The ironic predictability of the year 2020

While we still have 40 days left in this incredibly weird year, the two subjects that dominated, and continue to dominate our lives, are the coronavirus and, at least in the US, the presidential election. Both of these are “black swan” events. There hasn’t been a pandemic as widespread as this one in a century. And while there have been disputed election results, we’ve never seen a president simply refuse to accept a defeat and attempt a coup (with the virus as a significant back drop).

The coronavirus caused a worldwide pandemic that disrupted life around the world, killed or maimed countless people, shut down entire industries, etc. No one could have predicted this, even a year ago. However, way back in February and March, once it became clear that the virus was as communicable and virulent as we all feared, the path of this virus has been incredibly predictable. Immediately, there were epidemiologists on tv and online that basically told us that there would be numerous waves, social fatigue with groups of people unwilling to continue with preventative measures, the inability to get back to normal without a vaccine; all predicted. It was even pointed out that the deadliness of the virus would fall over time as the weaker strains would overtake the deadlier ones, and that, without a vaccine, it would potentially become endemic.

Similarly, well before election season, there were numerous articles and editorials that outlined nightmarish scenarios if the president were to lose the election. These predictions were driven by combining the president’s own words with his psychological profile. While there were a variety of ultimate outcomes offered, they all accepted the premise that this president would refuse to admit defeat.

To me, it’s amazing that we’re living through such unprecedented events, and yet that their progress has been so predictable. Anyone else?

Are you saying that anyone could have predicted this with the aid of 20/20 hindsight? :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe a better way to frame is that with both of these events, everything that was expected to happen actually happened. For such rare events, there were no surprises of significance.

I wouldn’t say these events were expected so much as feared.
We’ve seen a lot of worst cases happen in 2020.

With the coronavirus, there was a period in which it was under control in China and there were just a couple of countries with known increasing community spread. In an alternate universe, it could have fizzled out.

With Trump, I always expected the worst to be honest, but it could have played out like one of his court cases where he wouldn’t accept defeat but he would just piss off to the golf course.
Actually, it seems like this almost happened in the days following the election, but Rudy and Jnr seemed to have egged him on to continue the fight against logic and decency.

“The current timeline” so to speak isn’t even remotely the worst case Trump scenario so many people were predicting.

Even looking at month old SMDB politics threads people were legitimately predicting massive riots on election day, mass shootings, tanks in the streets. Even the “professional” worst case scenario predictors assumed there would be nationwide rioting no matter who won the day after election (which is why all those stores in major cities boarded up in advance).