The year 2020 will be looked back on for decades to come as perhaps the worst year in the history of the country …. and in Jeff Davis County.
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the way we lived our lives as it raged and spread with millions of Americans facilitating the spread, as they viewed it, not as the dangerous disease it was, but rather as a politically motivated hoax perpetrated by the media and a conspiracy of anti-Trump forces faking the disease’s seriousness in an effort to unseat the President of the United States.
Even as 31 Jeff Davis Countians have died of COVID-19 complications over the last eight months, many more hospitalized as they fought for their lives and countless others stricken with lesser, nonetheless still dangerous bouts with the disease, there are still many who stubbornly and dangerously cling to the belief that the COVID-19 danger has been hyper-exaggerated by the media.
Understanding the reality of the pandemic, longtime Jeff Davis County physician Dr. David Turfler and current Jeff Davis Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Jason Laney were among the first in Jeff Davis County to take their first doses of the COVID vaccine now being distributed across the country and the world. The public would be wise to follow their informed example, and abandon their stubborn belief in conspiracy theories.
While the vaccine marks perhaps the beginning of the end of the COVID nightmare, for too many people, the damage has already been done. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of local people have lost loved ones. Even more have lost friends.
Countless school children have been robbed of fond memories as sports and school activities were halted, their school experiences diminished, graduation for the Class of 2020 compromised and myriad other lost experiences never to be regained.
Add to that what may be the most divisive presidential election in the history of the United States, divisiveness which even now continues with Georgia’s U.S. Senatorial runoffs, and 2020 was truly a disturbingly uncomfortable year for millions. And that discomfort spread around the globe as the world watched as the United States, once the unquestioned leader of the world, was doing perhaps irreparable harm to itself from within, aided by the willingness of millions to blindly spread Russian instigated propaganda — propaganda that fostered an industry of conspiracy theorists enriching themselves through the spread of misinformation, hoaxes and out-and-out lies to a gullible public.
And then there is the economic tragedy that accompanied the COVID outbreak, a tragedy that could have been avoided — or at the very least softened — had it not been for the inability of our nation’s leadership to take the virus seriously and take steps to protect our nation’s people.
Yes, 2020 was a tragic year. One that will long be remembered with deep sadness and regret.