It’s important to say ‘Thank you’

A sign reading "Heroes work here" is shown outside MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas April 2, 2020. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

On a global scale, the past 12 months have taken a terrible toll on the economy and health of humanity.

As of this writing, more than 150 million people have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.  In the United States, we have 29 million confirmed cases.

In Montana, 10% of the population has tested positive for the virus and at we’ve have likely had at least two to three times that many unconfirmed cases.  Staggering numbers that are exponentially higher than early estimates and have caused tremendous loss for most of humanity, with 2.5 million people paying the ultimate price.

Without minimizing the widespread suffering caused by COVID, I aim to point out a few reasons to be thankful during these difficult times.

First, thank you frontline heroes.  Think of all the people who have heroically put their own health at risk by rushing to the need of others and keeping supply lines open.  Any attempt to list them leaves out so many.  A big portion of society are providing the care, service and production required to maintain our dignity and meet our needs.

Second, thank you scientists. If science can perform miracles, the global vaccines that have been developed in record time should qualify.  Other candidates for scientific miracles are a range of COVID testing and treatment advancements – also developed in record time.

Third, thank you technologists. The creation and adoption of technologies to monitor health, conduct financial transactions at arms’ length, and deliver goods and services has been amazing.  As Americans, this is the worst pandemic we have seen since the Spanish flu in the early 20th century – a time when healthy communication, education, meetings, and commerce was much more difficult.

For me personally, I have two hospitality businesses in Butte, Montana and understand how hard it is for a small business to survive this mess.  Our bar has been closed for nearly a year due to health concerns and restrictions, our hotel is operating with a skeleton staff because of restrictions on meetings and events, and yet, my biggest worry is for neighboring businesses.  If people don’t have restaurants to eat at, places to shop or events to attend, they travel elsewhere.

While it is a dire picture at all levels and for most of humanity, we hope everyone will join us in recognizing how much worse off we would be if not for the heroic efforts of many and tremendous advancements in science and technology that have helped us in this time of need.

Thank you frontline heroes who are distributing food and caring for the sick.

Thank you immunologists and scientists who worked all hours to develop vaccines and treatments in record time.

Thank you technologists who have developed so many tools and systems that enable human connections and allow essential commerce via electronic payments; both in a socially distant way.

As many of us have been surviving, some have been heroically serving others and solving hard problems in record time. I am in awe of the smart and hardworking people around the world who are doing so much to make things better for all of us.

Joseph J. Adams has a range of business interests which include co-ownership of the Hotel Finlen and Cavalier Lounge in Butte. He was a senior economic advisor to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and its Chairman. Later, an economics professor at Montana Tech University. He lives in Butte, Montana.