This photo is the last photo I have in my phone taken before March 11, 2020, the day widely considered the unofficial beginning of the pandemic here in the United States, the day before Utah Jazz basketball player Rudy Gobert tested positive and shut down the NBA, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed they had the virus, and President Trump sniffled his way through an error-riddled, deeply concerning Oval Office “speech.” Every aspect of that picture, taken during my family’s annual trip to St. Louis Cardinals spring training in Jupiter, Fla., screams Before Time. We’re at a stadium with thousands of fans in it. Everyone is crammed in next to one another. My children are smiling. This photo was taken a little more than eight months ago. But today it feels beamed in from another dimension.
Covid-19 has so upended every aspect of life on this planet, and we’ve been so spinning our collective wheels trying to get it under control (until recently, when America apparently decided to take the key out of the ignition and dive face first into the ditch), that it is easy to forget that someday this will all be over. Really, it will. And, considering the news that there are now two vaccines of 90 percent-plus effectiveness, that day may be closer than any of us had imagined. It could be here soon.
I know it is dangerous and scary in this particular moment to believe in the possibility of positive things happening in the world. But it’s looking like we may be out of this earlier than we thought. The time between now and then is going to be extremely rough, no question about it; it is alarming, looking at current Covid-19 trends, just how many of us who are here now will not be there then. But an end is in sight.
Thus, I can’t help but look back at that photo, from March 9, 2020. When will we be that carefree again? Will my sons and I be allowed back to spring training next year? How about the Final Four? What does Easter look like?
Using the current CDC timetable, the first supplies of the vaccine could be sent out as early as the end of this year. If we’re able to mass produce the vaccine(s) and figure out how best to deploy it — no small feat, particularly when the President-elect can’t get the guy he just beat to admit that he’s the guy he just beat—large swaths of…