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2020 threw us for a major curve

A decade ago, 2010, we never heard of Uber or Lyft ground transportation, Airbnb accommodation rental, DoorDash or Grubhub food delivery services, Zoom videoconferencing, advancements in Hepatitis C treatment, Amazon’s talking Alexa, a vast selection of grocery meal kits, the handheld iPad, Fitbits offering body function and health information, and countless more items.

The year 2020 arrived in a traditional fashion — 2019 was behind us.

However, by late February 2020, how we lived, worked, educated, and other life-living aspects radically changed. COVID-19 arrived, a global pandemic.

COVID has affected over 319 million Americans, with nearly 330,00 of our fellow citizens succumbing to the virus. It is at Northeast Michigan’s front door.

Unprepared, America entered an era of conflicting political and public health messages.

Employment ended for many, schools and colleges shifted to online learning, restaurants, retail, and entertainment establishments moved to new operational models, family, friendship, and public gatherings ceased, food pantry needs soared, medical and surgical procedures were sidelined, weddings and funerals were downsized or put on hold, and, overall, American lifestyles entered a new mode.

In years past, wearing a face mask was a precursor to committing a robbery. It is now a logical health care approach in protecting you and others from the soaring COVID-19 virus.

Sadly, during the 2020 presidential election, family and personal friends collided on candidate selection. Various religious faiths, nationalities, government leaders, health care and scientific leadership, and people of color were viciously attacked.

Trust in government, science, education, and health care tumbled.

Not since the Vietnam War era have Americans become so divided.

We prepare to enter 2021 with researched and validated COVID-19 vaccines, new presidential leadership, and public health mandates which are enacted or loom on the horizon.

The new normal is someplace out there. I tend to think it will be brighter if we listen and adhere to the proven and logical truth from health care and science leadership.

Not everyone will be pleased by those actions. Grumble, if you want.

However, the more we act as an American team with respect toward each other, the quicker we will get this difficult virus behind us.

Family gatherings, weddings, indoor dining, theater and stage productions, and numerous other venues will before all of us — if we cooperate.

To accomplish that, wear your mask when in public, practice social distance, frequently wash your hands, and, when it is your turn for your COVID-19 vaccination, promptly proceed to receive.

As we enter 2021, an old Irish tradition tells us to open your door at midnight to let the old year out and new year in. I believe, with 2020’s departure, that tradition deserves all the doors, windows, and the garage door to be fully open.

Just like 10 years ago, amazing new offerings and inventions will be on our horizon.

Personally, I just want to again offer a hug.

Jeffrey D. Brasie is a retired health care CEO and frequently writes feature stories and op-eds. He is a former Alpena resident and resides in suburban Detroit.

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