Could anyone had predicted one year ago that a major topic in Presidential debates and campaigns would revolve around mask-wearing? It has been that crazy of a year. We actually started the year with some semblance of normalcy, at least for a Presidential election year. But in late winter the entire world changed very quickly. The next seven months were as far away from normalcy as we could possibly get. The President, the First Lady, and Senators contracting COVID just put an exclamation point on the normalcy equation.
The year is so abnormal that CNN and Moody's Analytics revealed a "back-to-normal" index as it relates to the economy. That index has showed the economy running at about 80% of normal in early fall. But the term normal is not defined just by the economy. Certainly, life is not normal. Normal includes children going to school, sporting events, where we live and work – and even the way we vote. For example, a minority of voters are expected to vote in-person on election day, a complete reversal of previous years. Of course, normal today includes wearing masks.
The next question is--how long will it take to get back to normal? The answer is not likely to come from politics, but from the world of medicine. This has been the wild card from day one. This equation includes testing, sanitization, drug therapies, and vaccines. It also includes preventing future pandemics – something that is getting very little play in the news today but could become the most important question after we get back to normal. Could the mask debate go on past this pandemic?