There’s no dancing around the fact that 2020 has been a massive dumpster fire of a year.

(I have a more fitting description for what this year has been, but I doubt my editors will let me publish that word. Hint: It involves fecal matter and a type of natural disaster.)

A large share of the agony and heartache in 2020 can be blamed on the unprecedented global pandemic that has infected more than 82.3 million and killed more than 1.8 million people worldwide thus far. Some 21,100 of those cases and 285 deaths belong to Hawaii.

Aside from the coronavirus and its direct or indirect impacts, though, it’s been a crazy news year in general, filled with tragedies, injustices, politics, corruption and more — here in the islands and elsewhere.

In Hawaii, 2020 began with an incident near Diamond Head that killed two Honolulu police officers and the suspect, and resulted in an inferno that destroyed and damaged dozens of homes.

Around that time, concerns over the coronavirus and its spread began dominating headlines. Civil Beat’s Eleni Gill first wrote about the coronavirus on Jan. 22 and how Hawaii health officials were advising residents to limit travel to China.

The pandemic wreaked havoc not only on the state’s public health but its economic health too, with more than 80,000 people filing for unemployment in the first month. Federal relief came, but the state was slow to spend it.

Medical staff from Premier Medical Group Hawaii screen patients in the Kakaako Waterfront Park parking lot. August 9, 2020
The coronavirus and its impacts have dominated headlines everywhere in 2020. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

This was also a historic election year. Hawaii voters returned a record number of ballots, aided by the state’s transition to all mail-in voting. While President-elect Joe Biden easily won the Democratic state, data showed President Donald Trump had a sizable showing as well.

One of the issues that was on voters’ minds was policing, as earlier in the year communities throughout the U.S., including in Hawaii, saw protests against police violence and discrimination against people of color, especially Black people.

This year saw at least one chapter of Honolulu’s widespread police corruption scandal come to a close when former chief, Louis Kealoha, and his former deputy city prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha, were finally sentenced in their federal criminal cases in November, along with two police officers who helped them.

Now, as the year comes to an end, Hawaii has already begun vaccinating some of its most vulnerable people along with frontline health care and essential workers, with more doses to come. Next year could look different from the mess that the past year has been.

Well, aloha means hello and goodbye. So, aloha, 2020, and aloha, 2021.

Without further ado, here’s a look back at the past year in numbers, Harper’s Index-style:

COVID-19 And The Havoc It Wreaked

Elections, Government and Politics

Crime, Public Safety and Environment

  • Years in federal prison Katherine Kealoha was given for her conspiracy, bank fraud, identity theft and drug trafficking convictions: 13
  • Years her husband and co-conspirator, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, got for his role: 7
  • Amount in retirement money Louis Kealoha has been ordered to pay back to the city: $250,000
  • Annual salary of Keith Kaneshiro, the outgoing Honolulu Prosecutor who went on paid leave and remained on it upon receiving a target letter in the federal corruption probe: $176,688
  • Amount of money the Honolulu Police Department tried to claim in federal CARES funding for overtime between March and September: $16.5 million
  • Number of COVID-19-related violations a single homeless man had been given by HPD officers between March and November: 199
  • Percent increase in enforcement of vagrancy and homelessness-related statutes during the pandemic by HPD: 47%
  • Dollar amount of federals CARES Act money HPD spent on buying ATVs and UTVs for patrolling beaches and parks: $546,806
  • HPD’s crime-solving rate, as reported by Civil Beat in 2020: 25.7%
  • Number of countries excluding the U.S. invited to RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise that happens off the coast of Hawaii: 25
  • Number of countries that ended up coming, because of COVID-19: 9
  • Number of containers that fell off a Japanese-flagged ship, including some with “dangerous goods,” during rough weather off the coast of Hawaii in November: 1,816
  • Distance in miles when Hurricane Douglas was closest to Hawaii (Kauai) this summer: 39
  • Estimated damage in dollars caused by sea level rise in Hawaii in the next 80 years: $19 billion

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