A view shows an empty road during a curfew to restrict large gatherings amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India, January 1, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

This is one year you don’t have to feel bad for going to bed early on New Year’s Eve. That’s what health experts wish for your new year, as they remind us yet again that the coronavirus loves a crowd. Besides, you aren’t alone, as even those fun-loving, Crocodile-Dundee-inspiring, Waltzing Matilda Aussies had muted celebrations as they kicked 2020 to the curb. 

If you need another reason to stay home, California became the second state to discover the coronavirus’ new strain originally found in the UK. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, also hinted that there are others in the state (and the country) who must have it. “I don’t think Californians should think that this is odd,” Fauci said. “It’s to be expected.”

Fauci also expressed disappointment that the two vaccines aren’t being distributed faster, as a mere 2.8 million have received their first shot, far below the 20 million Operation Warp Speed officials had hoped for by the end of the year. Federal officials admit they don’t know what’s holding them up, but states said they were holding doses back for nursing homes that still aren’t fully prepared to receive them. They were also facing shortages of workers because of the holidays and, well, because we’re in a pandemic. The exasperated states also said federal officials left many of the difficult final details of getting the shots into people’s arms to overstretched local health officials and hospitals. Those federal officials admitted the distribution was going slower than they had hoped and asked for patience, stating that the holidays, storage demands and huge snowstorms mucked up the operation. 

“There is a learning curve,” said Moncef Slaoui, chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, said Wednesday. Some health officials called for mass vaccinations as the U.S. reported a record death toll for the second day in a row, with more than 3,740 Wednesday.

Still, many chose to take one more look at the hardest year of many of our lives. New York planned to celebrate health care workers during the Times Square party to ring in the new year, and China approved its first vaccine from where it all began. 

President-elect Joe Biden hopes to honor those taken by the disease with a memorial in towns and cities across the country. Biden will ask churches to ring their bells and buildings to light up their windows at 5:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 19 in addition to a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool in Washington.

“In the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history,” said Pili Tobar, a spokesperson for the inaugural committee, “and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.” 

Media Perspectives

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

In a year that looked nothing like others, it was the little things that helped us cope – CNN – 12/31/2020
So she did what she’s always vowed to do in times of hardship: use the experience as an opportunity to find a way to help others. It’s also what she did when she found herself all alone during her husband’s first deployment and signed up for a program that allowed her to help other military spouses. 

Millions of Americans Are Calling in Sick, Stunting the Recovery – Bloomberg – 12/31/2020
Whether it’s because they have Covid-19 themselves, are worried about getting it or are taking care of someone who already has it, the number of workers who’ve missed days on the job has doubled in the pandemic.

De Blasio sets goal to vaccinate 1M New Yorkers by end of January – Fox News – 12/31/2020
He detailed plans to expand on operational vaccination sites and set up new sites, or so-called “COVID-19 vaccination hubs,” at community clinics and locations throughout the city. “Our goal is to get to upwards of 250 locations citywide,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to take a lot of work, it’s going to take tremendous urgency and focus,” he continued, detailing help needed from the federal and state government as well as vaccine manufacturers.

It’s time to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for the entire Congress – CNN – 12/31/2020
The only responsible thing to do, since Congress has thus far made Covid-19 testing available to members, but not mandatory, is for House and Senate leadership to mandate that anyone entering the Capitol building — members, staff, Capitol police, support staff and journalists covering Congress — receive the vaccine. This could be done via legislation or by each chamber changing its own rules, one of the very first votes of each Congress.

Seriously? He Gets an Early Vaccine? – New York Times – 12/31/2020
Now I’ve learned he took a Covid vaccine when legislators were offered them. He is not a health care worker, elderly or at risk. People could die because of his selfishness! How can I talk to my sister about this? I love her, but I can’t take it anymore.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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