Ever since I can remember, there’ve been certain constants on the calendar. Kids were in classrooms from September to May. Graduations were in late May or early June. Swimming lessons started in June, and the 4th of July meant parades, booths, baseball, and fireworks. July ended with the carnival and county fair.
These were traditions of our culture–appreciated, yes, but also taken for granted.
But this year, students quit going to school in March. Some kids got a few hours of on-line instruction each week, others more–and most less. Graduations were celebrated with driveby parades and on-line presentations.
Most public pools haven’t opened at all. And many town leaders–perhaps envisioning kids diving for candy thrown from floats and cars–are cancelling traditional Fourth of July parades. And carnivals are out–chances are 10,000 fingers would be grabbing those tilt-a-whirl rails between wipedowns.
Kids and their animals may compete at fairs without cotton candy, rides, or crowds. Weddings, milestone birthdays, and funerals already seem muted with limited attendees and careful hugs.
Idahoans are proud of their efforts to cope–and desperate to return to normal.
Since 2020 is a presidential year, some quadrennial traditions also need adapting.
Fortunately, Idaho moved swiftly to an all-mail general primary.
And, thanks to zoom, party committees have been able to conduct business without meeting physically.
Last Saturday more than 250 Democratic delegates joined in a virtual meeting to elect Idaho’s 25 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Plans for adopting resolutions and platform planks in August are still fluid.
So far, I’ve heard nothing about changes in the traditional National Convention schedule. Will the convention actually meet in person? Will masks, distancing, and hand sanitizers be enough?
Republicans are planning an in-person convention with all the precautions North Carolina requires. They won’t rewrite the platform though or see President Trump in person.
The President plans to accept his nomination in a well-packed stadium of 15,500 in Jacksonville, FL, the following Saturday. Some say the purpose of the change is to show a dense crowd to television audiences; others say, to gain more support in an important swing state.
The fear of a second wave clouds every plan. Twelve states–including Utah, Oregon, and California–have seen increased hospitalizations for coronavirus this month. And many are blaming that increase for the stock market dropping 6.9%–1,862 points–last Thursday.
But possibilities of a vaccine dance just out of reach and keep us moving forward. According to a recent Associated Press article, Oxford University has developed a vaccine and, though it still awaits approval, the distributor has signed agreements to deliver the first of millions of doses to eight countries, including the U.S., by the end of the year.
And leading pathologists with five research agencies published an article in Science (June 12) stating that the live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) developed in the mid 1950s may combat coronavirus by heightening general immunity. OPV is no longer used in the United States, but it is credited with cutting infant mortality greatly in African regions.
Deep in this article, the pathologists state that the measles vaccination, though not as effective as OPV, has a similar effect. Could that be the reason no Idahoans under 50 have died from COVID-19–and why many school children don’t show symptoms?
Meanwhile, schools are preparing for fall by trying to increase the spaces between desks–six feet isn’t possible, but maybe two?–and searching for ways to protect at-risk teachers.
And hopes are that voting at the polls will be an option in November.
A vaccine is coming, folks. Hang on.