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One of the characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic is that much of what is published about it quickly becomes outdated. Such is the rate of change in the pandemic’s course—whether due to the roll-out of the vaccine program globally or the evolution of new variants—that the context in which articles are written may be very different by the time of publication.
Given that, it’s perhaps important to ‘time-stamp’ this editorial and outline the context at the time of writing. We’re writing this in the late summer of 2021; the UK is experiencing a third wave of the pandemic, while simultaneously removing almost all COVID-19 restrictions (such as limits on public gatherings), having fully vaccinated three-quarters of the adult population and partially vaccinated almost 9 out of 10 adults. Although there are differences, the situation is similar within other countries in Europe and North America, with vaccines seemingly weakening the link between infection, serious illness and death, thereby allowing for loosening of social restrictions.
Though the situation at the time you are reading this will no doubt be different, there are some things of which we can be sure. First, COVID-19 has already ‘…killed millions, affected billions and cost trillions.’1 impacting all parts of the globe over a prolonged period. Second, the impact on healthcare services has been immense, whether through the acute pressures on hospital capacity during each wave of the pandemic, the need to redesign service delivery in order to …
Twitter @barrett1972, @robertaheale
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.