“Back to life, back to reality, back to the here and now…”
Soul II Soul, 1989
Every once in a while we think of song lyrics that encapsulate the moment. Of late these have ranged from “Here comes the sun” to “We get knocked down but we get up again”. The song of the moment has to be Soul II Soul’s 1980s hit ‘Back to Life’, with its refrain: “Back to life, back to reality…”. This may say more about our questionable taste in music than anything else, but it is an apt expression for the current turning point in the pandemic.
Just yesterday New York City celebrated the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions with a fireworks display to honour the essential workers who have helped the city to get through the pandemic. Conversely, the UK has had to postpone the lifting of restrictions out of prudence because of a surge in infections among younger people, but it is not far off. The full reopening of our economies and the return of normality to our lives is thankfully now a question of when, not if.
As we highlight in our Insight this month, the outlook for finally overcoming the virus now depends upon the efficacy and availability of vaccines. It has been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Looking back, it has been an extraordinary period in all our lives. Our world has changed. But the devastation of the pandemic has also given rise to unprecedented scientific advancement as we have risen to the challenge. In less than a year, several highly effective Covid-19 vaccines have been developed, approved and delivered. Mass vaccination is well advanced in many parts of the US and Europe, and concerted efforts from rich countries to help vaccinate the rest of the world are crucial in the race to bring the pandemic and variant epidemic outbreaks to an end.