The year 2020 brought with it an unexpected health crisis – coronavirus pandemic, that brought the world to a standstill and claimed more than 1.5 million lives. The virus infected more than 70 million people across the globe, with more than 1.40 lakh people losing their lives in India alone.
However, the world is one big place, and there were more moments beyond the pandemic that defined the year. As 2020 draws to a close, we look at 10 people that inspired lives this year.
1. Heathworkers who fought Covid-19
The coronavirus phenomenon came to the public knowledge for the first time in the month of February. In March, it was declared as a “pandemic” by the World Health Organisation, prompting many countries to go into complete lockdown. The virus that forced businesses and education to a complete closure, was unable to deter the spirit of millions of healthworkers across the world.
As per a study done by International Journal Of Infectious Diseases, more than 3 Lakh heathworkers got infected, while 2,500 died while fighting the virus only till August. There were reports that saw doctors and nurses in India spending nights inside their vehicles to assure that the virus doesn’t spread further. Clearly, the “god in the white dress” – as many social media users termed them – were the real heroes of 2020.
2. Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern was one person who made global headlines throughout the year. The two main reasons were – 1. Her successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 2. Her thumping victory in New Zealand’s general election.
In a hectic first term, Ardern has faced New Zealand’s worst terror attack, a deadly volcanic eruption, the country’s deepest recession in more than 30 years, and the shared global threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Along the way, she also had a baby and became the international standard-bearer for progressive politics in an era of right-wing populist strongmen.
4. Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris made history with her election as Joe Biden’s vice president, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to win the second-highest US office.
Ms Harris, 56, is widely seen as an obvious candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in 2024 should Mr Biden, who will be 78 at their inauguration on January 20, decide not to seek a second term.
5. Joe Biden
Joe Biden, the Opposition candidate to win the highest office in the United States, was clearly among the people that were hailed as heroes in 2020. The Democratic ticket ousted an incumbent president for just the 10th time in US history.
Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by 306 electoral college votes to Trump’s 232 to end the real estate tycoon-turned-politician’s presidency after one term.
Mr Biden received roughly seven million more votes than his Republican adversary, who claimed widespread fraud of which there is no evidence.
Biden, along with his deputy Kamala Harris, was chosen as the Time magnzine’s person of the year.
6. Bilkis (Daadi of Shaheen Badh)
Bilkis Bano, an octogenarian who became the face of the months-long anti-citizenship law protest in the capital’s Shaheen Bagh locality, is one of the many personalities that inspired people across the globe.
At the peak of the Shaheen Bah protest last year, Ms Bano was recognised by Time magazine one of the 100 most influential people of 2020, alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bollywood actor Ayushman Khurrana.
7. Sonu Sood
Sonu Sood, a popular Bollywood actor, catapulted to the national spotlight for his work in helping migrants reach their homes during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown earlier this year.
Mr Sood began by helping stranded migrant labourers return to their native places by arranging safe travel for them at his own expense in the moth of April. Later, he took up the initiative of arranging livelihood for those who lost their lives during the pandemic.
The actor has recently would be providing e-rickshaws to the underprivileged who lost their source of livelihood during the coronavirus pandemic.
8. 20 soldiers who laid down their lives in Galwan
Twenty Indian soldiers laid down their lives in a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh in the month of June.
The unarmed conflict was touted as th emost serious escalation between the two countries along the border in five decades.
The nation will forever be indebted to the sacrifice made by the 20 men – Col B Santosh Babu (Hyderabad), Nb Sub Nuduram Soren (Mayurbhanj), Nb Sub Mandip Singh (Patiala),
Nb Sub Satnam Singh (Gurdaspur), Hav K Palani (Madurai), Hav Sunil Kumar (Patna)
Hav Bipul Roy (Meerut), Nk Deepak Kumar (Rewa), Sep Rajesh Orang (Birbhum), Sep Kundan Kumar Ojha (Sahibganj), Sep Ganesh Ram (Kanker), Sep Chandrakanta Pradhan (Kandhamal)
Sep Ankush (Hamirpur), Sep Gurbinder (Sangrur), Sep Gurtej Singh (Mansa), Sep Chandan Kumar (Bhojpur), Sep Kundan Kumar (Saharsa), Sep Aman Kumar (Samstipur), Sep Jai Kishore Singh (Vaishali), Sep Ganesh Hansda (East Singhbhum).
9. Adar Poonawalla
Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, was one of the first to announce his companies’ initiative to work on a vaccine for the coronavirus infection.
Mr Poonawalla announced putting up USD 250 million of his family fortune into ramping up his institute’s manufacturing capacity.
He was among the six people named “Asians of the Year” by Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times for their work in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for making the COVID-19 vaccine, ‘Covidshield’, and is conducting trials in India.
9. Lewis Hamilton
Michael Schumacher was a name that came to everyone’s lips when it came to the ‘GOAT’ debate in F1. And while Schumacher will still win the popularity contest, there is little doubt that in terms of ability, Hamilton is on par with the German great.
The year 2020 not only witnessed Hamilton equal a Schumacher record that many thought would never even be touched, but the Briton also managed to break one of the German’s long-held record.
Anthony Fauci, one of the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases, made headlines for his views contrary to US President Donald Trump approach during the coronavirus pandemic. During the early stages of the pandemic, The New Yorker and The New York Times described Fauci as one of the most trusted medical figures in the United States.
Later, US President-elect Joe Biden announced Fauci to remain in his post and join his Covid-19 team after he takes office.