In our blog on New Year’s Eve, we quoted Victor Hugo: “Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise”. 2020 mentally and physically challenged everyone, so you’re forgiven for lacking any positivity leading into 2021. But with the traction the fight against COVID has had, read on and you may feel a little more optimistic.
At face value the first few days of January appeared bleak. Vaccines were yet to be approved and a rapid rise in infections across the UK meant another national lockdown was pending.
It’s hard to take a step back when you’re at the centre of a pandemic, yet it’s important to reflect and acknowledge how far we have come in the face of adversity. Reiterating that the direction of travel we are on, is a promising one.
On January 4th 2021, the 3rd national lockdown became a reality, following the rapid rise in infections attributed to the new variant, discovered in Kent on September 20th 2020. Scientists believed it to be 50-70% more transmissible and hospital admissions had now surpassed those of April 2020.i With some reports suggesting it had increased by some 40%, those numbers continued to rise too.
Yes, we are in another national lockdown and the consistent themes from 2020 have resumed. Schools have closed, the hospitality sector has had to close its doors once again and revised travel restrictions are in place. Yet this time around, whilst it may feel the same, it is actually different.
We have a vaccine. In fact, there are now a handful being distributed globally. In the same week that lockdown was announced, the UK’s National Health Service became the first in the world to deploy the life-saving jab, having been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It was also the only approved vaccine that can be stored at fridge temperatures, as opposed to some vaccine candidates that need to be stored in conditions colder than Antarctica.
The government has secured 100 million doses of the vaccine on behalf of the UK, and its Crown dependencies and overseas territories. More than half a million doses were immediately available, with tens of millions more to be delivered in the coming weeks and months. Over 730 vaccination sites
have been established across the UK, with hundreds more opening within days to take the total to over 1,000, helping those who are most at risk from COVID, to access vaccines for free, regardless of where they live.ii
At the time of writing (2nd February 2021) 9,296,367 people have received their first dose of the vaccination and 494,209 have received their second. The UK population is 68,096,079 as of Tuesday, February 2.iii That’s approximately 13.5% of the UK population vaccinated in four weeks. This is a considerable effort and should be recognised as a win in the grand scheme of things for all, when coordinating a roll out of immunisations on such a huge scale. Darker days are behind us and there are multiple reasons to believe, little by little, that in 2021 life will resume as we know it.
The lockdowns may be tough and no one person isn’t or hasn’t been affected in some capacity. But the brighter days are ahead and the light is seeping through the cracks. A final push in the coming months with the UK being at the forefront of the vaccine roll out, will enable the economy to revive and the effort of all those amongst us will be there to remind us, that we are as strong as we choose to be.