Pandemic Optimism

Madalyn Cottrell, MVCurrent Writer

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 early this year, the lives people around the world have been put on hold. Everyone has a different story of how the pandemic is affecting them. Some are ignoring the severity of the illness and continue to pursue their own social lives, some lost loved ones to the virus, and some remain isolated. I had very limited contact with who I encountered, and it was not until June that I finally began to see even a few of my friends.

 Over the summer as lockdowns came to a close and restrictions were lifted, lives slightly returned to normal as restaurants, malls, and shops opened again for business. Internationally, the world also began to open up again, and cases were rather low compared to what they had been in April. However, cases are once again surging, and as recently as mid-October, lockdowns and stricter restrictions have been put into place yet again.

Ireland and Great Britain have been ordered into another lockdown, restricting their citizens from going anywhere but the grocery store and work. My former exchange student in Germany is also saying that most of Europe is beginning to fall into another series of lockdowns. 

The United States is taking a turn for the worse, especially Indiana. With cases now peaking over 250,000, towns and cities are beginning to place harsher restrictions on social gatherings. Schools are beginning to close around the state, adopting a new virtual schedule.  But as cases rise and rise in the United States, so does the hope for an efficient vaccine. 

Thankfully, this hope is not unfounded. Medical teams across the world have been working endlessly to develop a vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are American companies that have been at the forefront of creating an efficient vaccine. Moderna is a biotechnology company that focuses on drug development and vaccines. Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country, also has a focus in medical drug and vaccine development. 

Both companies have created COVID-19 vaccines.  Based on early data, the Moderna vaccine is reported to be 94.5% effective while the Pfizer vaccine is reported to be about 90% effective. These two vaccines are showing to be very effective, and are hopefully set to outperform the vaccine for the flu, which is only 40-50% successful. The Wall Street Journal reported that these vaccines could be approved by the government in the next couple of weeks. As predicted by The New York Times, citizens in need could start receiving the earliest rounds of vaccines starting in late December or early January. The vaccines will not be widely available until the spring, and probably won’t reach lower-risk citizens until late-to-mid 2021.

Many Americans are also hopeful with the outcome of the recent election. Joe Biden won. Countries all over the world celebrated Trump’s loss. Bells rang in Paris, fireworks were lit in England, and cheers and car horns erupted for hours in the streets of New York City. I was nearly brought to tears on Saturday morning when I came downstairs and found out Joe Biden had won. Though many of us settled for Biden, many can agree that he is going to be a more effective leader than Donald Trump because of his inability to deal with the severity of the pandemic. 

President Trump openly admitted that earlier this year that he knew about the severity of the virus, but refused to do anything about it because he didn’t want to scare the American people. He did close our borders and put very, very limited restrictions on travel, but it was not until fall that he advocated for the use of masks when necessary. I believe this was just a desperate attempt to try and get more support from Democrats on the fence about voting for Joe Biden. In the first presidential debate, he even disparage Biden for wearing the “biggest mask he’s ever seen.” 

Many Republicans are turning on Trump due to his refusal to aid our nation in getting through this pandemic, and many red states are starting to develop stricter restrictions because of the recent surge in cases. Joe Biden has promised to make things better, and I truly believe that he will. Stubborn rightists who claim that “Coronavirus is a hoax created by the Democrats” are going to be what holds America back from recovering from this pandemic. 

I do not think 2020 is a year any of us will forget, but there is hope that things will get better. This pandemic is far from over, and the world is in for a rough winter as cases are predicted to continue to surge. Make sure to wear a mask, socially distance, and refrain from partying or seeing friends and people outside of your immediate family. We are all a part of making 2021 a better, brighter year, and that will only