Living in Society

Forward from the Pandemic

U.S. National Guard troops bivouacked at the U.S. Capitol. Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP.

The global census of deaths from COVID-19 passed 2 million this year. The pandemic seems far from over.

For comparison, the number of deaths from the 1918 influenza pandemic was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. deaths from COVID-19 will surpass 400,000 during the next few days.

These numbers indicate the United States is behind the rest of the world in addressing the coronavirus pandemic. If one has been following our politics, this comes as no surprise. Perhaps the greatest liability the current president will leave on Jan. 20 is his bungling of the federal response to the pandemic. One hopes President-elect Biden lives up to his campaign slogan to “Build Back Better.” He announced his plan to address the pandemic and hopefully the Congress will pass and fund it.

I wrote a friend asking me to get involved with a project this morning, “There are many projects begging for attention. As the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade told Jones, ‘You must choose, but choose wisely.’ I am in the balance between picking the right work and not waiting too long to get started.” My bottom line is I must keep my powder dry until I know when it will be safe to leave the house, when I can get the COVID-19 vaccine, and where my limited time can do the most good. I’d like to take on additional projects, yet I wait.

The government designated parts of Washington, D.C. a green zone during the run up to the inauguration, another legacy of shame for the current president. The good news for Biden is it can only get better from here. So we hope.