As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, true hope for ending the coronavirus pandemic may be on the horizon.
As of this week, three companies – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – have announced highly successful trials to effectively vaccinate individuals against the virus. Pending Food and Drug Administration safety approval in the U.S., at least one of the products could be available for the most vulnerable segments of the population by mid-December.
This is historic progress in the realm of vaccine research. It’s something the doubters once thought was impossible in an industry that waits years to discover effective vaccines. President Trump’s creation of Operation Warp Speed undoubtedly put pressure on the research community to find medicine to bend back the pandemic as rapidly as possible. We now have hope that mass distribution of the vaccine is possible by the middle of next year.
Until now, nearly every turn of the calendar this year brought bad news. Business shutdowns early in the pandemic caused permanent closures and record unemployment. Fatalities from the disease exceeded early expectations. Just as the virus seemed to ebb last summer, it began spreading again with a vengeance.
Yet, many retailers adjusted and spent billions on safety measures to keep their doors open. Customers eventually became comfortable returning and buying. Nationally, sales have been steadily increasing the past six months. The National Retail Federation is hopeful that holiday sales increases this year could top out at 5.2%, a level higher than the annual average of increases the past five years.
While the resiliency of shoppers and the retail industry is inspiring, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the hope that’s on the horizon.