The Post-Pandemic World Is Within Reach, If We Don’t Miss The Opportunity
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

I, like so many, initially thought we would transition quickly through COVID-19. I expected a relatively rapid return to the life and work I once had. Obviously, this has not been the case. Moving past the pandemic and managing its impacts will be incredibly challenging given what is now developing. Vaccine resistance may keep us stuck in reoccurring, and potentially long-term, pandemic reaction mode.

As a member of the Regional Control Room responsible for offering assistance in the reopening of Central New York, I have longed for the moment when vaccines would be available to everyone. I was convinced that we would rapidly move toward regaining control over our lives and begin to put the pandemic behind us. Now, this is threatened by trends that could be potentially very dangerous.

As the number of fully vaccinated people increases, more and more of us are beginning to return to more normal activities. While still using caution and proper protocols, this group is relatively safe and can start to operate without the fear we have known for so long. Vaccinated people are more protected from the virus, especially with the recent surge of the highly contagious and more dangerous UK variant, the most significant variant now in our community.

So, as the vaccinated group moves forward, others are more exposed as they begin to believe that they don’t need to worry about COVID because the numbers are flat or falling. A false sense of security can start to set in that could undermine all the progress we have made. We now have plenty of shots for arms. We need those arms to come forward so we can begin to put this behind us. This is our moment to win. We can’t afford to miss it.

As a former military officer, I know that one needs to advance on the opposition when the moment arises. Miss the moment, and battle can be lost. Lose the battle, and the war may turn against you. We now have COVID on the run in our community. Let’s advance quickly to win and return to more normal quickly. There is another reason to move now. The economy is beginning to heat up, and manufacturing is quickly coming back. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicated April showed growth in nearly every indicator of success. This growth has not been seen for a very long time. Companies are investing. Hiring is up. Optimism is high. This is our moment to advance. Vaccination is the key to maintain this momentum. It’s time to seize this moment.

We have done so well in fighting this disease and its consequences. Let’s finish the task together by getting vaccinated and encouraging everyone we know to do so. This is not only the right thing for manufacturers, it is what is needed in the communities we live within.