Compared to December 2020, this year’s year end will be much more subdued as the emergence new variant – Omicron is already making headlines and in all probability we may start the new year with another round of lockdown or at least some restrictions limiting our movements.
Apart from the news of new variant, substantial portion of the year 2021 was spent on fear of pandemic and the emergence of Omicron has revived the fear once again. Thus, we are once again entering the new year with the legacy of previous two years and by all looks it seems that next year too may not be different from this year. This may hold true at least for the first half of next year.
However, year 2021 was started on an optimistic note and the successful trials of two vaccines only added to our optimism. Surely it reflected on our economic performance as the fourth quarter was one of the best quarters in recent years. However, re-emergence of Covid-19 spoiled the party and put us on backfoot. Momentum was lost and that too at the beginning of the summer season which is considered to be the busiest season for many industries. Though there were signs of revival of the economic activities as was revealed by the hectic activities seen during festive season, optimism was shortlived as the continuation of the same was punctured by the emergence new variant.
Year 2021 was also marred by inflation all around, ballooning oil prices and high rate of unemployment. In fact, these after-effects of prolonged economic inertia are affecting the common man more than the pandemic itself.
As the coronavirus pandemic stretches like a rubber band year after year with emergence of new variants, and announcement of fresh restrictions, the mental health of people is going to take a heavy toll and depression among many of us may become new norm unless tackled effectively. This may be the parting gift of the pandemic and people of all ages may become its victim.
If 2020 was brutally novel – like the virus itself – then 2021 was no better and made people restless. Covid-19 has taken most of our attention and also resources in 2020 & 21 while teaching us the lessons of hygiene and social distancing. It has forced us to push other burning topics like global warming aside and we don’t know yet the penalty which we have to pay for the delayed actions on that front. Global warming and climate change have not given any relief though we might have assumed it be so and if we are temporarily going slow on our efforts to resolve those issues we may be in for deadlier catastrophes in future.