A mother came home angry, threw down her son's report card and screamed,
"4 D's and 2 F's. What was he doing in school?"
The father looked at the card and said calmly,
" Let us look at the bright side."
"What can be the bright side to this?" the mother shouted.
"Well" said the father, "at least he is not cheating."
2020 was "the Year that Was".
Covid-19 Pandemic and growing number of casualties, Black Lives Matter, racial tensions, highly contested Presidential Elections, global economic downturn and an uncertain future.
Where is the bright side?
Let us see.
God Bless the Children
With all the rampage of the Pandemic, the virus seems to have spared the children.
Rate of hospitalization in children with Covid-19 is still low (8.00 per 100,000 population, compared with 164.5 per 100,000 adult population). Children with Covid-19 also seem to be less likely to develop severe illness compared with adults.
Covid-19 Green Deal?
Because of the Pandemic and subsequent governmental remedial measures, vehicular traffic volume through out the country has been reduced by an average of 30 to 40 per cent in 2020.
This has resulted in less accidents and lower environmental pollution.
(People in Northern India get a clear view of the Himalayas Mountain Range for the first time in several decades)
During the Pandemic, NASA satellite measurements have revealed significant reductions in air pollution over major metropolitan areas of Northeast United States.
Save for the Rainy Day
With limited spending opportunities, Americans are saving more.
U.S. Personal Saving Rate jumped from 7.9% in 2019 to 17.2% in 2020. When the recovery begins, America could be awash with cash ready for spending and investment.
Main street lifted by Wall Street
No doubt the economy took a big hit in 2020.
But surprisingly, certain businesses have been quite resilient.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped from 28,462.14 in December 30, 2019
to 19,173.98 in March 20, 2020. However, it recovered to 30,335.67 in December 29, 2020.
Similarly the Nasdaq dropped from 8,945.99 in December 30, 2019 to 6,879.52 in March 20, 2020.
Then, it recovered to a record 12,850.22 in December 29, 2020.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 3.6% in January 2020 to 14.7% in April 2020.
After that, the rate has gradually dropped to 6.7% in November, 2020.
The uncertainty of the job market resulted in many Americans reviewing their future choices.
Some of them chose working for themselves at home rather than look for a job.
Entrepreneurship is on the rise.
Opportunities rose for even small manufacturers and businesses in hospital supplies, food production,
packaging and mailing, among others.
With their backs against the wall, Americans became creative in handling the challenges.
The year of Science
As mentioned in an article in "The Hindu" on December 29, 2020,
"The year 2020, also termed as the year of pandemic, social distancing, work from home, was also the year of research at breakneck speed. Virologists, immunologists, computational biologists, epidemiologists and medical professionals across the globe turned into superheroes without capes".
The normal time period for development of a vaccine used to be 2-5 years.
Thanks to quick sequencing of the whole genome of the novel coronavirus, we have two Covid-19 vaccines
approved for emergency use within one year, with many others following.
Scientists around the world call this a miracle.
When in Doubt, Remote
How remote can we get?
We work, shop, dine, socialize, educate, pray and get married remotely.
We found a new lifestyle.
Love thy Neighbor
Staying at home, Americans have time to look around themselves.
They see friendly neighbors, hard working first responders, unselfish professionals, needy
poor, loving families and charitable population.
We have become more aware of ourselves and our priorities.
Thanks to altruistic Americans, food banks and volunteer charities have sprung all over the country.
All in the Family
Above all, in 2020, we realized our yearning for close family and friends.
There is now an increasing tendency to seek, help and engage with our inner circle of
family, friends and associates.
When we cannot socialize, we have taken to virtual media to be in touch with them.
Zoom, WhatsApp and other chat sites have kept us connected.
So, as cartoonist Charles Schulz said,
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
It is already tomorrow in Australia".