Optimism

As I write, it’s been a couple of days since the long-awaited news that finally a vaccine for Covid has been found; even more astounding is that it apparently has over a 90% efficacy – and recently a second equally if not more effective vaccine was announced.

Now I know there’s still a long way to go before anyone I know ends up having it administered, but at least theoretically it appears Covid may be on the back foot for once. By this time next year, we may be looking back and breathing out a little.

Of course, that’s not a given; there may be stumbling blocks along the way, but I am vastly heartened by the prospect of an end to lockdowns, fear and people both catching – and very sadly dying from – a novel virus.

Some of the barriers may be scientific, logistical or legal; others may be entirely human – the tinfoil hat brigade who won’t swallow medication but will swallow just about anything else it appears. Sadly the country now seems to have a risibly high percentage of people who don’t see the irony in using their mobile phones to insist online that ‘the vaccine has a chip in it which can track you’, or that ‘they’ll use it to turn your brain off’ – a ship that for them has patently already sailed. Still, I guess it’s nice to think they imagine they’re that important that the government would want an extra way to track them…

Having said that, I don’t think anyone would need tracking devices for me at the moment, I’ve spent pretty much all the time since the first lockdown in my house – and I’ve been loving it. I’m an anti-social bloke at the best of times, enjoying movies, reading, gaming, painting miniature wargames figures and sleeping when I’m not looking after my six-year-old daughter (which means, in reality, I get very, very little time to do anything in that list). But unlike so many people I’m perfectly happy in my own company with Radio 4 on. I do have some good friends and family who I keep in touch with online and that’s great too – but I don’t imagine it’s been as fun for most people who enjoy going to football matches, clubs, big family gatherings, as well as out to work, seeing friends in real life etc.

Of course, being a self-employed Robin Hood I’ve lost a lot of work (all of it, actually) as the tourism trade is… well, it isn’t. Not only have all of my normal gigs gone but even the special ones – I was supposed to be taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London last weekend and I’ve even lost my favourite last gig of the year, being Santa for the annual kids Christmas concert at Nottingham’s Albert Hall. So yea, like a great many others my income has decreased significantly, but thankfully I can still write and illustrate so compared to a great many I’m very lucky – but I’m very much hoping things can pick up again next year.

Hence yet again my being incredibly thankful for the massive effort made by scientists and researchers worldwide to get this pandemic under control. Those of you who’ve read my ramblings before will know I’m a big geek – I love Star Trek (the proper one with Captain Kirk, obviously). The inherent optimism in that show is something I’m feeling now – that despite things being bleak, despite there being economic loss, sadness and death all around us the world has pulled together and done something about it in record time. The folks who complain about the vaccine being found so quickly compared to other diseases (etc., etc.) seem happier to complain than realise that when everyone pulls together we can get things done, make life better, easier and give people back something that’s been missing since all of this started – optimism.

TP

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