As I put pen to paper it is Thanksgiving in the States and I can’t believe that millions of Americans have lost leave of their senses by choosing to travel in the midst of a pandemic. Dr. Fauci, the country’s leading expert in infectious diseases, told CBS News that people in airports “ are going to get us into more trouble than we’re in right now”. Elsewhere talking about the onset of the holiday season combined with the cold weather, he said you could see “ 2,000 or 3,000 deaths a day”. And “ you are approaching a really stunning number of deaths”. The whole thing is mind-boggling. It is like the United States of America is suffering 9/11 every single day. It is profoundly shocking that this is the way it is turning out in the most advanced nation on earth. Then, how many Americans believe Donald Trump won the election ?
All of this makes me very grateful that I live here and in this respect I hope people are sensible over the Christmas holidays. I hold the view that we all bear a personal responsibility to stop the transmission of the disease. The Government gives us guidance and a framework but the rest is up to us. Many of us have heard of acts of collective madness that have led to the spread of the disease. These must stop. Even within families we must show restraint. This Christmas is about seeing that those we love are still around next Christmas.
The big news, of course, is that there are vaccines coming down the track. On Wednesday Emer Cooke, the Irish-born Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, said all going well, several vaccines could be approved before Christmas. Wow, I said to myself – freedom is in sight. Then news emerged of a rather confusing picture on the data attached to the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is the one that shows such global promise because it would be relatively inexpensive and easy to deliver. In short, some volunteers participating in their test programme received a half-dose in one of their doses and the results were a very significant improvement in efficacy. The company calls this “serendipity”, regulators might call it something else. Still I hope that what Boris Johnson has said “ has the makings of a wonderful British scientific achievement” wins through, because the Oxford team is led by the Irish and they are not motivated by profit.
So as President Trump pardons a turkey and prepares to take his delusional self off to a luxurious exile in Palm Beach, what can we expect of President Elect Biden. Well for starters we will definitely have a friend in the White House. He is a man of character who values family and also most importantly for us his Irish roots. Apart from displaying a willingness to talk to RTE it will be interesting to see whether he has any influence on the Brexit talks. Biden’s White House will feel completely different from the Trump Show. Make America great again will be consigned to the bin. Honour and decency will really matter. Joe Biden has had a very long journey to the Presidency. In the course of that journey he has had to endure great personal pain. It has strengthened him. He will make a science-based rational America great again.