2021 New Year, Same Virus


Image of a firework taken from Wikipedia.

AnnaBella McGinnis, Reporter

As this infamous year comes to an end, many are excited for the fresh start of 2021. However, 2021 may not bring the change that most people are looking for.

The COVID-19 pandemic which caused chaos everywhere will likely carry on into next year, leaving little hope for a return of normalcy. Next year the U.S. population will be seeking that fresh start without over 290,000 loved ones who died because of the coronavirus. COVID-19 arrived in the U.S. in March. In the 10 months since the arrival of the virus, things have only gotten worse.

The Lancet Regional Health website reports in an article titled “Potential lessons from the Taiwan and New Zealand health responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic” about the ways both Taiwan and New Zealand handled the virus in the early months of its arrival in their countries. Taiwan had previously dealt with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic in 2003, so its citizens were quick to respond with precautions to prevent further spread of the virus. New Zealand, albeit, a very small country, revisited the plan that was built to “flatten the curve” of the influenza pandemic from 2017.

Today, New Zealand reports only 25 deaths total due to COVID-19. Taiwan reports only 7 deaths total. As of December 10th, the U.S. faced almost 3,000 deaths in a single day from COVID-19, which is a record breaking number in one day since the beginning of 2020. And yet, in the U.S., protests against mask mandates are still going strong. The latest protest in Idaho on December 9th, forced the cancellation of a public health meeting meant to take place on the same day. Plans for more abrupt and chaotic protests are expected to occur in the future, and yes, even in the new year.

While the vaccines are expected to begin arriving in December and January, the average American citizen who is not working on the frontlines, will not receive the vaccine for a number of months. At this point, the vaccine is being used as damage control for the country instead of a preventative (as was intended). Regardless, actual results will not take place unless additional actions are taken. Social distancing and mask mandates will not suddenly go away with the arrival of the vaccine, and if everyone has grown sick of the new reality we live in, these actions need to be enforced.

With the bright hope that this country will seek better solutions for the pandemic in the coming year, it is important to note that nothing will magically change when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. We all will be living in the same world, with the same deadly disease. If change is not sought in the year 2021, then the citizens of the U.S. do not have the right to expect different results.