Why I'm convinced 2022 will bring better news for us all

A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination

The government has urged everyone eligible to have a booster jab. - Credit: PA

"It'll be different next year, we'll be able to properly get together again."

"You probably said that when we met last Christmas."
So went the conversation between a friend and I yesterday as a large group of us, somewhat optimistically, gathered at a local park for a catch up and a picnic, which we felt was best done outdoors given the current covid situation.

I'll say one thing for the past two years - it's definitely given us all a greater tolerance of cold and wet conditions outdoors - we were all just desperate to get the youngsters in a park and let them run off some steam!

My friend was right though, I probably did think 12 months ago that we would be in a much better place regarding the pandemic than we currently find ourselves in. 

I can still vividly remember when the first lockdown came and some experts were predicting we'd be living with the implications for two years and probably more. At that point I was still planning for Glastonbury Festival 12 weeks later!

Of course, a pandemic and all of its implications was new to everyone. Few, bar some experts, could have predicted how it would play out. A year and a half later and we all probably count ourselves as experts in viruses and how they are transmitted.

However, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I do believe Christmas 2022 will be much different to the two before - and all of us will be able to plan those all-important festive celebrations without the uncertainty of isolation or sudden government restrictions looming over us.

I'm an optimistic person, but that prediction is based on more than just a glass half full outlook and a desperate desire for us all to be able to move on from the world we live in at the moment.

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So why the optimism?

Mainly, the science. We have already seen some staggering achievements from the world's scientists in developing vaccines for covid in a matter of months. In the last few days alone we've read about sprays and pills which can help to prevent the consequences of the virus from being as severe.

As our knowledge of the virus grows, so too will our ability to tackle it. I think there will be more big breakthroughs in 2022.

Then there is the virus itself, which is already showing signs of weakening, something which will happen more and more as it spreads and the vaccine and booster jabs do their jobs.

The hope is that eventually we move into a position that, while covid may not have been eradicated, it is regarded as no more serious than a common cold and is something we do not have to halt our lives for.

And this is a position I hope we find ourselves in as soon as possible because, otherwise, I remain concerned about the other negative impacts the ongoing pandemic will have on society.

The cost to the NHS and other life-threatening conditions has been thoroughly covered, as has  the impact on adult mental health and the risk for increased unemployment due to the affect on the economy.

However, being a father-of-two young children, it's the potential impact on future generations that really worries me. 

Children are incredibly resilient, we know that, and I think with my own two we've managed to maintain a largely happy household full of good memories. However, I no longer want them to have their nativity plays cancelled, school life and exams thrown into chaos and friendships put at risk due to the current challenges of everyday life.

I don't want them to live in fear, potentially growing ever more anxious as the pandemic stretches on.

It's because of all of this I am determined to end 2021 and enter 2022 with a positive attitude and full of hope that better times are around the corner for all of us.

Wishing all of you a happy and prosperous new year.