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Make COVID-19 battle a goal for the New Year

Much of 2020 was like stopping on the curb before crossing a street, looking carefully both ways, then stepping out — and then getting hit by an airplane — as one observer who somehow held onto a sense of humor put it.

It was not a good year for most people. Millions remain unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many small businesses are closed, and some will never reopen.

Millions of our children and grandchildren have suffered gaps in their educations.

And we have lost so many neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members to the virus.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 does not use a calendar. Our war against the virus will continue long into 2021. Deliveries last month of vaccines against the disease are not, as Winston Churchill might have put it, the beginning of the end but, perhaps, the end of the beginning of the worldwide scourge.

Thus far, most doses of the vaccine have gone to health care professionals and nursing home residents. Even many vulnerable members of the general population will not be able to get the life-saving shots until March or later.

During early 2021, the outlook is grim. Analysts at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who have a good record in their predictions, say that by April 1, COVID-19 may have claimed the lives of 502,000 Americans.

IHME scientists add to their predictions that universal use of face coverings by Americans could save as many as 56,000 lives by April 1.

Think of that: If we all take the same precautions we should have been observing since last March, we Americans could save 56,000 lives.

Doing what we can to make that happen would be an excellent new year’s resolution.

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