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In February 2020, there was hardly anyone - perhaps no one - who predicted we'd be in a full national lockdown a year on. The pandemic still has a frighteningly strong grip on the nation, and the extent of the human suffering it has caused is unquantifiable.
We're all too aware of the plentiful reasons we have to feel negative and miserable. They're plastered across the news and social media every day. But as we enter yet another weekend that will feel more like a two-day lunch break, here's a reminder of why we can feel hopeful, positive and even a little excited.
Vaccinations going up, cases going down
A year ago we didn't know a great deal about Covid-19 and how to tackle it - now, thanks to the brilliance of science, we have a vaccine. A vaccine that has been administered to more than 10 million people in the UK, no less.
What's more, a study has indicated that jabs could protect both recipients and the general population, with inoculated people not passing the disease onto others.
As such, falling case rates should be further dented as the vaccination programme continues to rollout, and the country is currently on track to hit its target of jabbing the top four priority groups by 15 February.
All of this means fewer deaths, less strain on the NHS and the freedom to loosen lockdown restrictions.
Days getting longer, summer getting closer
Every passing day is longer than the last, which may sound undesirable in the context of lockdown, but it's not, honestly. In a few weeks winter will be officially over, and next month the clocks go forward, meaning you'll have an extra hour of light in the evenings.
Plus, unlike us, Covid-19 doesn't like the warmer weather - being a virus 'n' all. It's much easier for it to spread in unventilated indoor spaces, but an increase in temperatures will see us cracking open windows and lounging about outside soon enough.
Indeed, health secretary Matt Hancock has predicted a 'happy and free summer'.
Roaring 20s ahead?
You know when you're late to the party so you go in extra hard to make up for lost time? Well, epidemiologist Dr Nicholas Christakis reckons that's basically what might happen in the decade ahead.
Speaking to The Guardian, he explained: "What's happening to us may seem to so many people to be alien and unnatural, but plagues are not new to our species - they're just new to us.
"We're the first generation of humans alive who has ever faced this threat that allows them to respond in real-time with efficacious medicines. It's miraculous.
"During epidemics you get increases in religiosity, people become more abstentious, they save money, they get risk averse and we're seeing all of that now just as we have for hundreds of years during epidemics."
However, once the threat subsides, Dr Christakis expects to see these behaviours flipped on their head, as religiosity and conservatism erodes and a period of free spending and 'sexual licentiousness' sets in.
Bring it on.
Economic bounce back
We could see this roaring 20s explode into life once restrictions are lifted. The Bank of England has predicted that the economy will 'recover rapidly' this year due to our old friend the vaccine.
Countless people have experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, but the reopening of society and security brought with the vaccination programme should see many jobs return.
Those who have retained employment are expected to splash some of the savings they have accrued in lockdown, with data indicating that households saved £125 billion more than they typically would between March and November last year. Those pints really do add up don't they?
Cancelled events make a comeback
We lost out on lots last year (bit of a tongue-twister that), but much of it will return better than ever.
There's obviously still a lot of uncertainty about specifics, but we've still got an Olympics and the Euros to look forward to.
There's also countless festivals, music venues and comedy clubs raring to make a comeback. And of course, the pub. We might have to start out with a takeaway pint on a sufficiently distanced patch of grass; but that will soon become an afternoon in a beer garden, an evening in a packed pub and a night in some god awful club.
TV and films worth getting excited about
Like everything else, TV and films have been impacted by the pandemic. The upside is that we've now got a load of exciting stuff backed up - 'cause it either hasn't been released or made yet.
James Bond flick, No Time To Die has been delayed numerous times, but is now scheduled for release on 8 October.
Black Widow was originally set to hit cinemas back in November, but now it's due for 7 May 2021, while Venom sequel Let There Be Carnage is slated for 25 June 2021.
Other big releases include Top Gun: Maverick (1 July 2021), Space Jam 2 (23 July 2021), The Suicide Squad (6 August 2021), Eternals (5 November 2021), the untitled Spider-Man sequel (17 December 2021), Mission Impossible 7 (19 November 2021) and The Matrix 4 (22 December 2021), among many others.
Chins up, folks. We'll get there.
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