To quote the great Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” If you had asked me six months ago, I would have guessed that we were largely past Covid. As I write this, the Omicron Covid variant is spreading like wildfire and creating another round of illnesses, restrictions, closings and cancellations. This time, the number of Covid cases is three to four times greater in some states versus the prior peaks. However, the Omicron variant does appear to cause less severe illness, even though it spreads more easily. This may help bring Covid to a faster conclusion. At present, experts are predicting a peak in cases in a couple of weeks. That would be welcome given that winter is just getting started, but with vaccines and boosters available, there is hope once again.
Many of us caught a glimpse of normalcy this past summer after vaccines were rolled out and the summer months allowed us to be outdoors. Restaurants, retail shops and stores reopened. Businesses, travel and leisure all picked up again. Schools went back to in class learning. Most people and places learned how to deal; deal with restrictions, adjustments and Covid itself. I think almost everyone wishes that we can get back to pre-pandemic life and routines. The odds are, we will. I’m just hoping that it happens sooner rather than later.
There is that word again: hope. This is what keeps us moving forward. At some point, using hindsight, we will look back (is that a Yogiism?) and see that the Covid pandemic helped create new technologies, new therapies, new treatments, new ideas, accelerated change, forced us to adapt, taught us about ourselves and human behavior, and that it wasn’t all bad. At least I hope so.
The team at First State again adjusted our working environment. We went from all in office (pre-pandemic), to all remote (peak Covid) to a hybrid model (current). We continually adjust our model to keep our team safe but to also ensure that we are servicing our clients and partners to the best of our abilities. Last year, was another terrific year for us as planning was a priority amidst the uncertainty. We came together, worked together and grew together. This is why I have hope and even more so, confidence.
I’m confident that we at FSTC will continue to move forward and do what we need to do both personally and professionally to succeed. I’m confident that we as a society will get past Covid and move forward. Although we are starting out rough, I’m confident we are in a better position than a year ago. So, although in many ways it does feel like déjà vu all over again, we will be writing a new and different chapter in 2022. Here’s to a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!
James Okamura, President
First State Trust Company
The posts expressed are views of FSTC and are not intended as advice or recommendations. For informational purposes only. FSTC does not offer tax, legal, or investment advice, professional counsel should be sought for tax or legal advice.