THE BOTTOM LINE
What were those phrases we said and heard over and over again as we wished one another Happy New Year two weeks ago?
"Let's hope 2021 is better than 2020." "Well 2021 can't be any worse than 2020, can it?" This year we couldn't wait to say "out with the old, and in with the new".
But so far 2021 hasn't started off that well, has it?
Covid-19, or rather the virus that causes it, must be getting used to how we are dealing with it by now. We bring in measures and manage to slow it down, keep it reined in and more or less under control. Then we relax, drop our guard and out it flies again.
It happened after the summer and now it's happening again, the blame landing straight at the door, rightly or wrongly, of those who had the nerve to celebrate Christmas or New Year with too many people.
And now with the change of year, we're faced with a new, far more contagious version of the virus that is sending those graphs shooting up alarmingly.
It's interesting how, coinciding with Brexit, this new, more contagious, strain has been labelled the "British" variant. The Brits argue that it's just because their laboratories are better and identified it faster. Just like the "Spanish" flu then, which, more than a hundred years ago, got its name because Spain was the only country to talk about it.
And if Covid's new "British" fling was not enough to deal with, along came Filomena to literally dampen any remaining sparks of excitement for the new year.
Not only are we still trying to find a way out of a pandemic, but Spain has been hit by its lowest temperatures in 60 years and an amount of snow that few can remember having seen before, especially in the streets of the country's capital, Madrid. And where there wasn't snow, there were floods, damage and tragedy.
We are only two weeks into 2021, however, and it's still valid to have high hopes for the coming months.
Vaccination programmes are already under way with more doses and types due to arrive as the year progresses. The way practically all the health authorities have dealt with the task of administering the vaccines at first has certainly earned criticism and fuelled political slanging matches, but surely as the weeks pass, the pace will quicken and the organisation improve.
First though, as we wait for enough people to be vaccinated to allow us to go outside and celebrate properly, it looks like we're in for another stint of lockdown in some shape or form, or at least more restrictions on our movements.
If patience wasn't high up on our New Year's Resolutions list this year, perhaps it should have been.