Everyone can agree that 2020 has been a brutal year. For many months now, we’ve had little reason for optimism. Bad news followed more bad news and we’ve felt helpless, frightened, and out of control. But thanks to science, it now looks like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
It was almost impossible to be hopeful in 2020 with people losing loved ones, businesses being shuttered, and images everywhere of massive line-ups for donations of food. And just as tragic, in 2020, loneliness and isolation became the “new normal.”
Fortunately, the scientists working so hard on developing a vaccine to Covid-19 have prevailed in record time and the roll-out has begun. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we have our first glimpse of better days ahead.
1. Two vaccines against Covid-19 are approved and being deployed right now while two more are coming soon. High-risk populations will be protected and the death rate will drop. The hospitals will begin to empty out and beds will become available for all the other patients who need care. Enormous pressure will be lifted from our health-care systems and from our exhausted, heroic health care workers.
2. With a return to normalcy brought about by mass immunization, people’s mental health will begin to improve. The rate of addictions – which has been frighteningly high recently – will likely decrease. The overall level of stress will go down, and many of us will feel both joy and relief after coming through such a dark time.
3. Science is once again at the forefront in the US, and trust in science will give everyone more confidence that solutions to the difficult problems facing us are indeed, available. Scientific research will offer us a greater sense of security and optimism after a time in which we’ve all felt so adrift. In fact, the work done on the Covid-19 vaccine has been leading to innovations in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
4. With more of the population being immunized and a lessening need for lockdowns, businesses can start to re-open and the economy can start to recover. Children can get back to in-person schooling and people everywhere can get back to work, provide for themselves and their families again, and contribute to the greater good of society.
5. After so many months of being isolated at home and crossing the street when someone else is approaching, we can finally start coming together with family, friends and colleagues. We can pass our neighbors in the street without fear; we can go back to hugging one-other, to holding hands, to giving friendly handshakes. We’ll all start feeling a lot less lonely when once again we can offer each other face-to-face comfort, warmth and support.
Of course, the numbers are still high everywhere and here in Ontario we’ve just moved into a province-wide lockdown in another attempt to flatten the curve. It’s a very concerning time with more people than ever getting sick and dying of Covid. Close friends of mine all tested positive for the virus last week when one of their children contracted it at school. Fortunately, everyone is doing okay, but it was scary few days for all of us.
Not everyone has been so lucky and each day, the province announces the death toll from Covid-19. These are people’s parents, grand-parents, siblings, friends and children. Each one of them was valuable; each one was loved; each one was living a meaningful life cut short by this deadly disease.
We have a lot to be hopeful about but only if we stay safe and stay smart. We can’t let our guard down; we can’t become lax in the home stretch. It won’t be long until better days are here, but in the meantime, we need to follow the public health guidelines so that we all can celebrate when the good times finally arrive.
I’m looking forward to 2021, but I’m not forgetting what’s happening around me right now. Call me hopeful but careful; call me cautiously optimistic. Things are bad, but they’re going to get better. And if we continue to wear masks, wash our hands, and practice social distancing, the horrors of 2020 will soon be behind us and a much better life is just ahead.