Daisy Snow, 25-year-old local business owner with a passion for localisation:
The last article I write of 2021, so naturally a summary of how I perceive this year has been.
I have found 2021 quite strange, a sort of constant unknown which has meant it hard to forward plan and make progress.
I think many people hoped for a better year than 2020, but yet again we find ourselves in a similar place, or for many a much worse one.
Recent news has been devastating for the 100,000 NHS staff who look set to soon lose their jobs â€“ itâ€™s hard to imagine what kind of effect this will cause to an NHS weâ€™ve all been trying so hard to save.
My heart goes out to the nurses and doctors, whoâ€™s reality has gone from clapping to sacking in less than two years.
Are these skilled and caring people really so easily dispensable when there are already almost 40,000 unfilled vacancies?
With a very uncertain future ahead for the NHS, I wonder whether providing vitamins, encouraging more exercise and ensuring people had good diets to boost immune systems would have been a good thing to have helped take the pressure off the system and whether it was beneficial to the health of our nation to subsidise fast food like McDonalds last year.
A question in a lot of peopleâ€™s minds right now - will this year be a better Christmas than last?
Hopefully, we all will be allowed to enjoy the odd Christmas party just like Downing Street did last year.Â Hopefully we will all be allowed to spend time with our families and friends.
The recent news of the party in lockdown has spread an air of sadness and anger amongÂ many people, especially those who had family members suffer and die without their loved ones around them, due to measures in place.
Without a doubt, in 2021 there has still been a lot of sacrifice, life this year has remained very much â€˜onlineâ€™, socialising for a lot of people has become a thing of the past.
With many people hesitant to go out, social anxiety and depression is on the rise.
The shift to online shopping is also something that seems to have stuck around, and does not look set to disappear, posing a threat to our high streets and once-bustling town centres.
These places were the centre of communities, with chatter and laughter once echoing down the streets â€“ is this something we are heading to lose?Â
Thereâ€™s been a huge increase in single-use plastics. It's thought that 52 billion disposable masks were made in 2020, of which 1.6 billion ended up in the ocean, the rest, in or heading to landfill.
With an estimated time for them to biodegrade being 450 years, thereâ€™s still another 449 years to go before 2020â€™s usage will have disappeared.
The death rate for 2020 globally was 7.612 per 1,000 people, which is a rate marginally higher than the years from 2016-19 but other than them is at its lowest ever in almost 70 years.
With most media companies having pledged to only cover one narrative, I do wonder whether we have fully heard all sides of the story.
The goal posts seem to be forever moving, so itâ€™s hard to see exactly when life will go back to normal, or whether it ever will. It feels like our freedoms are slowly and gently being taken away and I dread to imagine what next year could bring.
One thing I am certain of though is that we really are in this all together, and no matter your views on vaccines, masks, and lockdowns, we all have one thing in common, we are scared of something. The Government or the virus.
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