That Was The Year That Was
Some of you may recognise the heading of this piece as a pun on a satirical TV show from the early 60s. However, I doubt that even the comedy geniuses involved in that programme would be able to make much fun out of 2020.
This year is undoubtedly exhibit ‘A’ as to why it is folly to try and make predictions. Who knew that whilst we were stuffing ourselves with turkey twelve months ago, in Wuhan there was a Pangolin and Bat dinner being concocted that would change the World? To be fair the queues of trucks at Dover were predicted but not because of an invisible virus but rather the much hyped Brexit! Aahh, the Brexit, if only that was all we had to worry about. The good old days indeed.
There is no arguing the last year has been difficult and for a lot of us the hardest we have ever experienced. However, I remind myself that compared to previous generations, and maybe even a few of you, who had to live through a World War and suffer food rationing for a further nine years after it ended, I haven’t got much to complain about.
Never knowing if you would see your loved one again as you waved them off to war, or whether your house would still be there once a bombing raid had finished, puts not being able to go out for a meal, travel abroad and being frustrated at only being able to see family and friends through a computer screen into perspective. Thankfully for the vast majority of us it is really only inconveniences such as these that we have had to live with although I am conscious that not everyone has been in as fortunate a position.
However, when the news is as gloomy as it is at present and the peddlers of doom in the media rush to put out headlines about a ‘mutant virus’, looking ahead to better times is essential for morale and I do not believe they are as far away as they may appear just now. This belief is not simply a case of seeing every glass as half full but based on facts.
Firstly, never bet against humans as we are amazing animals. I suspect in twenty years we will look back at the time it took us to develop a working vaccine and laugh, but in our lifetimes we have never witnessed as much cooperation between pharma companies with the result being a vaccine produced in such a short time. Not many believed we would be able to start vaccinations this year, with the middle of 2021 being the consensus when the virus struck nine months ago, but we did it.
We should also be proud that the UK was the first country in the world to start vaccinating its citizens and as I write 500,000 have already had their first dose. The following website is tracking the number of people that have been vaccinated throughout the world www.ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations and we are well ahead of the rest in doses administered per 100,000 population. Our neighbours in Europe are due to start vaccinations on the 27th and I suspect the media would have had a field day if we had been at the back of the queue.
The Pfizer vaccine is only one of many that are likely to be approved in the coming weeks and the one produced by Astra Zeneca/Oxford Sciences is likely to be the biggest game changer given it can be stored and transported far easier than the Pfizer version. The UK has ordered 100m doses of this particular vaccine so don’t worry, there will be plenty to go around.
By the end of January it is possible the most vulnerable and those that care for them will have all been given the opportunity to be vaccinated. After that it will be done by age group or those with serious health complaints. If you want to get an idea of where you are in the queue try the following calculator www.omnicalculator.com/health/vaccine-queue-uk If it goes as expected I might get my letter in May.
I suspect the combination of vaccination and the number of people that have had the virus will mean we should get to the point of herd immunity sooner than the headlines would have you believe. I am confident that when this happens, economically, it will be like a dam bursting and the pent-up demand will result in a big jump in spending.
Nearly everyone I talk to says they have more money than they had pre-pandemic with their holidays being refunded and not having much opportunity to socialise. It is not only people in my orbit that appear to be in that position. Walking to the local shop the other day I was behind a couple of women gossiping about friends of theirs who couldn’t believe how much more money they have saved as a result of not being able to go out every weekend for a ‘bevvy’. Bonnie Scotland – Wha’s like us!
So it looks as though a few of the pubs in the West Fife area can look forward to at least two of their customers returning with bulging wallets but I suspect they are not alone and when we are able to socialise once again getting a reservation in a restaurant or airline tickets will be like hens teeth. This may well lead to higher prices but I will leave that topic for another day…
As I said at the start making predictions is unwise and no doubt 2021 is going to have surprises, but unlike the unmourned year we will soon be leaving, I have a feeling they are likely to be more good than bad.
Until then Merry Christmas to you and your families and I can assure you everyone at ASAM looks forward to seeing you in the flesh once again sometime in 2021.