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Optimism for the New Year
By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS Executive Vice President
Happy New Year! It is so good to have disastrous and deadly 2020 behind us. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of over 280,000 Americans as of early December. We are bracing ourselves for what medical experts state will be the fallout from super-spreader events held around the country at Thanksgiving, with families coming together despite medical guidance to the contrary.
We have so much to come together and be thankful for this year. I pray the medical experts are wrong about their fallout predictions. Laurie and I chose not to travel and be with family for Thanksgiving. It was a very tough decision to make, but necessary to, hopefully, move forward.
Five-time Grammy winner Dianne Reeves is the preeminent jazz vocalist in the world. As a result of her breathtaking virtuosity, improvisational prowess and unique jazz and R&B stylings, Reeves received a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album three years in a row—a first in any Grammy vocal category. In her hit song, “Better Days,” Reeves sings in the simply stated chorus, “You can’t get to no better days unless you make it through the night.”
How fitting that line is to what we currently face as a country with COVID-19. It seems long-awaited vaccines for this disease may be within a month of being rolled out. Some Americans could receive COVID-19 vaccinations before the end of 2020—most likely health care workers and residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, according to CDC guidelines. Two companies’ vaccines are in prime positions to be granted U.S. emergency use authorization next month: Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech and Moderna. If approval is granted, the first shots could be given as early as Dec. 21.
This news is promising. Regardless, we must continue taking all necessary precautions to ensure we continue delivering America’s mail, pharmaceuticals and essential services until we are finally clear of this pandemic and beyond to maintain the stability of America’s Postal Service.
During the pandemic, I have had the opportunity to participate in many Zoom conferences with our legislators. I am honored to raise the USPS banner and represent your commitment to leading our workforce day in and day out. I also make it a point to let our legislative leaders know of your commitment to do whatever is necessary to get the job done of moving America’s mail.
Thank you, once again, for proving me right. We delivered 65.2 million election ballots this campaign season. In doing so, we confirmed that America’s Postal Service is secure and safe and should be the preferred delivery method for our nation’s elections.
Please continue to be cautious and smart; stay safe.