What a year 2020 has been! None of us have lived through anything like it. Nor do we ever want to again. And it will spill over into 2021 until the vaccine enables us to return to a relatively normal life in the spring.
As in America and countries in Europe, we were all taken by surprise by Covid in the early days and – as in Europe and America too – we initially suffered a shortage of PPE and ventilators. But unlike abroad, our hospitals were not overwhelmed. And the UK has now acquired more doses of vaccine than the United States and more than all the countries of the European Union combined.
But, until the vaccine has been rolled out, and the roll-out will speed up markedly in January, it’s important we all play our part by sticking to the rules to minimise infection. And don’t be surprised if the rules frequently change. That is inevitable as the pandemic ebbs and flows and the Government reacts swiftly to changing circumstances such as changes in the transmissibility of the virus itself.
Meanwhile, I have been at home in Lichfield for most of this period working remotely through emails, Zoom, and Teams. New technology will transform this country. In years to come, people will ask: Did people really commute every day to the office when they could have done it all from home? And shopping habits have changed too. More and more of us are shopping on line and this will change the landscape of our high streets.
But human nature will never change. The good and the bad. Christmas can be very lonely for many people and it will be particularly so this year. So let’s all make a special effort to be good and help our neighbours while keeping our social distance. And my thanks go to everyone who has volunteered to help others over this difficult period.
As the nights now grow shorter and the days longer, the end of this nightmare is in sight. So keep safe over the next few days and months and here’s my toast: To a brighter, happier, and safer 2021!