It was two forward one back this year

If 2021 taught me anything it’s keep expectations low.

At 12:00:01 a.m., Jan. 1 things were looking bright.

The four-year reign of a narcissistic, lying, racist-enabling demagogue and his toadies was finally coming to a close. Donald Trump would be former President Donald Trump in a matter of weeks.

Vaccines against COVID-19, the virus that robbed the world of health and peace of mind, were approved and on their way to a broader swath of people.

The dawn of a new year brought new light, new hope.

Then on Jan. 6 a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an effort to overturn the November 2020 election that saw Trump ousted. The coup failed but the damage to the country’s psyche was done. Democracy had been attacked internally.

The vaccines made their way into millions of arms across the country. In San Diego county almost 78 percent of the population was fully vaccinated. At the state level COVID case rates were levelling off. By June enough progress had been made that most restrictions had been lifted and in July the country celebrated its “independence” from COVID-19.It was a premature party.

While COVID cases were levelling off so, too, were vaccinations. There were still plenty of unvaccinated people who would not engage in even the simplest of mitigation strategies: no vaccine, no mask.

By late summer the Delta variant of the virus had wrapped itself around our collective lungs and COVID cases skyrocketed, dampening the optimism that had emerged. Then at Thanksgiving an even more transmissible, vaccine evasive version of the virus erupted. The Omicron variant made its way around the world faster than a flying reindeer mainlining an energy drink. In response, indoor mask mandates have been ordered statewide through January. Vaccination rates, however, have only slightly moved up.

In Chula Vista and National City the leadership has actively encouraged the community to act for the benefit of everyone. Elsewhere, in places like El Cajon for example, the mayor there has prioritized the needs of a few over the many by downplaying face coverings and decrying vaccine requirements for students.

For every two steps forward we took this year, we have taken a significant one back. For some it will be into a grave.