What was not hoped for last December for the year 2021. The vaccine was already within reach at that time.

He should get us out of this pandemic.

Finally.

Everything that was not possible for months should work again in 2021.

Oh, what does it mean to work again, everything should just be the same as it was before the moment when the virus began its way around the world.

The confidence was great.

In 2020 you had heard the sentence umpteen times and sometimes said yourself: "Next year, when it's all over, we'll do again what is not possible now." and carefree encounters.

Lucia Schmidt

Editor in the "Life" section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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Now 2021 is drawing to a close, and we are far from a normality, even a new one, one in which one lives with the virus. Instead, Germany is exhausted, shaken, disappointed. For months there was hope, vaccination, testing. "At some point", so the repeatedly motivating appeal to yourself, to colleagues, friends and family, "at some point it has to get better."

But one thing can be said with certainty, now at the beginning of December: 2021 will not get any better.

For weeks, Germany looked in disbelief at incidences that were growing towards the sky.

In the summer nobody wanted the vaccine anymore, now it is missing at all ends again.

Politicians obviously didn't want to hear what science has been saying for months.

And while they were deliberating and adjourned, a “worrying” virus variant spread right into the fourth wave - at first completely unnoticed, then obviously.

Not only the alarmists, but also sober scientists speak of a

worst case

at Omikron

.

Again no mulled wine with colleagues

Somehow one thing still comes up - this thought has not been suppressed in the past few days and just leaves many of you panting. Instead of finally drinking mulled wine with colleagues again, everyone is sitting alone in the home office again this December. Instead of wandering curiously through the Christmas-decorated shops, you worry about whether your own vaccination protection will still be sufficient up to the booster. While one is considering whether Christmas Eve has to take place again without a visit from far away, seriously ill patients are being transferred across the federal states. Our country will have 102,568 corona deaths to mourn by the weekend, and more than six million people have been infected with the virus here since the beginning of the pandemic. Frighteningly high numbers. We are no longer getting through the crisis well.

2021 was not the year when we could finally redeem all the vouchers and credits from canceled events and canceled vacation rentals from 2020.

2021 was the year checking incidences became as much a morning routine as brushing your teeth.

Now it's the hospitalization rates.

A completely new, very personal risk assessment

Numbers, dates, rules, paired with the very individual will to take responsibility for yourself and others: That decided in 2021 what we were allowed to do and what we could do. Some dared more, others were cautious all year round. A completely new, very personal risk assessment suddenly determined everyday life. Easter, your own birthday, the enrollment of your grandchildren and the longed-for start of the summer vacation - for the second time, all of this took place under pandemic conditions. While life in 2020 seemed to have lost its ease and spontaneity, both were completely lost in 2021. Without a vaccination certificate and a mask in your pocket you don't have to leave the house.

Only briefly, a few weeks in summer, it sprouted up, this freer life again despite the virus.

A lot was possible outside, vaccinated people felt safe, the incidences were in the single digits.

But with this bitter autumn a new question arose: What if Corona never ends again?

Science had promised that we would finally get from the epidemic to the endemic in 2022.

In other words, a state in which the virus is still there and regularly leads to smaller seasonal outbreaks, and also to severe courses;

However, if society is adequately immunized - whether vaccinated or recovered - the number of cases no longer increases so much that the health system reaches its limits.

Is this prospect no longer tenable with Omikron itself?

We look ahead to 2022 with reservations

The course of the pandemic has taught us painfully that things can get worse than you think. “Just hold on once more” - the appeal from the political side now seems more than implausible. Does she still believe in it herself? All of this means that we are going into the year 2022 with a lot of reservations. The sentence: "Next year we will do again what is not possible now" is no longer heard. Plans are carefully made. If they don't open, the disappointment is no longer too great.

New Year's Eve is the great collective and also personal turning point in the course of the year: this one night after which a bright New Year lies ahead, which still keeps to itself what beautiful surprises, but also what strokes of fate it will hold in store.

A year that can still be designed, that offers new spaces, perspectives and opportunities.

Just like the vaccination really came in 2021.

If we hadn't had it, 2021 would have been different.

Even darker.

Perhaps this year we need this New Year's turning point even more than usual in order to become confident again, to see more clearly again that many have taken on responsibility and advanced research even in difficult times.

And to do better in 2022 what was neglected in 2021.

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