The Worst of 2020

Kalista Martin and Linnea DeVange

A new year is always a fun time as people make new year resolutions and plans with new and old people; however a new decade is even more special than any old year. The excitement of what new things can come with this decade was massive and the nostalgia that came back for all the kids was even a movement. The decade was supposed to be a new start for everyone.

However, almost two months into 2020, the decade has seemed to bring more bad than good. The Rising Tide has composed a list of 5 of this year’s tragic events, showing that 100 years after America’s “Golden Age”, we may be amidst the worst decade yet.


1. Australian Bushfires
You’ve probably seen your fair share of burnt koalas and kangaroos online recently. Fires in New South Wales led the government to declare a state of emergency in November 2019. Since then, fires have rapidly spread across all states, becoming some of the most devastating on record. Roughly 25.5 million acres have burned approximately the size of South Korea. About 3,000 homes have burned, at least 33 people are dead, and even more missing. Many people have evacuated as conditions worsen. On January 1, Canberra recorded the worst pollution it’s ever seen, with an air quality index 23 times higher than what’s considered “hazardous”. More than 1 billion animals likely lost their lives in the fires, according to University of Sydney. 25,000 koalas are feared to be dead on Kangaroo island. 8,000 more koalas perished in New South Wales, a third of all koalas in the state, taking about 30 percent of their habitat with them. These fires may have a detrimental impact on the unique Australian ecosystem.


2. Coronavirus Outbreak
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the coronavirus in one form or another, whether from your new source or your meme source. Here’s what The Rising Tide knows about the coronavirus so far:

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect many species of animals. Several types of coronaviruses can infect people and mostly cause cold-like symptoms. However, these symptoms can at times progress to lower respiratory tract illness, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. The latest coronavirus outbreak is a virus we haven’t seen before, so that’s a big part of the problem. Scientists believe it spread from an animal source in Wuhan and is now spreading person to person in China and other countries. As of February 20, the global death toll from coronavirus is 2,244 according to CNN.

All this sounds terrifying, but there isn’t much to fear as an individual in the US. As of February 14, only 34 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US according to an announcement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


3. Shootings
Shootings are not as uncommon as we’d hope, but only two months into 2020 there have been nearly 50 shootings in the US alone, including a fairly local one in Seattle. A few of the locations include an Orange County club (Florida), a southwest Houston apartment (Texas), an Indiana subway, and there was even a mass shooting in Germany as recently as February 19. 41 Americans have died this year at the hands of mass shootings – nearly a death for every day of 2020.


4. Puerto Rico Earthquake
You might not have heard about the Puerto Rico earthquake but a magnitude 5.2 earthquake rattled Puerto Rico on February 19, quakes continue to hit the island on a daily basis and as of February 21 the earthquake magnitude is at 3.9. More than 1,280 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico’s southern region since Dec. 28, more than two dozen of them magnitude 4.5 or greater. Seismologists in the area are working to find out why there has been a constant earthquakes that have hit the area.


5. Ukrainian Boeing 737 Plane Crash in Iran
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Tehran to Kiev operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA). On 8 January 2020, the Boeing 737-800 operating the route was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport. All 176 passengers and crew were killed.

The airplane was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which attributed it to human error, with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani describing the accident as an “unforgivable mistake.” Iranian aviation authorities initially denied the airplane was hit by a missile and said a technical error was responsible, while Ukrainian authorities, after initially deferring to Iran’s explanation, said a shoot-down of the flight was one of their main working theories. Investigation by Western intelligence agencies and the general public had revealed the aircraft had been shot down by a Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile launched by Iran, then three days later, on 11 January, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said they had shot down the aircraft after mistaking it for a cruise missile; they fired two surface-to-air missiles at the aircraft.

Remnants of Ukrainian Boeing flight 737 after the crash. Emergency workers and volunteers search the crash zone for survivors and any evidence of the source of the crash.

6. Death of notable people 
This year we have already lost many notable people too soon. Right before 2020 started we lost Juice World in December of 2019 and the rap world mourned. Little did we know that more deaths of those we idolized would come in the next month. People like basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter, rapper Pop Smoke, and American Horror Story actor Harry Hains. In 2019 we lost multiple other famous people like Nipsey Hussle and Cameron Boyce, but the deaths were scattered and people had the chance to mourn those that passed away; however in 2020 they seem so cluttered that there is little time to mourn them all or even remember all those that have been lost. In the first 2 months of 2020 about 30 very famous people have died, not to mention the thousands that have passed by shootings, natural disasters, and the horrors of life.

The late Kobe Bryant (41) with Daughter, Gigi Bryant (13) watching a NBA game. Bryant was seen discussing basketball skills with his daughter as they worked on her skills.

Though 2020 might not be the best year, or even the start of the decade, we must stay hopeful. It is important to acknowledge the lives lost this year but it’s also critical that we stay optimistic looking forward. We must learn to appreciate what we have and work to prevent similar tragedies from occurring. If we’ve learned anything from 2020 so far it’s that life is fragile… We must come together to turn this decade around.