AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. ShipmanFarmer Editor
When COVID-19 shut down North Dakota, as well as the rest of the United States last spring, the question on everyone’s minds was when would we finally be able to begin returning to a normal life. With the coronavirus raging across the country, restaurants, bars and movie theaters were closed as were schools. Hundreds of thousands of American job workers no longer had a place to work as businesses shuttered their doors. States imposed travel restrictions and airline travel ground to a standstill.
The once booming United States economy was brought to its knees with no sign of a quick recovery until a vaccination could be developed and the country begin to reach herd immunity.
But thanks to some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, vaccines are now available to virtually anyone who wants to receive one. And while there are still variants of the virus popping up across the world, it appears that life is slowly beginning to return to the way it was one year ago.
North Dakota, which has seen its daily number of positive COVID cases drop into the hundreds versus the thousands, is leading the nation when it comes to being one of the first states to emerge from the pandemic and return to a normal life.
Unlike so many other states, our schools are open and operating. The mask mandate is gone and businesses are free to operate as they see fit and safe.
While the arrival of spring in North Dakota always marks a new beginning, this year the arrival of spring is much more than that. We are seeing activities and events that were forced to be cancelled last year now coming back.
And that means that there will once again be spring sports, prom and graduations for our high school students. For McKenzie County residents, it means that all of the summer events that we once looked forward to like Homefest, the McKenzie County Fair, the Fourth of July celebration in Arnegard, the Best of the West Ribfest and Alexander’s Old Settlers’ Day are back.
While it may be a little too early to proclaim that COVID-19 has been beaten, there is definitely light at the end of what has been one of the most difficult years in recent history.
The virus is now manageable. And people, who choose to do so, can receive a vaccine that will be their “get out of jail free card” that will allow them to freely travel about the country, visit with family and friends or go visit a loved one in a nursing home.
After not being able to enjoy life as we once did prior to COVID-19, we need to be able to go back to enjoying life again.