Jim Woster

Jim Woster

Most any writer will tell you, it is fairly easy to write a column when a person has a topic in mind. That is especially so when that writer is listed in the “antique” category, has never left home and is writing for an audience basically of the same background. For whatever reason, this issue’s column has been a struggle.

One would think that with all that 2020 has offered in the way of topics, it should be easier than ever. That probably would be if politics and COVID is one’s preference. For many, if not most, it has been politics because it is their passion. COVID is the topic because writers, especially those who do it professionally, have no choice. It is what life is pretty much all about in the fall of 2020.

Regarding COVID-19 and its impact on everyone but especially those confined to a senior living center or, for that matter, their own home, one of the most common complaints I hear is “why oh why must the lead story on the television news or the front page of the newspaper always be about the virus?” If it must be, can’t those folks, on occasion, find a way to include something positive?

I must admit, and I’m not a victim of quarantine isolation, the old stockyards guy finds himself sinking into that same quagmire of negativity. Certainly, this is a virulent virus we are dealing with. People, albeit it a small percentage, become very ill and some die. Most, however, recover and return to whatever a normal life might be in November 2020.

I can’t substantiate this with hard data, but it would seem that this is one of the few times in history that research scientists from all around the world are putting their effort and dollars toward one goal. That is the control or elimination of COVID-19, and guess what – they appear to be having more than a small amount of success.

For example, as I write this column, pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, will probably request emergency authority to move forward with trials of a vaccine, which seems to possess the potential to be effective, before the end of November. Moderna, another leading U.S. vaccine contender, appears to be on the same time line. Certainly, there will be more than a few hurdles along the way, but folks, progress is being made and it would be nice for that progress to be a feature.

How about the fact that a president, at 74, after being admitted to Walter Reed with COVID-19, was treated with a coronavirus therapeutic, created by Regeneron, and after a few days returned home. I know there was more to his healing but I include this anecdote because research and limited use of that same treatment is occurring right here in Sioux Falls.

The bottom line is there is more than a little progress being made, which would seem to warrant at least some press coverage when compared to the disease itself. It could be a huge morale booster to the thousands of folks who have been isolated.

However, regardless of the progress, we still have only a couple of tools with which to battle the virus: masks when appropriate and keeping some distance between you and those with whom you do not have daily contact. Is this 100% effective? Probably not, but right now it’s all we’ve got.

Allow me to add a simple disclaimer. Due to deadlines (hey, I just tossed in a journalism word!), this was written prior to knowing the outcome of the 2020 general election. Unless the polls are wrong (even more than they were in 2016) and there is not a problem with counting ballots, President Trump may be leaving the White House Jan. 20, 2021. The reader, depending upon a particular point of view, will be somewhat sad or absolutely gleeful and ecstatic.

We are already hearing from “celebrities” about moving to another country, should President Trump be reelected. Bruce Springsteen, for example, recently said, “If Trump is elected, which he won’t be, I will be on the next plane to Australia.” That effort should be easy, as most of his ilk own several Gulfstream jets and stretch limos in which to travel.

Finally, let’s all say a small prayer of thanks for a bountiful harvest and a bit of improvement in price. Be safe in your daily labors and thanks for what you do.

Jim is associate editor of Tri-State Neighbor and also works with the SDSU Alumni Foundation.