In January 2020 we thought the new variant coronavirus could be serious. There had been similar respiratory tract infections which spread from South East Asia in 2003, 2009 and 2012, and were only stopped by strict quarantine. This outbreak looked like it would be worse, but I did not think it would be as bad as the “Spanish” flu which originated in Iowa (USA) in 1918. (I was wrong!)
New Scientist reported on 8-Feb that in China there were 17,238 cases and 361 deaths, with 153 cases and 1 death outside China. But they predicted it would spread rapidly like flu and the pandemic last about 18 months (based on a recent simulation in Baltimore, USA). The World Health Organization has required countries to plan for pandemics since 2005, but less than 5% took appropriate action.
In Britain we completely failed to effectively track and trace spread of the virus at the beginning of March, but we have a vaccine which is effective and can be distributed easily. The light at the end of the tunnel is not an approaching train!
Both the Pfizer/BioNtech and the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccines were developed extremely quickly but there is no reason to believe they will be ineffective or have significant adverse side effects. We should all be vaccinated as soon as they are offered to us. In support of this opinion I attach the article 9 lessons from Covid by Dr Phil Hammond which appeared in Private Eye in December 2020 (under the pseudonym MD).