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As Thanksgiving approaches, what exactly are we supposed to be thankful for in this dumpster-fire-of-a-year that is 2020?

Plenty.

To be sure, 2020 is a year to remember — for all the wrong reasons. We've been pummeled by negative news between an election and racial issues that have caused immense divisiveness in our country. Not to mention the elephant in the room that's sickened and killed many people, canceled events, caused us to stay away from each other, spiked unemployment and caused even more division.

A century from now, future generations will likely associate 2020 with one thing: the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is much more to this year, and not all of it is negative.

Here are just a few of the things we are thankful for this year:

Spending more time with our families. We've been forced to isolate, quarantine, and generally stay away from friends and social events this year. But that's forced us to slow down and spend more quality time with our families. Time to dust off that Monopoly board and teach the children who's the real tycoon in the family.

The economy. Yes, the economy took a huge hit from COVID. But it's shown incredible resilience since. The stock market is booming. Unemployment is on the decline. State revenue is doing better than expected. Net general revenue collections for September 2020 increased 3.0 percent compared to those for September 2019, from $917.3 million last year to $944.5 million this year. Jobs are available for those who want work. Minimum wage jobs are plentiful, and there are openings for higher-paid jobs as well.

Vaccines. Two vaccine candidates have reached nearly 95 percent effectiveness in Phase 3 clinical trials. That's incredible news and something many health experts didn't think would be possible just a few months ago. With this early success, we're cautiously optimistic we could start returning to normal next year. Eventually, it might mean virtually eliminating the virus, rather than having to live with it each year like influenza.

These are some of the things for which we are thankful. Choose your own reasons, or feel free to borrow ours. The important thing to remember is, no matter how bad things are, no matter how down we are, there's always room for gratitude.

What are you thankful for this year? Let us know at [email protected]

News Tribune

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