This article appeared in the November 17, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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The need for compassion, as pandemic fatigue meets political exhaustion

Bing Guan/Reuters
Registered nurse Deb Grabo prepares for her shift at a drive-through testing site inside the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Oct. 26, 2020. A spike in COVID-19 cases has stretched the capacities of many U.S. hospitals and their workers.

In America it seems to be a season of exhaustion. There’s public weariness with social distancing rules as social holidays approach. There’s political fatigue after a divisive election. And many health care workers feel near the end of their physical and emotional strength as COVID-19 caseloads rise.

For some it may be tempting to capitulate to the weariness. Headlines tell us that coronavirus vaccines are coming, as is a new president. Can we just wait things out?

Whether or not one is hopeful for positive changes in 2021, there’s a case for meeting fatigue right now with compassion and the steadiness of persistence. And many Americans are doing just that. 

Last week, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky pledged a gift of $10 million to support pandemic front-line workers. “As we go into the holiday season, many of them will continue to work almost impossibly long hours to serve others and save lives,” Mr. Chesky said. 

Linda Feldmann’s lead story in today’s Daily explores what President-elect Joe Biden can do during these next few transitional months. 

Congress has its own fatigue test after months of failed negotiations. Key pandemic assistance is set to expire in December, including unemployment benefits for self-employed and gig workers.

Jason Furman, a former top economist in the Obama administration, urges both sides to get busy now. For Democrats in Congress, he says, “The idea that we can get a better deal if we delay until February is both wishful thinking and ignores the suffering now.”

This article appeared in the November 17, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/17 edition
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