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Brighter Lights at Tunnel’s End

Dec. 3, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Hope is on the horizon now that a COVID-19 vaccine is here. But as this challenging year draws to a close, we urge all of you to be patient and to stay safe this holiday season.

As I sat down to write this final essay of 2020, my wife told me some of the best news I had heard all year: a Coronavirus vaccine was imminent.

At press time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was set to meet Dec. 10 to weigh Pfizer’s application for emergency approval of a new vaccine, followed by a similar session the next week to consider Moderna’s own version. Trials had already reportedly shown both vaccines to be at least 90% effective, so emergency approval was expected. Other versions from other pharmaceutical firms also may be near.

So, after months of mounting despair and contentious political and societal anxiety, it would appear that hope actually has arrived for the holidays, here in the U.S. and around the globe.

And not a moment too soon, to be honest.

Granted, it will still be months before most of us can get the new vaccine, as the logistics of a worldwide rollout are developed and doses are doled out, scheduled and administered to tiers of the most vulnerable, as well as to healthcare and other essential workers. But the news, itself, is a shot in the arm, and as a result, 2021 already is looking much brighter.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, though. Indeed, as we come to the end of the most difficult year in many of our lives and one of the toughest years in the history of this nation, we are hopeful, thankful, and exhausted. But we are also not out of the woods yet.

Our collective patience has never been so consistently and persistently tested throughout this challenging year, which has seen millions of Americans infected with COVID-19 and more than 270,000 die from it. When I penned this monthly essay at the end of March, just 240 days or so ago, the pandemic’s national death toll in the U.S. had just passed 2,000.

Two thousand. That’s not a typo.

And despite our current hopefulness, the worst may not yet be over.

So, I urge everyone reading this to please not celebrate prematurely the end of this epic scourge. In the back of my mind, I am reminded of the last pandemic, and the cruel irony that large parades near the end of World War I in 1918 had ended up being super-spreaders of “The Great Influenza” in some U.S. cities, helping to accelerate another wave of that lethal virus.

Granted, we all want to exhale.

But now it appears we may just have to hold on for a few more months before we can. In this issue, we look at some of the leading industry forecasts, and all point to a vaccine as a potential pivot point for an economic comeback. So, please just hold on.

Toward that end, we join industry associations and economists across the board in urging Congress to pass another round of much-needed economic stimulus relief this month. Indeed, we urge all of you to contact your local elected representatives to push for federal PPP checks. There is no time to waste.

Sadly, the bitterness and fractiousness between our political parties right now leaves every industry feeling like helpless offspring forced to watch a bitter divorce between their parents play out on the national stage. But this is not a family squabble or a parlor game. This is life and death, and America’s future as a going concern.

Like it or not, for America to succeed in 2021, its new President will need to succeed. And we, as a people, will need to see ourselves as one people again. People that help each other through the darkest of times, so that we may all celebrate together safely when the light truly arrives. 

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