Carson Conversation: Looking at 2021 in the rearview mirror (Voices)

Ronni Hannaman is executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

Ronni Hannaman is executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy Photo

It’s traditional at this time of year to reflect on the year past, and for the most part this could have been a redo of 2020, although we listened less to the frantic news media daily pumping us with information on the most recent variant.

Many of us rolled up our sleeves to get the required number of “jabs” to put this latest pandemic into the history books.

Carson City and Washoe County have consistently led the state in number of shots administered. We also wore our pesky masks hoping to keep the pandemic at bay.

The first worldwide pandemic was the Spanish Flu in 1918-1919, killing up to 5.4% of the world’s 1.8-billion population, reportedly up to 50 million. More recently, HIV/AIDS first burst forth globally in 1981, causing 36.3 million deaths to date.

In comparison, as of November 25, COVID-19 and variants has caused 5.2 million deaths worldwide out of a population of 7.9 billion, according to the World Health Organization. We can thank our amazing scientists and medical community and the volunteers who participated in clinical trials for their fast response.

Nevada felt this pandemic where it hurts most: the hospitality industry. Las Vegas continues to lead the state in number of infections and deaths, because Clark County is 2/3 of the state population. As of this writing, the death toll is at 7,972, of which 6,161 are attributed to that county. Washoe County has recorded 966 deaths with Carson City at 168.

As we hunkered down again this year, many learned how to work from home trying to balance home and work life. Some left jobs to reflect. The “Great Resignation” left many businesses short staffed and wages going far above “minimum.”

The retail and restaurant industries continue to be the hardest hit in part because of the interaction with less-than-patient customers. The auto industry was turned upside down due to chip shortages.

In most of Northern Nevada there was — and continues to be — a housing/apartment boom. Builders just can’t keep up with the demand. The buyers and renters are there, no matter the cost of housing caused by shipping shortages, price of lumber and all the underlying factors blamed on the pandemic.

New businesses opened doors while once venerable businesses closed theirs. Prices of goods and services soared and now we are experiencing another downfall of the pandemic — the highest inflation rate in 31 years. Whether real or not, shortages in this or that continue to be reported by the press, causing a buying frenzy. How this inflation will affect business in 2022 is yet to be seen.

Overall, Carson City weathered yet another COVID year, and through the many federal stimulus dollars, much needed infrastructure repair is in the works, and the nonprofit community continues to provide services for which so many are dependent.

As we approach the holiday season, there is hope 2022 will find us returning to “normalcy” —whatever that may look like. This pandemic seems not yet to have an end in sight, but we can only wish for the best and encourage all to vaccinate.

“Carson Conversation” is a monthly NNBW Voices column authored by Ronni Hannaman, executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. Reach her for comment at


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