By Joan Seko
Special to Northwest Asian Weekly
Jingle bells! Jingle bells!
It is a week before Christmas, and all through our nation, faces are covered in masks.
Masks that cover not only our faces, but our unhappiness and disdain. People wait for a gift of hope to celebrate the coming holiday season.
This change began at the beginning of the year in January. A world-wide pandemic changed our way of thinking and living.
A deadly respiratory infection called coronavirus spread rapidly through the world. It was fueled like gasoline poured onto a fire — with no end.
Summer came with some reprieve. Restaurants and bars reopened with fixed numbers of customers. Food pick-up service continued. Beauty salons gave much needed haircuts.
Scientists said the open air was better than enclosed spaces.
Planes were grounded with limited service. Travel was not recommended, but not everyone heeded. Borders were closed to people from entering or leaving the United States of America.
Cars sat in garages and driveways — filled with low price fuel with no place to go.
As we became isolated, the economy slowed. People began to lose jobs and hope. Small companies closed and only essential businesses remained open: hospitals, drugstores, doctor’s offices, grocery stores, dentist offices, gas stations, delivery companies, and banks. People learned to work from home, while big companies continued to thrive, and citizens survived or died.
Demonstrations erupted against the police due to police brutality caught on videos. George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, is killed by the police in Minneapolis. Signs and T-shirts with “Black Life Matters” appear. Peaceful demonstrators turn into mobs — breaking windows and stealing from destroyed businesses — causing havoc and fear.
Schools open and close and again reopen and close. Classes go viral and teachers use computers to educate the homebound students.
Social distancing becomes mandatory. Standing six feet apart becomes the norm. People rush past strangers at the grocery store. Floor decals show where it is safe to stand. Washing hands, wearing masks, and isolation keeps families and friends apart. No large gatherings to spread the virus is a must. Will the public follow the rules and help halt this horrific pandemic?
Unfortunately, not everyone believes there is a need.
Thousands of people stand in food lines waiting for staples they once took for granted.
Embarrassed, but a need to feed their families, keep them asking for necessary help. Food is rapidly disappearing as the line grows. Donations are much needed to refill the empty shelves.
The presidential election is over. Joe Biden and his vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, are waiting for their inauguration. President Donald Trump is still claiming the voting was illegal, and says he won.
Our Christmas gift has hopefully arrived. New vaccines from biopharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Moderna, AstaZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson have made a significant breakthrough.
The frontline workers will be the first to be vaccinated, as well as the elderly in nursing homes.
The determination of who will be vaccinated next will be hard to resolve. We need to thank all the people that volunteered to be test cases that led to these new vaccines. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your sacrifice.
It is a week before Christmas and the pandemic is rising. Wave after wave follow without letup.
The world watches thousands of people dying — leaving grieving loved ones and friends. We will remember this year of 2020 forever. 2020 has given us much sadness and unforgettable memories.
My question now is am I going to decorate my house and a Christmas tree? I am wondering, because the only one that will see my decorations will be me.
Joan Seko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.