COVID-19 plan needs clear path to recovery

During President Biden’s Inaugural address, the President said, “A once in a century virus that silently stalks the country has taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II.”  Over the last thirteen (13) months, this silent stalker has caused significant physical harm, mental harm and economic harm. President Biden’s analogy of battling COVID-19 and the harm caused by WWII makes for an interesting comparison.

With any war, we the people of our great country ought to ask and deserve to know what milestones we need to achieve to declare victory. When do we move from fighting a battle to defending our expectation of recovery?

In our history, endless wars without objective milestones that mark victory have prolonged and exacerbated the war’s negative impact. We cannot allow the same to occur in our fight against the current pandemic. At what point can we move from war to recovery? The time to ask is now. And here’s why.

Knowing when we can confidently declare that we are ready to move from fearing a virus to fighting for recovery is important for several reasons.

First, a move from war to recovery will encourage individuals to get vaccinated. Why consider and pursue the option, if greater freedoms and resuming a sense of normalcy isn’t a clear reward?

Secondly and conversely, failing to have clear and objective guidelines as to what constitutes crossing from battle to recovery leaves room for confusion; doubt in the stability of our country and fear mongering – including fear mongering over the vaccines and their benefit.

Third, the absence of a critical path to recovery and ultimately victory results in a piecemeal, ad hoc approach potentially individualized by each state, instead of one nation. We. Are. One. Nation. We cannot allow the virus to further the division and discord that has plagued the United States over the last year.

The world is a better place when the United States plays a leadership role.

The United States needs to set a global example to the world. Crossing a definitive line to recovery will encourage the global economy to open in a manner that is safe, but also respectful of the global economy and the need for it to continue to provide opportunity.

Fourth, as Americans, living off government stimulus cannot be the American Dream realized. Let’s get back to earning a fair livelihood through hard work, commitment and risk.

Lastly, a recent news piece featured pictures of Americans burning facemasks. Americans are growing weary of thirteen months of lockdowns and continued prescriptive measures that lack a declarative “until.” An “until” that defines at what point, metric, or milestone will we move beyond these measures. At this point in the pandemic, the continuation of current prescriptive measures without sight of a finish line could also lead to an unnecessary overcorrection and a potential overreach of governmental authority that violates basic freedoms of Americans.

We have three vaccines and a fourth vaccine candidate in the regulatory approval process, along with continued advancement in therapeutic treatments. Internationally, other countries have also provided vaccines. Israel has opened up their country based on their vaccination rate. The United Kingdom has set their country’s reopening date to June 21. They have established milestones.   

We want to get back to the business of America in a manner that is safe and minimizes this “silent stalker’s” continued harm. The time is now for us to ask about the key milestones and critical path for the road to recovery. Our industry, and so many others are counting on it. This is about America continuing to lead, no different than it did after World War II, in making the world a better place where hurt, fear and discord are replaced with healing, courage and industry.

Yes, we can together!

Submitted by the Ocala-based HDG Hotels executive team: Navroz Saju, co-founder and principal; Azim Saju, CEO and president; Lisa Lombardo, chief people and culture officer; Jeff Bailey, COO; Raymond Manaois, chief innovation and systems officer; Donna Arthur, vice president of hotel excellence and Billy Gilchrist, chief development and finance officer.

Posted in News, Opinion

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