Normality inches ever closer in Northern Ireland with the continued easing of lockdown restrictions. The signs are positive. Infection rates remain low and, perhaps more importantly, hospitalisations and deaths are a fraction of what they were several months ago. It’s a well-worn cliche but there does appear to be light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine rollout continues to impress with its efficiency and effectiveness.
I’m now in the office more often than not and the city of Belfast is beginning to resemble the vibrant metropolis it once was. Cafes, bars and restaurants can now offer outdoor hospitality while the shops are open again. Mask wearing and social distancing rules still apply but it no longer resembles the ghost town it has been since Christmas. People are hoping of a brighter summer where we can all get back to the way life used to be.
The anti-vaccers continue to rant and rave on social media but they are a tiny minority. The large majority of the population are queuing up to have their jab as almost 1.5 million have now been administered. Figures show that the vaccine works, offering 95% protection from the virus. The vaccination centres are slick operations where friendly, professional staff take you through the process. We were in and out in less than half an hour.
On a personal note, our Rebecca played her first competitive football match in over a year yesterday. She was an excited girl and Fionnuala and I were very proud parents as we cheered her on from the (socially distanced) sidelines. The game ended in a draw but, for me, it was another resounding victory for science and reason over the lunacy of conspiracy theories and misinformation. We are getting there…one step at a time.