COMMENT: Despite A Difficult Start, We CAN Still Be Optimistic For 2021

After a difficult start to the New Year, in terms of the battle with COVID-19, this week Gavin outlines why he’s still somewhat hopeful about the year ahead.

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“2021 will be a better year.”

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Who didn’t say words to that effect in December? Who didn’t yearn for the hope that the New Year would bring a new dawn and a better life for us all, with COVID-19 increasingly sidelined? It didn’t take long for that hope to be dashed.

I’m gravely concerned by the COVID figures of recent days. As Brian Lenehan of the UL Hospitals Group pointed out on Wednesday’s programme, there is a lag between case numbers and hospitalisations, and between hospitalisations and ICU admittance, and ultimately deaths. While the focus now has been on the thousands of new infections, you now see media coverage shifting towards the numbers in ICUs.  I had been hoping against hope that this doesn’t lead to a further surge in deaths in the near future, but optimism on that front has already faded.. Our skilled medical professionals have learned much about this disease, and that knowledge will better prepare them for this wave, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves about the time ahead. We should certainly bear that in mind when looking at our own actions, and all that we can do to suppress the virus.

That’s a grim prospect, I know, and in its own way the additional limitations announced this week represent their own blow. But do you know what? There’s still hope.

I have now interviewed three people who have received the COVID vaccine, two of them in Clare.  I know others who have received it because they’re in the top priority group.  Dozens more in Clare have received it as well, and the number of doses dispensed across the country each day is increasing by thousands.  Should there be more? Absolutely. Deputy Crowe told us on Wednesday that he’s pushing for more vaccinations to be carried out, because our current ambitions are too low. I’m sure that will come, especially after the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is approved (the European Commission has pre-purchased a huge amount of those doses).

Those who need the vaccine most will get it in the coming months. That will allow society to re-open, somewhat. More vaccines will be administered in the time that follows.  My day will come, and so will your’s.

I firmly believe that we are nearer to the end than the start of all of this madness. So hold on. Pull hard. One last time.

There’s a saying – one I don’t like incidentally – that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” It sounds trite to say that, because in this case we don’t know when that dawn will be. It certainly hasn’t come at the start of the year, in the way that many of us had hoped.  But it will come, and by working together it can come even sooner than would otherwise be the case.

Hold on. Hold Tight. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Keep your distance, but keep in touch with each other.

2021 will be a better year.