The events of 2020 aren’t going away anytime soon

Maddie Coyle, Opinion Editor

Over the past year, each month featured a life-altering event that changed the course of 2020. From the pandemic to the election, this past year has had many different events that have changed all of our lives. It has left many of us feeling drained and tired. Everything seemingly happens all at once, without a break or time for us to breathe. 2020 will go into the history books as a tumultuous year with many events, but as the year comes to a close, it is important to remember that the events from this year are not over.
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue onward into the future. It took the world by storm in March, and even though many of us hoped our world would be back to normal by the end of the year, that has clearly not been the case. With cases reaching an all-time high in this country, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue into the future. The most recent news of vaccines are with Moderna having a vaccine that is 94.5 percent effective and Pfizer having a vaccine that is 90 percent effective, according to The New York Times.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases , in an interview with CNBC, “[a]s we get into the fall [of 2021], we could be quite close to some degree of normality.” Therefore, even with hope of a vaccine coming out and being widely distributed in the near future, the likelihood of our world returning to normalcy before the end of the next year, is extremely slim.
Even with a vaccine, people will still have to quarantine and social distance. It could take a very long time for the vaccine to be distributed, especially when certain at-risk groups will be prioritized. Many people are also less likely to take a COVID -19 vaccine, and if enough people make that decision, the vaccine won’t have its intended impact. Even with an approved COVID-19 vaccine, the pandemic is far from over.
Even if our world does return to normal sometime in the near future, the economic and societal impact will be extreme. As of December 9, 2020, at least 288,000 have died due to COVID-19, according to The Washington Post. As of November 2020, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, with 3.9 million people being long-term unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has placed many people at risk, with roughly 40 million at risk of losing their homes, according to CNBC, and 179 million people having the possibility of losing their power or water, according to The Washington Post. The economy broadly and people across the country will face the impact of the pandemic for years, with the lives lost never truly being forgotten.
Due to the extreme financial and housing impacts that the virus has had and will continue to have on people, COVID-19’s impact is far from over. Tens of millions of people could be seen losing their homes at the end of the year. Over one hundred million people are at risk of losing power or water. 10.7 million people are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is all due to the pandemic, and almost all of these effects look to continue into the new year, making it blindly apparent that the pandemic and its effects are far from being heard, seen or taken into consideration in our communities and society.
2020 will continue to influence our future due to the Black Lives Matter movement. On Feb. 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was shot when three white men pursued Arbery as he was jogging in Georgia, according to The New York Times. On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was killed by a white police officer who entered her home, along with two other officers, when following a search warrant, according to BBC. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed after he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white police officer’s knee. The officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, this encounter was caught on camera and incited large protests across the country in over 150 American cities, according to The New York Times. These protests lasted for numerous weeks following the killing of George Floyd and will be remembered as one of the largest protest actions in American history. The impacts that these protests have had are numerous. The House of Representatives passed The George Floyd Justice in Police Act of 2020, according to Vox. Mississippi is changing their state flag, which resembles the flag used by the Confederacy, according to CNN. More and more people are beginning to engage with social justice reform. Yet, despite the cry for racial justice and the policy changes that occurred in its wake, these events are still a reality, with the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of a white police officer, paralyzing him on Aug. 23, 2020, according to The New York Times.
The events of the Black Lives Matter protests have revolutionized our nation. They have brought more people to the center of policy action and cultural movements in an effort to incite meaningful change in our society. And while steps were made, there is still so much more work that needs to be done. That is why this key 2020 event isn’t over because the movement is still happening. This fight will continue long past 2020 and it is important to recognize that standing up once is not the answer to changing the entire system. More work and change must be done if we want to see the impacts that we initially fought for, showing the prevalence this movement will and needs to have past 2020.
Lastly, the outcome of the recent election is another significant change we have yet to face. We saw unprecedented levels of recent voter turnout. The presidential election will go down in history as one of the most impactful elections of the modern era. We will see its continuation with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being sworn in as president and vice president on January 20. Yet, we will also see a continuation in the 2020 election with the Senate races. The two open Senate seats in Georgia went into a run-off as none of the candidates won over 50 percent of the state’s vote. Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffer will receive challenges from Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock respectfully, according to CNBC. The runoff elections will take place on Jan. 5, 2021, furthering how the events of 2020 will carry on into the next year.
COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter protests, and the election are not the only events of 2020 that will impact and continue in the years to come. There is still so much more that has happened in the past year that is seemingly going to continue in 2021 and beyond, including the California wildfires, climate worries, and overall social unrest. 2020 has seemed to be overwhelmingly considered one of the worst years, but even as the days of 2020 start ticking down, its events will continue. This not only continues to make 2020 more and more impactful, but works as a reminder to everyone that in order to fix the mess that 2020 made, we need to be able to put in the work. Because, unfortunately, the world is not going to magically get better once the clock strikes 12 on December 31.