And that, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, was Christmas. Whether you celebrate or not, we're now in that weird place between one set of holidays and another. Inbetwixmas marks the days from the day after Boxing Day until New Year's Eve.
"Let's get back to work!" "Sure. Just let me finish these breakfast chocolates..."
Nothing happens these days. They are the weighted blanket of the year. Recovery days in the race of life. Several times, I've stood at my computer, willing myself to write. Then, I've gone upstairs for a chocolate or twenty-eight. I've put the TV on, picked up my phone and checked in on social media.
Covid, Covid, Covid. "Lockdown immediately!" "Hands off our holidays!" "Get vaccinated!" "It's my right NOT to be vaccinated."
In our little corner of the Med, we were a little shy of six hundred new cases a day before the holidays, and then 1,925 on the 27th. A new record. Oh good.
Like the rest of the world, there are people on both sides of the argument. Vociferous people. Strident tones abound. As is so often the case, those at the extremes of the spectrum are unwilling to listen to any argument from their polar adversaries. The majority - in the middle, are tired, anxious and a little scared. They look to the government for leadership.
Governments tell us that they are listening to the science, and then making a measured decision that we really don't care too much about Omicron, at least until the New Year champagne is finished. Others are tightening restrictions. Either the scientists aren't communicating very well, or more likely, the politicians are making their decisions on more than just the science.
For an anglophone, nowhere is more confusing than the United Kingdom, which is anything but united. Scots and the Welsh will need to nip over the border into England if they fancy a boogie on New Year's Eve.
Don't get me wrong - my position on vaccines is straightforward. Vaccines are one of Mankind's greatest achievements. I got vaccinated as soon as I was permitted. Astra-Zeneca twice and then a Pfizer booster. If my opinion is sought, I passionately endorse vaccination and all the other measures recommended by the WHO and science generally. Do I believe in vaccine mandates? Let me dodge that question, and reply with another, shamelessly stolen from Archbishop Tutu, may he rest in peace. "Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument." All things are possible, but the data overwhelmingly supports vaccination. Wearing a mask? Rather that, than intensive care.
Are businesses trying to make money from the pandemic, well, duh. Companies exist to make money.
Are politicians manipulating, being self-serving? Well, duh. When are politicians not?
For all that I believe in vaccines, and in science, I don't for a second think we will get the upper-hand against the virus. History indicates that pandemics tend to last four years before they blow themselves out, becoming endemic. In part, that represents success for the virus, ensuring its survival; and in part it represents our immune response adapting. Our victory is to minimise the serious illness and death within the four years.
The winter of 21-22 will be about the battle with Omicron. Throughout spring and summer of 22, things will get easier for us here in the developed world, but concerns will mount about case numbers in the undeveloped world, where new strains will be wreaking havoc on populations not yet vaccinated. Sigma or Omega will come roaring back, encouraging governments to accelerate the quarterly booster programme in winter 22-23. One hopes we'll be getting better at managing the waves, which will continue but in diminished intensity, until 2024 sees the virus settle alongside all the other "winter bugs".
Of course - I may be completely wrong. It's happened before.
Now, excuse me. It's been a few hours since I last drank a weird alcoholic beverage.
Here's to 2022. Boosters and all.