There used to be an old saying: "Hang on, baby; Friday's coming." It didn't make much sense to people who work weekends, and thus see Friday as no real reprieve. But if the overarching message is that the end of a stressful period is in sight, then it could very well apply to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent reports indicate that the number of new cases is plummeting sharply now, from the overall peak of infections in early January. Those, of course, were attributed to holiday exposures, but even with Thanksgiving and Christmas out of the way, the U.S. - for the first time since November - had a day with fewer than 100,000 cases.

A number of factors are at play here. According to an article in The Atlantic, many Americans - even the freedom fighters who so ferociously refused to wear masks - have either gotten used to them or have grown resigned to their possible efficacy. Social distancing has come into play, too, and only an idiot with no understanding of how viruses work would deny steering clear of other humans could prevent infection.

Most experts agree seasonality is part of the equation - but Oklahomans are as aware as anyone that the warmer temperatures that typically thwart virus transmission aren't anywhere in evidence. It is possible, however, that the "herd immunity" folks have it right, to a degree; some of us - especially those who had been taking supplements, eating right and exercising - could be at least partly immune.

And then, there are the vaccinations. It's too early to be sure, but so far, they seem to be working. As we've reported, some who have gone through both inoculations have experienced side effects: some on the first round, some on the second. But most told us they weren't serious, and they'd rather suffer through those than the virus itself.

Those who are citizens of the Cherokee Nation can be grateful for the tribe's aggressive efforts to get everyone vaccinated. Things are a little slower on the state side of things, but this is to be expected, since Gov. Kevin Stitt's response to the pandemic hasn't been one of the best. Last we heard, he's still trying to recoup the $2 million in taxpayer dollars he wasted on hydroxychloroquine - which is effective at combating malaria, lupus and some forms of arthritis, but despite former President Trump's endorsement, not so good at warding off COVID-19.

There's reason for hope, and for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Keep wearing masks and social distancing, and when it's your turn, get your shots. It's true COVID might be with us for a long time, much like the flu, but by working together, we can at least stop the pandemic that has crushed so many economies.

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