For any endeavor of this sort begun at this stage, the words more to follow are essential. This is a snapshot of our current situation that hopes to provoke further thought on what has happened and will likely happen.
It is a provocation to bring forth thinking and analysis not to assign blame. Some are not equipped for such a process and are advised to rant elsewhere.
But the time is upon us to analyze what the past few months have cost us and what benefits we as a nation received. Well-considered thoughts are welcomed in the comments in the hopes of advancing this dialogue.
Shut down much of the economy
Major medical procedures and doctor visits canceled (or postponed) in large numbers
Reward for not working
Suspension of Constitutional liberties
Fear expanded rapidly on a large scale
Incredible spending on COVID-19 expenses
Incredible spending on expenses not related to COVID-19 but tied to expenditure measures
Essential service workers exposed at higher risk
Leveraging of national emergency for political advantage
Further exploration of national liberties to be suspended beyond the authority of the government
Loss of major events of social importance (graduations, proms, baccalaureates)
Educational structure lost or required modification
We saw the worst of people (hoarding) and government (overstepping authority)
Kept contagion from exceeding national and regional hospital capacity
Saved many lives compared against predictive and stochastic models
Increased awareness and practice of hygiene measures
Contagion slowed (perhaps reduced) by social distancing
Many people had more family time
Creativity employed to continue education
We saw the best of people (generosity and helping) and of government (incredible logistics)
Many practices of 2020 are not sustainable
Fear has too much of a grip on people in this age
Hygiene and distancing practices must be devised that permit continuation of commerce, liberty, and the republic that retains the idea that power emanates from the people
A declared emergency of this magnitude must not become commonplace
Constitutional authority usurped by the government at any level is returned to the people in smaller measures and presented as a new normal. All must be on the lookout for subtle reductions in liberty
The press must return to its role as the watchdog of government, taking no sides on issues or personalities, reporting with integrity across the board
People must be able to trust the media again.
Distancing technology will likely become more commonplace
Balancing the role of government in promoting the general welfare and restricting the role of government to those powers granted it by the people (via the Constitution of the United States) must be a real dialogue in the year ahead.