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2020: an Unprecedented Year of Asterisks

2020 will be one for the record books!

by Eric Holdeman / April 14, 2020

100 years from now, people will be looking at charts, graphs and data and wondering, "What was that blip?"

You can read my thoughts below:

2020: an Unprecedented Year of Asterisks

The year of our Lord 2020 will be one for the record books and we are now only 25% into the new year. The word of the year will be “unprecedented” in so many aspects.

When every discipline and academic endeavor, business, economy, employment, sports, nonprofits and religious organizations look back on 2020, the statistics and graphs that represent the data will be “off the chart” and with an asterisk for the year 2020. Down at the bottom of the page there will be a note that says, “2020 was a year dominated by a worldwide coronavirus pandemic.”

Who were the teams in the Final Four* college basketball championship? That year is blank. How is it possible that we have the Summer Olympics* happening in an odd-numbered year, 2021? There are supposed to be 162 professional baseball games played by each team in one season. Why are there only 112* played in 2020?

Since 2010, there was a long, slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2019, the stock market was at an all-time high, extending into early 2020 and then it fell off a cliff.* Unemployment was at record lows, down to 3%, a number unheard of in our history, and then it shot up 15 million* in a matter of less than a month?

The federal budget swelled during the Trump presidency with lower tax rates and increases in spending. Then, all of a sudden, the federal budget of $4 Trillion increased* by more than 50 percent just in March of 2020.

Life expectancy trended down slightly when the United States was impacted by massive opioid addiction and deaths. Then it leveled off in 2018, and then there was another dip* in 2020. What caused this drop in life expectancy?

There were a record number of restaurants operating in 2019 and American families were dining in or ordering take-out in record numbers. In 2020, restaurant income and the number of restaurants dropped precipitously* at the same time there was a huge surge in grocery shopping* and the consumption of toilet paper* was out of sight.

Hospitals across the nation had a record number of expenditures for consumable supplies* while at the same time, visits to emergency rooms dropped* and intensive care beds shot-up* to unprecedented highs. Meanwhile, hospital income dropped* precipitously, along with the number of elective procedures.

In the future, there will be a review of all literature, and spoken words performed by a super computer for the year 2020. It will find that a new word "coronavirus" and the abbreviation of "COVID-19"* came out of nowhere to dominate most news stories. Associated with these new terms the other word found in abundance throughout every aspect of 2020 was “unprecedented.” It was used multiple times in single stories about all manner of topics across the societal spectrum.

We certainly are in unprecedented times with new records and historical annotations being made every day as we move together through this pandemic. While the future is not clear, 2020 could also be a record year for the number of divorce filings or relationship splits, as couples discover they are better off being apart from one another. On the flip side, I can confidently forecast this, a record number of babies being born* in December 2020. It happens every disaster when people are forced to spend more time with one another.


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