By Chad Ingram
Normally, with the dawn of a new year, I publish a column recounting the top 10 Times stories of the previous year.
I’m not going to do that this year, and the reason I’m not going to do that is because each of those stories would essentially be an offshoot of the biggest story of 2020, here or anywhere else on the planet, that of course being the COVID-19 pandemic.
Combing through last year’s issues to compile the Year in Review section for this week’s edition, it was interesting, albeit a bit surreal, to watch mention of the virus creep in. The first was during a Haliburton Highlands Health Service meeting last January. Then, in February, both HHHS and the school board began making preparations.
Then, in March, wham! Declarations of emergency, the halting of business, the closure of municipal facilities, the cancellation of events of every sort. I remember the sense of dread I woke up with every morning through the second half of March, then through April and May, knowing that all I was going to do all day was read about, talk to people about, and write about the impact of the pandemic. All COVID-19. All the time. By late spring there were at least once again other things to write about, but the virus and its myriad impacts would continue to permeate our lives, and the pages of the paper, for the remainder of the year.
Here we are in 2021 and of course, things are no different than they were on Dec. 31. As I write this, Ontario remains in its second economic lockdown and numbers of new, confirmed daily cases of the virus in the province continue to hover around 3,000. While certainly there was a collective sigh of relief worldwide as we escorted 2020 out of our lives, no magical switch was flipped on New Year’s Eve. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that we have many more months of living the way we’ve been living for nearly the past 10 months ahead of us.
What the new year did bring though, was a symbolic victory of sorts. While 2020 is likely to be cemented in our minds as the year the pandemic struck, hopefully, as doses are delivered around the world, 2021 will be the year that many of us remember as the year we got the vaccine.
What 2021 brings with it is the prospect of hope, and that is good enough for now. Here’s to a brighter year ahead.