New year, same as the old year? Let’s hope not.

With 2021 now a reality and 2020 a not-s0-distant nightmare, questions often asked are things like “when will things return to normal?” Perhaps a better question should be “what is normal?” or “will we ever see anything close to normal again?”

Floyd County set an unwanted record of daily infections topping 5,000 on Thursday and then saw more than 5,000+ again on New Year’s Day. The second day’s total was slightly below Thursday’s record but health experts expect to see infections climb even more as new numbers show increased infections from those who ignored the advice and traveled over the Christmas Holidays to visit family.

The new daily count for Jan. 2 was down to 3,989, but health officials warn that lower counts right after a holiday can be a false read because of delays in reporting in some areas.

To make matters worse, distribution and inoculations with the vaccines are proceeded more slower than expected and even those on the priority list will are not likely to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

To paraphrase an old Mafia axiom: Welcome to the new year, same as the old year.

The U.S. Treasury Department also says it starting mailing checks out for the $600 per person second round of COVID-19 payments and some of those with direct deposit on file with the Internal Revenue Service starting getting their deposits on Wednesday.

Of course, with millions of these payments going out, it will probably be awhile before most of us start seeing them.

Schedule changes continue in local high school sports. Planned home basketball games by the varsity Buffaloes and Lady Buffs against James River were scheduled for Monday, starting at 5:30 but were moved to Tuesday with the boys playing first at 5:30 and the girls at 7:30 on what could be Senior Night for the Lady Buffs.

JV and Varsity Lady Buffs are set to travel to Pulaski on Wednesday. Please, don’t let it happen.

You may have missed it, but the Rose Bowl, of sorts, was played on New Year’s Day, but it was in Arlington, Texas, not Pasadena, CA, and had the only family of the players in the mostly empty stands. The game was moved after the coach of Notre Dame threatened to boycott the game because California rules would not allow families to attend under its COVID-19 rules.

A crowd of about 18,373 watched as Alabama destroyed the Fighting Irish 31-14. In the other semi-final match on New Year’s Day, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Ohio State trampled Clemson 49-28, before about 3,000 in the stands.

The Crimson Tide meets the Buckeyes for the National Championship game on Jan. 11.

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