[COLUMN] Ahead of Thanksgiving: Jobs are up, unemployment rate down, vaccination rate now at 77%

Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

“MAKE no mistake: An effective plan to beat the virus is the ultimate answer to how we get our economy back on track. So we should stop thinking of the health and economic responses as separate.”

This was the prophetic message of then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden to the American people on April 12, 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was on an uptick in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

While former President Donald Trump was in denial of COVID-19, calling it a hoax, and was rushing to open the economy to boost his chances of re-election, Biden focused on outlining his plans to safely open America, sharing “An effective strategy to beat the virus is the ultimate answer to how we get our economy back on track” in an op-ed in the New York Times.

Fast forward to the present, under President Joe Biden, as of Friday, November 5, 2021, CNBC reported: The U.S. job market snapped back in October, with nonfarm payrolls rising more than expected while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

“Before we passed the American Rescue Plan, forecasters said it would take until the end of 2023 to get to the 4.6 unemployment rate,” Biden said, referring to the COVID-19 relief bill Congress passed earlier this year. “Today, we’ve reached that rate two years before forecasters thought it was possible.”

The CNBC report further stated: “Private payrolls were even stronger, rising 604,000 as a loss of 73,000 government jobs pulled down the headline number. October’s gains represented a sharp pickup from September, which gained 312,000 jobs after the initial Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate of 194,000 saw a substantial upward revision in Friday’s report.”

Along with this better-than-expected jobs numbers is the great news about the continuing rise of vaccination rates in the United States. “As of mid-October, 77% of eligible Americans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the White House,” the report revealed.

Biden reiterated the essence of his strategy laid out during the campaign season that has gotten us to this very good place in our process of recovery and building back our nation.

“For our economy to fully recover, we need to keep driving vaccinations up and COVID down,” Biden said in his remarks on the October jobs report from the White House.

Looking at the big picture of this recovery process, the CNBC report stated: “As vaccination rates have increased this fall, the spread of the highly contagious delta variant has slowed, from an average of 153,000 new cases daily in late July to about 67,000 at the start of November, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

I can’t help but look back to then Biden’s comprehensive plans with five basic elements that he would do as President to address COVID-19:

(1) test-and-trace,

(2) sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for all,

(3) science-based treatments and vaccines,

(4) steps to reopen safely and effectively, and

(5) protecting those at high-risk, including older Americans.

These, he has delivered and more, extending help to people around the world by delivering vaccine doses to countries that need them most, including the Philippines.

We were able to do this with our collective effort, except for some “pasaway” states and people that are the reasons for new confirmed cases and deaths.

We are grateful to have our leaders (at least most of them) who choose to serve our best interests, instead of their own political expediency and survival.

We are grateful that we have a better system of checks and balances in government to deter abuses and “kickbacks” so that the funds allocated to saving lives and rebuilding our economy goes to us, the people, instead of the pockets of politicians.

We are equally grateful for our citizens (most of us, at least)n who demand accountabilty from public oifficials accorded with public trust and the power that goes with their position in government, without being name-called and red-tagged by the Biden administration.

Thankfully, majority of Americans choose to be part of the solution rather than be part of the problem by getting vaccinated, and obeying public safety measures like wearing masks and observing social distancing especially in enclosed spaces. We outnumber and outlast the conspiracy theorists and disinformation agents who do not have the capacity nor the will to think of the greater good.

Vaccine and mask mandates from public and private sectors have also helped in mitigating the spread of the virus to save lives as we fight this war against the invisible enemy.

Looking ahead to the holiday season, we feel more empowered, and therefore more hopeful, as slowly but surely, we are on our road to recovery and the normal life we all miss.

Maybe our kababayans in the Philippines can learn from our experience.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at gelrelos@icloud.com, or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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