After a whirlwind of a year, the choice for TIME’s person of the year 2020 was most certainly the toughest one yet. However, among this year’s hordes of influential people, there was one tearaway candidate who caught us all unawares. They consistently impressed with their never-quitting attitude, along with the countless lives that they so effortlessly transformed. It is therefore with great pleasure that we can pronounce COVID-19 as TIME’s person of the year 2020.
Having only come onto the global scene a year ago, it’s safe to say that newcomer COVID-19 was greatly underestimated – some might even say misunderstood. Their popularity and recognition became almost infectious as they made headlines across the world within weeks of their first foray into humanity. And the values behind such a success story? Persistence, resilience and ambition.
CoV-19 quickly began to realise these values; their ambition in particular was clear from day one. In the span of mere months, COVID made themselves a household name across the world and had begun changing lives. Unlike most changes, however, the changes brought by COVID were not fleeting. This is certainly one of the reasons why COVID’s work is of such an impressive calibre; they make long-lasting impressions while bringing significant change. While their success is obvious, COVID did not easily garner support, with many criticising and desperately attempting to inhibit their accomplishments. Despite the haters, COVID persevered through it all, managing to come back stronger every time they were at their lowest. Without such resilience, their year-long reign would simply not have been possible. According to COVID, another of their goals was to make people appreciate simple things that they’d previously taken for granted. A worthy mission, I’m sure you’d agree.
The global lockdown that brought the world to a standstill really has showcased the altruistic intentions of COVID-19; never before have people been able to spend so much quality time with family, not to mention the time off work. What’s more, online learning allows for snacking and napping during the dullest of lectures and proves a great timesaver. Life has certainly become easier under COVID, and arguably somewhat cleaner. An advocate for hygiene standards, COVID-19 has promoted the use of masks, hand sanitiser and soap, with males now (unbelievably) washing their hands more than once a day. COVID really is making history, achieving feats that no other has done before them.
One incredible aspect of COVID’s story is the humility. Not once did they hog the limelight and take all the glory, but rather showcased (and exposed) others. Without COVID, the world would not have recognised the incredible efforts of world figures by the likes of Tsai Ingwen and Jacinda Ardern, nor would it have been as aware of the utter ineptitude of others. COVID selflessly spent prolonged periods of time with many world figures, particularly Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, and has subsequently become deeply rooted within their respective countries. Continuing to expose the flaws and corruption in these leaderships, COVID-19’s selflessness becomes more and more evident as they sort the weaker from the weak.
Once a misunderstood newcomer, COVID has now certainly proved their worth. Sadly, however, it seems that their work is done, and that they won’t be with us much longer. In their absence, we can appreciate their persistence and continue the legacy they’re leaving behind. COVID, you’ll be sorely missed. Go and enjoy a well-deserved day off. Or year off. Or just never come back. You deserve it.
Featured image: Jernej Furman on Flickr.