High Points: We’re not there yet | AspenTimes.com

High Points: We’re not there yet


Cautiously optimistic. That may be the place where we are right now. And while that may not be much, when was the last time you used the word “optimistic” in a sentence? Even if it was preceded by “cautiously”?

Here we are, one year into the pandemic. Last Jan. 29, that would be in the infamous year 2020, we were still reeling from the unexpected death of Kobe Bryant, who had perished along with eight others in a helicopter crash three days before. Coronavirus was a bit more than a whisper, but not much. The first case in the US had been reported just 10 days before on Jan. 19 in Snohomish County in Washington.

I remember being slightly concerned by a news report that a major city I had never heard of in China (Wuhan: population 11 million!) had completely shut down and over 200 people had died. But still, worry? Not really, even after the World Health Organization issued a notice on the 30th calling it a “public health emergency of international concern.” It seemed very far away. Kinda like a bird flu sort of thing.

Who could of thought that this is where we’d be just one year later? Our world changed in a Wuhan minute.

And as we spiraled downward, remember that week in March when the first NBA game was canceled with the players still on the floor and then the governor ordered the ski mountains closed that very weekend, it seemed like the worst it could get would be an unthinkable 40,000 deaths. That was what was predicted by the University of Washington in April. It was panned at the time as being grossly pessimistic.

Now look at where we are. The numbers stagger.

But exactly one year later, I allude to being optimistic. After all, this past 10 days we have seen a dramatic decline in all of the indicators across the board. Nationally and locally, infection rates and hospitalizations appear to be moving in the right direction. Death rates are still high but word is they lag behind the other indicators.

There are two vaccines that are currently available and each day the supply chain and the apparatus for delivering them appears to be getting better.

And the biggest thing is, at least there is a plan. Each day we hear from the federal government that there is an effort to coordinate our mutual national response to the virus. That someone is paying attention to getting this under control.

All of that makes me “cautiously” optimistic that we are moving in the right direction. Still, we are a long way off from getting back on track. One year in and now is the time to remain vigilante. To do all of the necessary things, including distancing and wearing masks and washing/disinfecting our hands regularly.

Oh, and getting vaccinated when it is available for each of us.

If we all continue on the path, stick with the plan, then perhaps a from year now we can ditch the caution and just be optimistic.

But we’re not there yet.

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