The End Of 2020 Is Nigh (And I Am Ready For It)
Only 5 days left until the end of 2020! And what a year it’s been!
I think most folks will say “good riddance” and sing for 2021, hoping for the start of a grand recovery. That was certainly the case a hundred years ago, after the end of WW1 and the the 1918 Flu Pandemic. The “roaring 20’s” was the bounce-back from years of devastation and loss. A period of massive growth, modernization, music (the primetime of jazz), culture and change which swept across the world. It had it’s own set of problems, but it’s generally remembered as a good time all-in-all…at least until the Great Depression hit…but let’s not think about that right now.
We certainly haven’t been through a world war and COVID, as bad as it is, has not been nearly as terrible as the 1918 Flu, but I do think recovery from it will launch a period of worldwide exuberance and relief. So I’m hopeful for 2021 and I believe our own version of the “roaring 20’s” will happen, but I also think it may take a smidgen longer than expected. The modern world works fast, but recovery still takes time. And although we have a vaccine now, it could take all of 2021 to get everyone inoculated and the wheels of the world economy properly greased for take-off again.
In the meantime we’re focusing firmly on the good stuff and what lies ahead.
The SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Is Here!
2021 will be hopefully be the year we all get the coronavirus vaccine (at least those of us who choose to have it), and I for one am more than ready for it.
The launch has already started. Two highly effective m-RNA vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech & Moderna) have been approved in the USA, while one (Pfizer/BioNTech) has been approved so far in EU. It’s great news, but there are still barriers to overcome before we can lay down our masks and fly free.
The WHO estimates that 60-70 percent of the population must be vaccinated to halt the spread, and that’s just an initial guess. The actual number could be much higher, and virus mutations could push us further off track, but we may not need to achieve herd immunity either. Viruses like the cold and flu mutate & circulate yearly, and although they do cause deaths they don’t over-load our hospital & ICU systems to the breaking point the way COVID-19 has. So perhaps just vaccinating those most at risk is enough to make coronavirus manageable? Especially if new & effective treatments (e.g. antibody therapies) are approved in 2021 too?
It’s the most realistic & achievable approach, and it’s the one most countries have decided to take, offering the vaccine to older folks & healthcare first, while the rest of us will come later. Totally logical & reasonable….and hopefully effective enough to get us out of this mess.
Still, even with a tiered priority there’s A LOT of people that need to be vaccinated and that takes TIME. And each country has their own challenges.
Bahrain & Israel are actually leading the vax curve right now, with massive programs taking place. Israel plans to have 1/4 of it’s entire population vaccinated in a month. Impressive!
The UK is not far behind them, with ~800,000 doses administered so far, and contracts signed to cover their entire population. They’re off to a very strong start.
In USA “Operation Warp Speed” has enabled 1.94 million doses so far, with 20 million doses planned for delivery (ready to be given) by end of this year and deals signed to cover the entire population. At this rate any American who wants the vaccine should be able to have it by summer. Excellent!
In most of Europe however, it’s been much slower, mostly due to delays in EU-level approvals.
France just administered their first 20 doses (!!) today and estimate that they’ll have 1 million vaccinated by end of Feb. That’s only ~1.4% of the population, and doesn’t even cover the entire first tier (older folks & healthcare workers) of people who need them. So, dad might have a chance to get vaccinated in early Spring, but Paul and I probably won’t get anywhere near the queue until much later in the year. Ugh!
Still, at least the vaccines have launched!
I know some folks out there are doubtful, and perhaps some of you are even completely against it, but for me there is zero doubt. This vaccine is my ticket to freedom, the key that will allow us to travel, mingle & enjoy life as before. So although it may be a while before we’re able to go footloose and mask-free again, especially if we wait for the vaccine here in France (I for one, could easily be persuaded to travel for it), at least the wheels are moving in the right direction.
We Had A Good Christmas
Christmas has come and gone, and New Year’s is now only days away. It was a very low-key celebration this year with just the three of us and Polly, but it was hyggeligt (cozy, comfortable & nice).
On Christmas Eve we had pan-fried duck breast (I call it the “steak of SW France”), pommes dauphinoises (basically sliced potatoes baked with onions & garlic in cream, which is as decadent & delicious as it sounds), and the usual risalamande for desert. It was a small meal compared to the multi-course extravaganza that the French traditionally have (typically a cornucopia of seafood, meats and sometimes up to thirteen desserts!), but it was more than enough for our little 3-belly get-together.
Dinner was followed by a cozy log fire in the living room, Christmas music and opening our few presents. All quite relaxed and lovely.
Then yesterday afternoon we had our traditional Danish Christmas lunch with sild (pickled herring), snaps (Aquavit) and beer, followed by several different types of open-faced sandwiches, smoked salmon and cheese. All with more snaps along the way. Usually this would be a rather lively & rambunctious multi-hour affair celebrated with neighbors and friends, but again it was just the three of us this year.
We even got a smidgen of snow Christmas morning, with flurries of white stuff in the early afternoon as temps lowered to just above freezing. Quite festive and lovely to look at, even though it all melted once it hit the ground.
So yeah, a quiet Christmas, but a nice one with pretty much all the trimmings. Zero complaints at all.
We’re Looking Forward to 2021
Like many of you I am more than ready for 2021, and happily counting down the days until we get there.
I can’t say that 2020 has been an easy year. We’ve had personal losses this year, with both our precious cats passing away within a month of each other (I still miss them terribly). We didn’t really go anywhere, except for two small trips in the RV and a few day outings here and there. And in-between it all we went through two full lock-downs where we couldn’t even walk beyond a 1km circle of our house. It’s been a challenge, especially mentally.
Then again, I can’t say it’s been all bad either. We’ve enjoyed many beautiful sunsets, plenty of open air and nature, moments of deep contemplation and thanks. We’ve been blessed with wonderful food and great neighbors, and we haven’t suffered physically or financially in any big way. Plus we’re all healthy, together and in a safe place. I know we are very, very fortunate in that respect.
So yes it’s been a year to remember, or perhaps one to forget. And although I know it’s not over yet, and may not be for a while, I’m very ready for next year and what lies beyond. Bring it on 2021, vaccines and all. I’ll be waiting for you.
What does 2021 mean for you my friends? What are looking forward to? Do tell me! It’s all right around the corner, and when I talk to you next we’ll already be there. Here’s wishing you all a very Happy NEW Year!