2022, could we have a do-over?
may be hardly a week old, but this in-with-the-new thing isn’t working out. A
new year promises a fresh start and a clean slate, but, honestly, you haven’t
bad enough that we’re entering our third year of coping with an invisible
enemy, the coronavirus. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was
identified on Jan. 20, 2020. We didn’t know then it was called alpha to
distinguish from later variants.
and boosters were supposed to set us free, but no. Even those who did the right
thing, got their shots, wore masks and washed their hands got caught by the
latest and most transmissible variant, omicron.
who want to be tested must stand in long lines, if they can find tests at all. The
good news is the people who followed health guidelines are less likely to be
hospitalized and to die than those who shun vaccinations and boosters.
omicron is disrupting society as it rampages the country and the world.
and the saints who take care of patients are slammed, mainly by those who
haven’t gotten their jabs. Airlines canceled thousands of flights around Jan. 1
due to staff shortages caused by sick and quarantining employees. Then a
snowstorm hit the East Coast.
who abandoned air travel for cars and trains this week were also headed not for
their destinations but for misery. We simply couldn’t get there – or anywhere –
debacle on nearly 50 miles of I-95 in Virginia, coupled with gridlock on
surrounding roads, created a logjam that affected hundreds of motorists trying
to head north and south. Amtrak trains were also stuck under the weather, unable
to handle even the most basic of passenger needs – food and toilets.
in Chicago and other places shut down or returned to remote learning as the
pandemic again made in-person classes risky to teachers, staff and students. Businesses
pulled back on bringing staff to their offices. Reports of the death of the Zoom
culture were premature.
easy to make New Year’s resolutions for other people – and much more satisfying
than making them for oneself – so here’s one for Virginia and federal
transportation officials: Work together to focus on essential services.
need a country where the systems work. Competence may not be sexy, but it is necessary
for peace and prosperity.
know Northern Virginia hadn’t had a good snow in a couple of years, and the
bizarre change from balmy temperatures in the 60s over the weekend to rain and
then heavy snowfall – up to 2 inches an hour – on Monday was discombobulating.
officials said they couldn’t pretreat highways because the chemicals would have
washed away in the rain. But other states routinely deal with heavy snowfalls
without such disastrous consequences.
once nearly a foot of snow stopped traffic, surely authorities could have done something
to help people stranded in their cars in the cold and dark for more than 24
Ralph Northam wasn’t helpful when he stated the obvious, that people should
have stayed off I-95. I’m sure they wish they had.
truckers, who are trying to alleviate supply chain shortages and have schedules
to keep, as well as other seasoned motorists, know interstates are usually
cleared of snow first and are safer than secondary roads in inclement weather.
people were finally able to get off I-95 near Fredericksburg, they faced more
gridlock on secondary roads. Many travelers reported an absence of authorities
to direct traffic or help in any way.
officials probe what went wrong, they need to avoid finger pointing, make solid
recommendations and implement them.
don’t want more politicking. We want to know we can go where we need to go, safely,
and at reasonable speeds. We want our highways and trains to operate
So, while we might
like a do-over for the first disastrous week of the new year, there are still
51 weeks left to inspire confidence in America’s ability to function – even if more
snow falls. We’re counting on you to do better, 2022.
©2022 Marsha Mercer.
All rights reserved.
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