Globally we've been tested in a way that we haven't for a generation. As we head towards the end of 2020, fatigued and frustrated, the future looks uncertain. Although it feels impossible right now, it's an interesting exercise to put on our rose-coloured glasses, and try to imagine the best-case scenario, two years into the future. Here is what I hope to be looking back on.
The last part of 2020 saw Victoria gain control over transmission of the virus, then open up much faster than had been projected. This allowed interstate travel over the summer holidays. Then, the MCG was able to host the Boxing Day test match, with Steve Smith scoring a double-century, sealing a convincing victory.
In a landslide election, Trump was emphatically ousted from office, marking a turning point in the global fight against the virus. Stable leadership in the United States inspired a renewed sense of purpose and a resolve to fight the virus together. A greater understanding of the virus and continued advances in testing and treatments saw the tide beginning to turn in most places as we entered 2021.
In the first half of 2021, economies began the long recovery and people's lives start to return to something more normal. In June there were breakthroughs, with candidate vaccines successfully completing phase-three trials in record time. And, thanks to the level of international cooperation not seen previously, the vaccines were distributed throughout the world in the remainder of the year, based on need. We could breathe a collective sigh of relief as the end of the global crisis was finally in sight.
Almost as important as resolving the health crisis, the year 2022 was marked by a collective shift in our consciousness, both globally and individually. We gained a greater understanding of what our priorities should be and how connected we all are with each other.
There was a renewed understanding of how looking after the disadvantaged was all of our responsibility and, that if we fail to do this, we all end up worse off. On an individual level, seeing the plight of the most vulnerable during the pandemic opened our eyes to the inequalities in our privileged society. The restricting of time spent with friends and family gave us a clearer understanding of how much we need each other. We learned how life could be more meaningful with less busyness, fewer material possessions and more time spent with loved ones.
All this was accompanied by a better understanding of our own vulnerability and the vulnerability of the planet.
- Hassan Vally is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health at La Trobe University