DAN YORKE – In 2021, we hope for a comeback

DAN YORKE – In 2021, we hope for a comeback

It is traditional to start the new year with predictions. So here goes:

(fingers tapping)

Oh, forget it.

It’s hard to predict what will happen even two days in advance these days.

So instead, how about our hopes for 2021?

Obviously, we start with COVID.

We hope for a vaccine delivery program that is organized, efficient and effective. So far, Operation Warp Speed is anything but. A good guess is that President Joe Biden will rename the effort when the new team figures out how to accelerate needles into shoulders. Worrisome is this idea to reduce the injection to one per person for now, foregoing the second booster so as to inject more people with one needle sooner. The science calls for two shots per person. If the science isn’t changing, neither should the plan. Substituting quality for quantity seems like a mistake.

We hope for the crush at our hospitals to subside. Crucially, that means fewer patients fighting for their lives and loved ones lost. But it also will bring some normalcy to our medical community. The battlefield losses of their own and wear and tear they’ve quietly and courageously suffered is still ignored by too many. It can’t go much longer without some rest and therapy. Their real nonstop trauma far exceeds their training. Recovery will be a process.

We hope for a plain old visit to the nursing home. Spouses of 50 and 60 years separated from each other. Daughters and sons prevented from their natural urge to return care back to their parents. Months of this awkward FaceTime and sneaky window tapping need to stop. Hugs and holding hands need to start again.

The nursing home staffs, suffering their own losses and nerves every single day they come to work, once again provide the relaxed skilled support and companionship that residents so enjoy.

We hope for in-school days for everyone every day. Distance learning, scheduled intermittent days in the classroom, and quarantines become a memory as teachers get more closely reacquainted with the kids they love. There’s a lot of catching up to do and our educators, free of the worry of contamination and lesson plans busted, get to the business of leading an academic comeback.

We hope for the survival of small businesses that are hanging by a thread. Stimulus funds have been tardy and access to them limited and complicated in Rhode Island. We need to continue to infuse grant and loan capital into the economy through our small businesses, keeping them afloat, which in turn, as bills get paid, keeps their vendors afloat. If we do, we will save a formidable tax base to pay for our state and local services.

We hope to gather again, in crowds and in family rooms. We will never get used to looking at empty stadiums on TV. We need the theater, a concert, a personal meeting with a client, a chat at the water cooler. So many of us have missed our place of worship, the online version disconnected and distant. Never again should we drop off holiday gifts in the driveway and gather at the table on Zoom.

We can’t know when it all comes back to us, but we certainly can help the process along. We can likely accelerate this thing together if some of us can just dig a little deeper and stop the selfish crying about COVID fatigue.

Masks, sanitizer, distance.

Happy Unpredictable New Year.

Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weekends on MyRITV/Fox Providence and owns communications/crisis consulting firm DYCOMM LLC.