To start with, a stunning visualisation of the last year. It loses a bit by treating
(and Belarus and Serbia) as single blocs, but it shows the three waves clearly.
The Belgian infection numbers have turned the corner and are starting to drop again, hospitalisations are teetering, the ICU numbers are flattening and sadly the death rate, the most lagging of the indicators, is still spiking. But most important, vaccination rates are soaring. Robin de Nooij's daily updates on vaccination rates (@cygie on Twitter
) always include a projected future date for at-the-current-rate-everyone-will-have-b
een-vaccinated-by then. For the first time, today the projected date for first jabs for the whole of Belgium is this calendar year. Last Sunday it was 10 February 2022, the Sunday before it was 25 March, the Sunday before that it was in the summer of next year.
And personal news for me: I got a note from the doctor that I'm getting priority for vaccination, presumably because of my high blood pressure. So I would not be surprised if I get my first vaccine this month, and my second four weeks later.
I'm in reflective mood (trying out a new biryani recipe from Mridula Baljekar's book and writing this while it's in the oven) so here are some other pieces that made me think about this over the last few days.The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work — Are We Ready? by Jared Spataro
. Microsoft has some fascinating research on how people are experiencing work. Flexible work is here to stay. Many business leaders are faring better than their employees. High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce. Sixty percent of those between the ages of 18 and 25 say they are merely surviving or flat-out struggling right now. Shrinking networks are endangering innovation. Work has become more human. People no longer have to leave their desk, house or community to expand their career. Read it.What have we learned? Lessons from the pandemic, by Ian Leslie
. A selection of very interesting links, culminating with this observation:
Whew, that was close. Imagine if this virus had emerged two decades ago - perfectly plausible, and nothing in historical terms. Scientists would have not have had the wherewithal to crack the code of the virus or to share it globally and instantaneously. Office workers, in firms and in governments, would not have been able to meet over video, businesses would have not been able to reinvent themselves. Friends and family would have even less connection with the outside world than before. Food and other essential goods and indeed non-essential goods would have not have remained accessible to nearly so many people. Neighbours wouldn’t have been able to look after each other as easily. Governments, health services and businesses wouldn’t have been able to gather data or share information nearly so efficiently. A huge part of the reason we were able to adapt as we have is down to technologies that didn’t exist or were not in widespread use twenty or even ten years ago. It’s enough to make you believe in progress.
One of his links is to his own essay for the BBC, Why your ‘weak-tie’ friendships may mean more than you think
, a really interesting piece reinforcing what we already knew, that it's not your best friends but your wider acquaintances who will help your career most.
And a different perspective from Laurie Penny, A Report from the After Times: Normal is never coming back. We’ve got to be gentle with each other.
I’m furious because it didn’t have to be like this. None of it was necessary. Every horrendous, inhuman choice over decades of political consensus that prioritized profit over people, every failure to protect healthcare and welfare and human rights and Black lives, and all of it was deadly, for someone, somewhere. For millions of people who might have coped with a crisis like COVID if they hadn’t already hanging on to bare life by their fingernails.
I guess the only thing I can really be sure of is that it's impossible to be sure of what will come next.
With a couple of exceptions. This year's Worldcon has been postponed to December, and the Hugo final ballot will be announced on Tuesday. I'm pretty certain of both of those.