Our lives have been turned upside down, the economy is sputtering and more than 1.8 million people have died -- 350,000 of them in the US, more than any other country in the world.
As a nation, the US is exhausted. American hospitals and health care workers are overwhelmed. The grief and trauma are piling up. The vaccine rollout is behind schedule, a new strain of the virus has emerged and experts fear a post-holiday explosion of new cases and hospitalizations.
The next few months will likely be dark and painful. But there's a promise of light on the horizon. With two vaccines approved in the US and more on the way, there's hope for a gradual return to normalcy -- whatever that looks like in a post-pandemic world.
The next few months will be rough;
Officials will have to move faster on vaccinations;
The vaccines won't protect people right away;
Scientists worry more cases of a new strain will emerge;
But there's hope of herd immunity in 2021.