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EDITORIAL: Dear 2020: It's over

York Dispatch Editorial Board

Dear 2020,

It's over. 

We'd like to say it was us, but it was you. All you. 

The signs were there from the beginning. On Jan. 16, the Senate began the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. Remember that? It seems like another lifetime. After refusing to hear any evidence, the Senate voted to acquit Trump on Feb. 5.

Meanwhile, in China, a novel coronavirus had sickened more than 7,000 people in the city of Wuhan by Feb. 1 and killed nearly 250. On Feb. 2, the U.S. restricted travel from China. The U.S. confirmed its first death from COVID-19 on Feb. 6.

By the time the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, it was obvious that you, 2020, were going to be a year unlike any we had seen before. 

Stay-at-home orders. Arguments about which businesses were essential and which weren't. Canceled events, from the NCAA tournaments to the Olympics to proms and graduations and weddings and birthday parties.

Goodbyes said over Facetime as nurses swathed in protective gear held an iPad in a hospital room. Funerals conducted over Zoom with relatives across the country who couldn't travel. 

York City Events Coordinator Mary Yeaple and her volunteers prepare Voni Grimes Gym for the annual New Year's Eve Children's Countdown, Saturday, December 28, 2019. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

A stock market crash — way back in February, who remembers that? An instant recession that took away millions of jobs. Lines of cars at the York County Food Bank's new hub. States trying to outbid each other for personal protective equipment for hospital workers as it became obvious that the national stockpile wasn't being put to effective use.

And the arguing. The constant arguing. 

We knew there would be arguing. You were a presidential election year, after all. But we never dreamed the arguments would be so long, so loud, so ... unreasonable.

Yes, we remember that back in the very earliest coronavirus days, experts said wearing masks wouldn't help curb the spread of the illness. But then everyone learned more about it, and soon doctors were saying, no, wait, we were wrong, wear a mask. Wear a mask. WEAR A MASK!

No, it's not an infringement on your rights to say you have to wear a mask when you go into a store. It's not an infringement on your rights to close restaurants for indoor dining. It's not an infringement on your rights to ban large indoor gatherings during a pandemic.

Things were almost under control in the summer. There were days when York County saw only a handful of new COVID-19 cases. 

But then Minneapolis cops killed George Floyd, and the world watched the video. Black Lives Matter rallies across the country took the headlines as more deaths of Black people at the hands of law enforcement came to light. Unrest spread, there was destruction of property in cities, protesters and counterprotesters died. Police used tear gas to clear away peaceful demonstrators so Trump could walk across the street from the White House and hold a Bible up in front of a church with a scowl.

And then there was the election. The disinformation, the constant cries of unfairness, the exacting instructions for casting a ballot without standing in line at a polling place while the pandemic continue to rage out of control. The aftermath, the lawsuits filed with no basis in fact, elected officials (we're talking about you, Rep. Scott Perry) calling for the votes of their own constituents to be ignored, the president who still refuses to concede an election he has lost countless times.

A new year won't make everything stop, we realize. The pandemic is raging even more now, we still have three weeks before Joe Biden becomes president, Congress and the White House continue to fight about pandemic relief.

But 2020, it's over. We will remember you as we continue to wear masks and try to ease racial disparities and look ahead to a new president. But the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31 can't get here soon enough.