UFO sightings skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statistics. Reporting has nearly doubled since before 2020, a clear sign that quarantine has people looking to the sky.
Last year, a massive spike in UFO reporting had ufologists curious. In January, there were 870 total reports in the United States, and in March that number soared past 1300. Then, in April, the number reached beyond the clouds, with over 1600 total reports.
Ufologists concluded that it wasn’t an increase in the number of invaders, but rather a single invader, the coronavirus, that had more people scanning the skies. With more time to look up, people began observing phenomena that they believed were UFOs- truly unidentifiable objects flying in the sky.
2020 saw massive numbers in UFO reporting, but then something stranger happened. By 2021, that number only continued to fly. According to the New York Times, New York sightings have doubled as of late, making it the second top city in the United States for total UFO reporting.
The rapid increase in sightings has many turning to the UFO community to make sense of their new observations. Virginia Stringfellow, who runs a locals-only UFO meet-up, has had to turn people away since so many people have started to come in search of answers.
Still, the trend is not indicative of more visitors from distant planets, by rather a likely symptom of the coronavirus keeping more people home from work. Many have even taken to camping away from the city, where the light pollution allows them to see the sky in clearer detail.
Another potential reason for the increase in reporting could be that the Pentagon is getting ready to release a report that follows from the UFOs observed over military bases. With more mainstream, news outlets covering UFO-related stories, more people are comfortable expressing their discoveries.
Previously, speaking about UFOs could be deemed crazy. That fact alone keeps many people from reporting their sightings. Even Navy pilot LT. Ryan Graves was afraid to testify in front of Congress, and many of his peers backed out despite sharing his experience.
Now, government officials like John Ratcliffe and Senator Marco Rubio have embraced UFO reporting, indicating that the government is on board with discovering the truth.
Peter Davenport, the director of the UFO Reporting Center says that “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”.
As for the increase in civilian reporting, Mr. Davenport has pointed out that it does not mean a spike in spaceships. Instead, many of the sightings are identified under stringent investigations done by the UFO reporting center. A vast majority are determined to be birds, bats, satellites, planes, and drones.
Many incidents are related to a single event, such as when SpaceX launched its Starlink Satellites.
Skilled UFO investigators are “the most skeptical people around,” according to Mr. Davenport. This is especially true for the UFO Reporting Center, which only classifies a small fraction of sightings reported to them as truly unidentifiable. That measure hasn’t changed despite increased sightings.
Despite their name and job details, ufologists are often sensitive to the topic of increases in UFO sightings. Many of them warn that the bumps in reports occur regularly, and are a popular subject covered by news reports. That extended coverage might itself be a driving factor in more UFO sightings.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the influx of UFO sightings and reporting, though, is that the COVID-19 has got people thinking about distant worlds- worlds far away from quarantines and deadly viruses.