After a year of lockdown travel agents in Northern Ireland are reporting demand for holidays from people who have had their jab or who worked on the health frontline. It matches reports of a surge of holiday bookings in England after Boris Johnson announced a path out of lockdown.
In this Province half a million people have now been injected with one of the vaccines. That means almost one third of the population is on the way to achieving some immunity.
It is too early to be complacent. We are not yet sure how effective the various jabs will be. We cannot be sure that their worth will not be negated by new strains of the virus.
It would be a tragedy if people dropped their guard too early, and infections spiked, after all the progress against Covid.
But at the same time, it is more than fair to have a sense of optimism. The vaccine has been developed within a year, something that experts say would normally take 15.
And society has adapted to the virus. We have changed behaviours, are more careful to wash hands, don’t shake hands, wear masks, are sensitive to social distancing, and so on. Employers have had to be more flexible and employees too.
Everyone has been revising how they live, for the betterment of the community, indeed the world.
And while the financial and human loss has been hideous, and devastating for those who have lost a loved one, there are signs that economic recovery could be fast. The popular ‘help to eat out’ scheme last summer showed how when people have missed doing certain things, recoveries can be V shaped.
Employees who have kept their jobs have also been saving heavily, so there is a lot of money about. No wonder people are dreaming of holidays. With luck Covid will recede and there might even be a happy, ‘roaring’ twenties.
But be careful about booking anything.
The last 12 months have shown us how fast the health situation can deteriorate.
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