A new year typically brings about hope for a fresh start.
At least many on Guam are hoping for that outcome after spending nearly all of 2020 under COVID-19 lockdown.
“I guess (I’m) hopeful that COVID goes away and that times get better,” said Jessica Kerr.
In March 2020, the novel coronavirus landed on Guam. The governor shut down most of the island’s businesses and government agencies, including schools. Though the governor started lifting restrictions slowly in December, the island closed out 2020 in Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1.
There has been some hope for a better year as Guam has received and begun administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Officials warn, however, that people must continue to use face masks, wash hands and practice social distancing. The immunization of the general public, for those who want it, is expected sometime this summer or fall.
Kerr is resolved to make the most of the new year, whatever it brings. The Mongmong resident said she is ready to mark several things off her resolution checklist.
“Lose weight. Get back into shape. Visit the beach more, and more local things,” she said. “Live my best life in 2021.”
Chalan Pago resident Bruce Dinsman and others shared the same feeling as Kerr.
“Get this stupid stuff over with,” said Dinsman. “The pandemic that really isn’t a pandemic. I’m a businessman and I want to get back to work.”
Dinsman said he just wants to see the island bounce back from all the struggles that came with the pandemic.
“One thing that I do like that this has done is people are staying more connected, even though they are staying apart. That is actually a good thing,” he said.
For another Chalan Pago resident, the hope for 2021 is simply a better year.
“I hope for this coronavirus to be over with and a way for me to better the life we have now,” said Joseph Sgambelluri.
Healthier body, mind and finances
And while Dededo resident Lourjean Lapuebla agrees with Sgambelluri on making a better year and Dinsman on getting rid of the virus, she’s trying to start some healthy financial habits.
“I want to finish the pandemic and have a better 2021,” said Lapuebla, a Dededo resident. “I am worried that there is a lot of people that may get sick again.”
Lapuebla looks forward to saving more money this year.
“My resolution is to stop spending,” she said. “Spend less, love more and give more.”
Sharing that sentiment of positivity, Santa Rita resident Lorna Leon Guerrero said she’s not trying to change her life so much as she wants a fresher and more balanced perspective.
“I just want better health in general. But still being mindful that things may change and things may not. Just being positive and remember that your family and health is more important than doing other things that we miss. Just make the most of the way things are now,” said Leon Guerrero, a Santa Rita resident. “There is so much to worry about, so I just take it as it comes.”
Prayers for loved ones
For mixed martial arts fighter Justin Cruz, the new year brings hope, not for himself, but for his grandmother.
She was admitted to Guam Regional Medical City more than a month ago, said the Ordot resident.
“She’s not infected by COVID, but it’s for other health conditions,” said Cruz. “It’s been hard for our family. We’ve had some tough times. We are just hoping that she can come home and spend it with us this week.”
Ultimately, he expects to enter the new year celebrating with his loved ones.
“We are not going to let 2020 hold us down,” he said.