If history is a guide, much better days lie ahead. We all can be thankful for that, as COVID-19 keeps us away from loved ones this Thanksgiving.
The last time such a terrible pandemic swept the globe was 1918. A virulent flu infected a third of the world’s population, taking some 50 million lives, including 675,000 Americans and 8,500 Wisconsinites.
The horror of that epidemic stretched into 1919 and was deadlier than today’s novel coronavirus. Yet as it receded, growth and optimism soared. From the worst pandemic of the last century sprang the Roaring ’20s, a vibrant decade of prosperity, technology and liberating fun.
Let’s root for a Roaring ’20s redo: The Roaring 2020s.
It could start as soon as next year. No fewer than three vaccines are on the way, though it will take time to produce and distribute hundreds of millions of doses. So don’t let your guard down. Wear a mask when you go into stores, and stay 6 feet from others. Citing elaborate research, the Mayo Clinic last week confirmed these precautions keep people safe and slow the spread.
If we continue to be careful and limit our exposure, our reward should be a soaring economy and burst of sociability as COVID-19 subsides. That’s what happened in the 1920s, with flappers, jazz, cars, movies and Art Deco design. If anything, they had too much fun a century ago.
Who knows what the 2020s will bring? But this much is clear: You’ll be able to visit your friends again, send your children back to school, and hug grandma and grandpa. That’s what we miss most.
Be especially thankful today for those who have fought this pandemic on the front lines, in some cases risking their lives. That includes the doctors, nurses, caregivers and others. Be thankful for the scientists figuring out how to defeat the virus.
Be thankful for the legions of people who continue to make and ship our food, medicine and other supplies and products. Be thankful for your pals and kin who stay away, even if they’d rather hang out.
Though many people remain out of work — and the misery of this disease cannot be understated — the economy is healing. Jobs are coming back. The Stock Market just topped 30,000. With fewer things to do, Americans are saving money and paying down credit cards.
More of us are cooking at home and eating dinner with our families. Be thankful for the time you have with your children, even if you’d rather they return to class, sports, music or other pursuits. It turns out many of us can work from home as easily as going into the office, without all that commuting.
The pandemic is still raging. So be careful. This isn’t over yet. But as you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, be patient and hopeful, even if you are alone. The beginning of the end of COVID-19 is on the horizon.