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.
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:
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