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Published on January 12, 2021

 

Year in review: 2020 presented major challenges for us

By Stephanie Johnson / The Bulletin

It was a year with major ups and downs. COVID-19 dominated 2020, but there were other things that made it stand out in a good way - well, mostly a bad way.

One of the earliest disasters was the brush fires. The year started off bad with the Australian Brush Fires and 47 million acres of land burned down and animals displaced. Little did we know what else was in store for the world in 2020.

The helicopter crashed. I was having brunch when I received a notification from TMZ breaking the news about Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and others dying in a helicopter crash. No one thought it was real, so we all waited for other news sources to break it, and then it became reality. A basketball legend had passed away.

Then, the big one: A new deadly virus already in China was detected in the United States. In a matter of months, the virus spread across the globe, resulting in at least 1.8 million deaths, and counting.

We were asked to quarantine, and stay-at-home orders were issued. None of us had ever been through this before. It was all new, and no one knew much about the virus. Some people didn’t believe and still don’t believe the virus is real.

We stayed at home and worked from home. Zoom was the new thing, and so was shopping online. Thousands lost their jobs and had to adapt fast. Online ordering and curbside pick-up for groceries became the new normal for many. Toilet paper was difficult, if not impossible, to find. Good luck finding cleaning supplies and paper towels. Even diapers and baby wipes were gone. Panic shoppers were in full force; store shelves were often bare. Businesses had to adapt even faster. The stock market tumbled, then came back strong, finishing the year at a record high.

Mask orders were put into place. Some people refused to wear one. I even found myself in the beginning weirded out by it. But if it helped to get rid of this thing, I was all for it.

Many spent time outdoors walking, riding, playing for the first time in a long time. Bikes were out of stock much of the year. Computer accessories and other work-from-home necessities also sold out.

People canceled or rescheduled their weddings; funerals were postponed; baby showers were now drive-through parties, or attendance was limited in some states and counties to the number of people you could count on two hands.

Nursing home residents weren’t allowed to have visitors; hospital patients weren’t allowed to have visitors; many had no contact with families or were visited from outside their windows. For a while, concerts and special events were something to look forward to in the future. Little did we know rescheduling events to later in the year wouldn’t do much good since many were eventually canceled anyway.

The Earth became cleaner. On the positive side, the environment benefited. Smog over cities was drastically reduced; many could breathe easier as the air became noticeably cleaner and fresher. Fish could be seen swimming in the Venice canals. Then, as society returned to its normal ways, even though the virus was still rampant, the world returned to its earlier state.

We tried to go back to normal. As places reopened, and everyone wore masks, things seemed like they were getting back to normal for the most part. But, at the end of the day, people were still dying, and the virus wasn’t going anywhere.

Then the protests began - some were peaceful, some were violent. And the virus raged on.

The hurricanes began, a record number of them. In total, the 2020 season produced 30 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 13 became hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or greater), including six major hurricanes (top winds of 111 mph or greater). This is the most storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.

The fires started. The West Coast wildfires displaced more people from their homes. Combined, more than five million acres burned in California, Oregon and Washington. Thousands of buildings and homes were destroyed by some of the largest fires ever recorded. More than two dozen people died. Millions of people up and down the coast spent weeks living under thick clouds of smoke and ash.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. She was an unrelenting trailblazer for gender equality. She died Sept. 18 at the age of 87. She was known as the “Champion for gender” and was honored as a role model for girls and women.

The voting began. The early vote in 2020 far surpassed the early vote in 2016. The early voting surge in 2020 included about 65 percent of the voting-eligible population. When the election was over, about 156 million Americans had voted.

Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States. It was one of the most contentious elections in our country’s history.
One hundred years after American women won the right to vote — a right mostly limited to white women at first — Kamala Harris became the first woman and the first Black and Asian American to be elected vice president of the United States.

Then the vaccines were made, delivered and vaccinating those most at risk began. The development of two vaccines in less than a year was touted as one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in U.S. history. And, more vaccines are on the way.

A child was born. In the midst of this convoluted year, I gave birth to my son. The year had major ups and downs. For us, the miracle of birth was its brightest star.

Happy New Year, and may you all prosper and stay healthy in 2021!

(You can reach Stephanie at stephanie.bulletin@gmail.com. Or by writing to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)