No doubt about the most hopeful story of the week. With much of the planet once again at a pandemic standstill (a pandstill?) and fears deepening over the economic, social, pedagogical and psychological effects of lockdown, even the slightest hint of a vaccine breakthrough was enough to set thoughts leaping ahead.
Thoughts like: how soon can we roll it out? Will we be back to normal by spring? Can I hug my mum soon? And can my kids please retrieve their adolescence now?
As ever with an Upsidey story like a vaccine, it’s not all plain sailing. So some of our journalists spent much of the week trying to figure out how things might proceed. Some of the most illuminating pieces included:
How excited should we be? Three-minute read
How will a vaccine be rolled out in the UK? Two-minute explainer
Plans to administer thousands of jabs. Three-minute read
Covid vaccine tracker. Two-minute read
Vaccine volunteers – in pictures. Quick flick-through
Of course, the Guardian does not have a monopoly on solid, explanatory journalism, so as a service to Upside readers, we also admired:
How do we solve the ‘cold chain’ delivery problem? (Wired)
When will we be back to ‘normal’? (The Conversation)
How does Pfizer calculate the efficacy of its vaccine? (Reuters)
How does the vaccine actually work? (The Week)
Did they delay announcement to stymie Trump’s re-election bid? (Answer: no.) (Forbes)
There was a delightful little story-behind-the-story, meanwhile. The husband-and-wife team behind the vaccine are Germans of Turkish background. So dedicated are they to their work that they even started and ended their wedding day in the lab, with just a quick break to dash to the register office.
Elsewhere this week, we enjoyed:
How Europe’s lockdown is starting to reduce the R number. Three-minute read
The countries pioneering a green future. Three-minute read
Wet farming: an experiment for a warmer, damper world. Four-minute read
The fishing app that confronts illegal trawling. Two-minute read
Covid 19- what can we learn from the London blitz? 15-minute podcast
Almost every week, there is encouraging data from the world of renewable energy. This week we learned that newly installed capacity has hit record levels in 2020.
What we liked
This is hopeful: another breakthrough in the 40-odd-year struggle against HIV and Aids, via the New York Times.
This is lovely: instead of putting his grandfather, a veteran of the second world war, into a nursing home, Roger Gilbert took him on a bucket-list odyssey around the US before he died.
This is utterly gratuitous: how octopuses taste with their arms, via New Scientist.
Where was the Upside?
With our consumer champion correspondents who reckon they have won back millions of pounds for Guardian readers over the years by fighting their consumer disputes.