide, to more than 7,200 sightings. But according to ufologists (pronounced ‘yoof-ologists’), as those who study the phenomena call themselves, the trend is not necessarily the result of an alien invasion. Rather, it was likely caused in part by another invader: the coronavirus. Pushed to stay home by lockdown restrictions, many found themselves with more time to look up. In New York, droves of urbanites fleeing the virus took up residence in places like the Catskills and the Adirondacks, where skies are largely free from light pollution. About a quarter of the reports nationally came in March and April of last year, when lockdowns were at their most strict. Glimmers wobbling across the sky have gone viral on TikTok, racking up millions of views.”
“Longtime UFO enthusiasts say the pandemic clearly has more people scanning the night skies. But there is another reason that the public might be newly receptive to the idea that the flicker on the horizon is worth reporting: The Pentagon revealed over the summer that it would soon convene a new task force to investigate so-called ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ observed from military aircraft. Last year, it declassified three videos of such sightings. In addition, the $2.3 trillion appropriations package signed by former President Donald J. Trump late last year includes a provision that the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence collaborate on a U.F.O. report and release it to the public. ‘It’s encouraging to many of us in the field of ufology that the government is willing to confirm that they are aware of these circumstances, that they are conceding that people are reporting these events,’ said Peter Davenport, the director of the U.F.O. reporting center, known as NUFORC. Previously, he said, the government appeared to have believed ‘that people like me are just crazy – and we’re not'” – New York Times.