Finally, it’s arrived. The dark months of 2020 are behind us and we welcome the New Year with as much enthusiasm as we normally do, albeit with more muted celebrations.
The future is often a scary place to try and see into, yet we often await it eagerly. A year ago, we welcomed this year with the usual hopes, not knowing it would bring a global pandemic that would kill millions and a presidential election that would descend into turmoil with unfounded allegations of electoral fraud.
And, although the electoral college has decided that Joe Biden won the presidency, ending one contentious issue raised by Donald Trump, the pandemic is nowhere near defeated.
Indeed, a mutated form of COVID-19, more infectious than the initial form and first identified in the U.K., has been found globally. It’s likely well established in the U.S. already.
Jared Polis, governor of Colorado, where the first variant strain was discovered, broke the news Trump-style, by taking to Twitter. On 29 December, he wrote: "Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the U.K. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely.”
The patient is reported to be a man in his 20s, with no travel history or close contacts.
Just how the world is going to cope with these and more variants that are likely to appear cannot yet be determined, but it seems certain to me that the United States needs to have a better response nationally than it did under Trump’s leadership.
Biden needs to hit the ground running to protect the American people. There is no time for hesitation and no time for delays. Action is needed now.
Of course, the one big hope is a vaccine. In fact, vaccines produced by various pharmaceutical companies are now in the distribution phase, and said to be effective against the variant strains of the virus.
On the health side, at least, 2021 looks set for a very bumpy road.