December 18, 2020
Counting our Blessings –– Issue #111

As we near a blessed close to 2020, all of us at the Galen Institute wish you and the world a better 2021.

Reflecting on this unprecedented year, our first thoughts and prayers go to those who have lost loved ones to Covid and to those who have suffered and even died in tragic isolation from family and friends. I lost my mother in 2017 and often wonder how on earth she would have survived such isolation from my brother and me.

We have written a great deal throughout the year here at Galen about the impact of often-misguided decisions by public officials to try to contain the virus, but, for now, we mourn the human costs—small business owners who poured their hearts and souls into their shops, restaurants, and other passions only to face lockdowns that made it impossible for them to survive.  Doctors struggling to keep their practices open.  School children who have lost months of learning and social engagement with peers.  Parents who have grappled heroically with teaching their children at home while working demanding full-time jobs in closets, bedrooms, and basements. Grandparents who haven’t seen grandchildren in months…

And yet, through it all, America has prevailed and sometimes even soared.  Pfizer came through again—the first to get FDA approval for a novel vaccine for the novel coronavirus using a novel biological mechanism—messenger RNA (mRNA).  The New York-based pharmaceutical company, partnering with BioNTech, was so confident that its vaccine would work that it began production months ago to be ready to deliver millions of doses as soon as it was cleared by the FDA. The planning and wartime mobilization of distributing the vaccines is awe-inspiring.

One of the newest pharmaceutical companies, Moderna (partnering with Lonza), is close on Pfizer’s heels with its own mRNA vaccine. Many more vaccines and treatments will be widely available soon.

And an important lesson from all of this is how successful it is when government and the private sector are empowered to work as partners rather than adversaries.  The Trump administration has rewritten the rules of engagement, and it is a model for the future.

The genius of our people and economy created countless responses—from a restaurant in Leesburg, VA, that has given away thousands of free lunches to people working to keep the economy going, to doctors and nurses that have learned on the fly how to better treat Covid patients and dramatically reduce the death rate, to companies using Zoom and so many other technologies to keep businesses running, innovating, and even thriving.

So best wishes to you, your family, and your loved ones as we celebrate the miracles of Christmas and Hannukah and the blessings of living in this great country.
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