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Hey, coulda been worse, right? In 1918, the year Joe Biden won his letterman’s sweater in leather-helmet football, the number of deaths in America was up 46 percent over the previous year thanks to the pandemic and the Great War. This year: only 15 percent. Huzzah! If you have the urge to punch 2020 in the nads, be aware that in 1349, a third of the population of Europe died.
2020 was a mild setback compared to 536 (“the worst year to be alive,” mainly because Amazon Prime deliveries took like six months because of a glitch in mastodon operations) and 1816, when volcanic ash from an eruption coated the atmosphere and nothing would grow in the “year without a summer,” causing mass starvation. There hasn’t been a gnaw-on-your-dead-grandpa year since, though maybe we’ll have one a couple of years from now, when Bill Gates wants to pull the cool-the-atmosphere-with-ash trick again, this time intentionally. Hey, go for it, experts! Sure, Bill is an expert in writing intermittently functional software, not in climate engineering, but why should that stop him from appointing himself to smother out the sun?
Come to think of it, maybe it’s experts, not 2020, that should be absorbing a baseball bat to their collective crotch. Thanks to experts, leaders and authorities, 2020 was the Year of Wrong. Every day, the high and mighty calmly assured us that “facts” and “science” and “data” were telling us stuff that was completely, horrifically, catastrophically wrong.
When the Wuhan Flu broke out of whatever Chinese bat-brunch spot it came from, authorities told us it was no big deal. Donald Trump’s wrongness, as usual, got the most attention: “We have it totally under control. . . . It’s going to be just fine,” he said on Jan. 21. Trump had lots of company in being wrong: “Get on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus,” Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers on March 2, the day after the first confirmed case hit town.
“In this situation, the facts defeat fear because the reality is reassuring,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, also on March 2. “We should relax because that’s what is dictated by the reality of the situation.” Cuomo added this was “not our first rodeo.”
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