About a year ago, I thought about making some predictions for the year ahead, though I never got round to writing much down. That is just as well, as 2020 took a turn that I certainly would not have predicted – it has been a very unusual year.
Hindsight makes it all feel inevitable, and perhaps a pandemic was, at some point. But this precise pandemic was not, with its bats and its wet-markets, and its Italian outbreak, and its lockdowns. “So does history occur: in myriad, often unconsidered, minor decisions.” This is a very particular trouser leg of time.
I’m not sure how useful it is to focus on this specific butterfly effect, when countless viruses are transferred between species without causing worldwide pandemonium. Except as a reminder that in a world of billions, one in a million chances are actually reasonable odds. We have always lived in an exceptional world; perhaps, in 2021, we shouldn’t be so surprised.