The Strange Connection Between COVID-19 Lockdowns And UFO Sightings

The COVID-19 pandemic changed just about every aspect of our lives. Workers were no longer allowed to go into the office; instead, they worked from their living rooms. Students, likewise, stepped out of the cinderblock walls of their schools and started dialing into class from bed. People were asked to stay at home as much as possible and limit themselves to seeing just a few family members or friends in their free time.

As you can imagine, these changes led to some pretty large repercussions, including many that experts hadn't anticipated. On top of increases in rates of mental illness and interpersonal tensions (via the World Health Organization), there were environmental changes like coyotes strolling abandoned urban streets (via SFGATE). Plus, a whole new generation was born as COVID-19 incited a new baby boom (via CNN).

In other words, pretty much everything on the planet was affected. But what about things off the planet? You might think that, if nothing else, space and its inhabitants should have remained unchanged during COVID-19. But according to data from The New York Times, it actually appears that's not the case. UFO sightings saw significant surges in 2020 — even doubling in some regions.

How UFO sightings changed during lockdown

The differences in UFO sightings were pointed out by The New York Times. By pulling data from the National U.F.O. Reporting Center, they found that UFO sightings had doubled in New York City between 2019 and 2020. Looking at the whole country, the numbers were lower but still showed an increase in sightings by around 16%, CNET reports.

So does that mean the aliens have been growing more active while humans were stuck at home? Maybe they noticed the reduction in our carbon emissions and wanted to check out what was going on. While technically, we can't rule out the possibility entirely, that's probably not what's going on. For one, it's important to recognize that most UFOs can actually be identified as Earth objects, including drones, birds, and satellites, according to The New York Times. That means that they're not really things we should be concerned about — but it also means you might actually expect to see fewer UFOs during lockdown since there are fewer airplanes being flown that could be mistaken for alien spacecraft (via The Cut).

That means we have to dig deeper for an explanation as to what's going on.

Theories on why the pandemic caused more UFO sightings

It's hard to say for sure what could be causing the increase in UFO sightings. There are a couple different contributing factors that may be at play, per The Cut. For one, because many people migrated out of cities during the pandemic, they likely began living in places that had much clearer night skies, where they were able to see a host of new stars and wildlife (via The New York Times). For those not used to nature, it's easy to see how you could mistake a totally natural phenomenon for a UFO.

Other explanations include that people who aren't allowed to do their normal hobbies might pick up new pastimes, including stargazing, CNET points out. Of course, while they're spending all that time investigating the heavens, they're likely to see some things they've never spotted before. Plus, more people might be deliberately searching for UFOs. They've been in the news a lot lately, as the Pentagon revealed some videos of UFOs that were previously kept under lock and key. That means more sightings overall, mimicking a spike in alien visitations.