2020 has felt more like a decade than a year, and the exhaustion has certainly set in. This would have been a nasty year anyway with an election going on, but COVID-19 became the major stressor of the worst year many of us have ever experienced.

If you can see past all the arguing and negativity, you'll see friends and neighbors continuing to help each other in this time of need. One simple way most of us have accomplished this is by continuing to wear a mask when we go out in public and be mindful of how clean our hands are and what they touch.

As someone who cares for a relative who's particularly vulnerable to the worst effects COVID-19 can have on a human body, I am eternally grateful to those who've practiced these basic acts of decency and courtesy. I really cannot thank you enough.

Unfortunately, we can only slow the spread of the virus right now. We haven't been able to stop it in its tracks, and today Bell County reported its 100th and 101st deaths caused by the virus.

The first was a Killeen women in her 60's; the next, a Temple man in his 70's.

Each life lost to this virus is a tragedy, but if there's a positive to take away it's that Bell County's had a decent recovery rate compared to other parts of the nation harder hit. As of Tuesday, November 3, there were 6,600 reported cases in Bell County. 564 were active, while 5,935 were listed as "recovered".

Things could be much worse, but many in Central Texas have been mindful and have masked up. Let's keep that going.

"I know that COVID fatigue is firmly setting in, but I do ask that people please do their best to mitigate transmission of this virus by staying home if sick, social distance, mask if social distancing is not possible and maintain hand hygiene," Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell, Director of the Bell County Public Health District, said Tuesday. "Please stay safe and help us keep everyone as healthy as we can."

We're fighting an invisible enemy here, and it won't magically go away after the ballots have been counted. It's up to all of us to keep protecting ourselves and our fellow Texans.

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