As we pass the final hours of 2020, Ford is asking Americans to #FinishStrong in a new campaign to encourage people to maintain safe behaviors and look out for one another as the country approaches what is expected to be a major turning point in the coronavirus pandemic.
"We’re in this together, and Ford’s goal since the pandemic started has been to try to help save lives," said Ford executive Kumar Galhotra. "While many are weary from the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, now is the time for us to pull together, protect each other and finish strong until COVID-19 vaccines arrive more broadly. Lives are on the line."
Ford tapped "Breaking Bad" and "Malcolm in the Middle" star Bryan Cranston to narrate and filmmaker Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights") for the 35-second spot announcing the effort, which kicks off January 1. The campaign acknowledges the country's general pandemic weariness, encouraging Americans to tough it out — wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distance until a critical mass of vaccinations can help turn the tide.
"The COVID pandemic has tested us all in ways we could not have imagined a year ago," Berg said. "People are weary, beat down, and it would be easy to let our guard down now. But we have to keep fighting for each other; we’re almost there. As we enter 2021, we wanted to help inspire Americans to come together and save lives until the vaccines arrive in numbers. We need to finish strong. We got this."
A commitment to vaccination and other preventative and protective measures "could save 50,000 lives in the months ahead," Ford said in its announcement, citing the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, which warned that the country's pandemic death toll could climb as high as 770,000 if current mask-wearing and distancing trends continue.
"Mass scale-up of vaccination in 2021 means we have a path back to normal life, but there are still a few rough months ahead," said Dr. Christopher Murray, IHME director. "We must be vigilant in protecting ourselves at least through April, when, as our projections indicate, vaccines will begin to have an impact."