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Page last updated on December 30, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Hi, it's Mayor John Hamilton. It's Monday, December 27th, 2021. I just thought I'd share with you a little retrospective of the year. We've been sharing messages every week, all this year, and dealing with the pandemic. And it's been an extraordinarily challenging year. We think back to a year ago at the start of 2021; we desperately worried about what was happening with the pandemic. It was killing a lot of Americans, a lot of Hoosiers, a lot of our fellow Bloomingtonians regularly. The vaccines were just coming out, but we were really worried about where we would head and then, over the next six months, people lined up to get shots in arms. I remember the feeling was so great, that extraordinary work of our scientific community in this country and around the world who helped make vaccines possible. How excited so many of us were to get that protection.

Millions did in the state, tens of millions in the country. We were pointed toward a pretty wonderful summer. We had stronger controls here in Monroe County, to be sure. We kept people as safe as we could with the campus and everything else. And I think that worked very well. We did a good job locally and things were looking pretty good in the summer. You remember July 4th as the goal for really trying to get together again.

Then two things hit at once. One, we didn't have enough people vaccinated. There were too many of us who, for various reasons, opted not to get vaccinated. And then the Delta variant hit, a mutation of the virus. And that really exploded across the country, across the world in Indiana and in Bloomington and caused a major setback in terms of disease and death and hospitalization.

We worked very hard through the fall to address that, continuing to be careful. And then we thought we were making progress. And then just lately Omicron hit as well. Another variant, that's more communicable, hitting many people. We don't know exactly its impact.

Now I want to note the incredible gratitude we should all show to the healthcare workers, the professionals who've helped so many of us, including my own family, and so many of us deal with the really difficult impacts of this virus, from death to hospitalization, lost time at work and with family and others.

Thank you for the healthcare workers and all the workers who've kept our community humming from public safety folks to other city government employees, bus drivers, and sanitation workers. And of course all across our private sector and nonprofit sector as well, all the people who help make things work, keep us safe, keep us fed, keep us employed. Thank you for all that.

I want to note that there is still uncertainty about where we're headed. Now, there is certainty that if more of us got vaccinated, we would be in a much better place. It is extremely unfortunate that science has been pushed to a backseat and there’s misinformation, political infighting and tribalism. Actually, it's just quite extraordinary and unfortunate. This is a public health emergency, public health expertise and science can get us out of it. We know it can. It is the vaccination and getting boosters and staying distanced and not sharing air, using masks to avoid when we're at risk. I really appreciate all of you who've done that. Looking back over this year, we just have to be so grateful for the amazing work of so many of our fellow Bloomingtonians.

And of course, across the state and nation who've given of themselves. This isn't about what's the best thing for me as an individual. It's about how we get through it together. That's the spirit that our healthcare providers have given us and that so many others have. It's going to take all of us to realize, we each have to take some steps to get us all through this. It shouldn't be us against them. It should be us together. And I hope that's something we can take out of this year.

It's been exhausting for so many, challenging for so many. Sorry, this message is a little longer than usual, but just looking back over the year, I wanted to thank you so much for all that you do in our community. And just urge each of us to think about how I help my family, my community, my school, my workplace, my church, my faith organization.

How do I help all of us move forward and stay safe? And really, the evidence is clear. For those who are not medically contraindicated, it's doing the right thing and getting the booster after a vaccine. And that's how we're going to finally get through this. Most of us have done that, but not all of us. So that's the 2021 story. I'll keep you updated on this as we go forward.

I don't know if this rhythm will change in 2022, but in the meantime, I'm glad we've made it through 2021. Thanks again for what you do. And I appreciate you all attending to how we each can take a step to help everyone else be safer and move our community forward. I wish you the very best for the rest of this holiday season and a very happy, healthy, successful 2022. I hope it may come your way.