Looking forward


Optimism part of story in 2020  even amidst COVID chaos

  • Kurt Johnson
    Kurt Johnson

Along with the fireworks and chords of Auld Lang Syne, if you listen carefully on New Year’s Eve there will also be a giant, collective flushing sound heard around the world. Wooshhh! Be gone 2020. 
You’ll find little argument with that sentiment as New Year’s Eve approaches. Midnight Thursday can’t come soon enough for most, even the most optimistic among us who typically see the glass as half full if not brimming over the top.
It’s been a tough year by any standard, thanks to a global pandemic that changed life as we know it in so many ways. We all felt it, perhaps some more than others, so much so that we know history will remember 2020 as the year of COVID-19 even before it’s over.
Not surprisingly, the pandemic was reflected in the News-Register’s annual poll rating top stories of the year. (See front page story for details.) It’s a nonscientific, subjective poll by nature, with a sample of approximately 75 local residents who agreed almost unanimously that the overall impact COVID-19 had on citizens of all ages here in Hamilton County was the No. 1 story of the year.
Not far behind at No. 2 was ANR coverage focused not on what happened in 2020, but rather, what didn’t. We were all saddened to see so many events, traditions and opportunities to celebrate together cancelled due to pandemic protocols, which was an ongoing, devastating tale to tell in and of itself.
Top 10 story polls are standard fare this time of year in the global news cycle and I’ve seen a few polls already that were dominated by the coronavirus and related fallout. By comparison, Hamilton County stood out with some positive headlines that say a lot about this community.
While there was angst and uncertainty throughout the year, growth and progress remained evident as well. Several businesses built new or expanded facilities, and/or opened the doors on new ventures, which was rated the No. 3 story here on the home front. It takes guts and a solid business plan to launch or expand a business in the best of times, so to see that continued confidence here in the midst of COVID chaos was refreshing indeed. People want to be here, for a number of reasons which become even more evident when times are tough.
The pandemic story is not over yet, unfortunately, though there is at last a glimmer of hope with vaccines being distributed as the year ends. I wasn’t around in the Post WWII era, but my sense is that Americans will share a similar vibe when this nightmare is finally over and we can celebrate, together, in person, with gusto!
Here’s to a brighter 2021.
Kurt Johnson

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