The “in like a lion, out like a lamb” (or vice versa) saying usually refers to the month of March, but I think it could be a good way to look at this whole year.
As we entered 2021, COVID-19 cases and deaths were spiking in the U.S. despite the early rollout of several vaccines. However, these numbers began to come down in late-January and February, and The Atlantic notes that the months ahead should follow a similar trajectory:
A useful way to think about what’s ahead is to go season by season. In short: Life this spring will not be substantially different from the past year; summer could, miraculously, be close to normal; and next fall and winter could bring either continued improvement or a moderate backslide, followed by a near-certain return to something like pre-pandemic life.
When it comes to business and mobility planning, this “season by season” outlook looks like a sound approach as well. Reiterative, short-term planning has quickly become a key business trend, and there’s really no reason for organizations to abandon this strategy now. It appears that some restrictions will be eased and we’ll get closer to “normal” this summer, but the potential for a virus resurgence when the weather cools again is real, and that means that plans need to be flexible enough to adapt on the fly. The more accurate view of 2021 could be “in like a lion, then like a lamb for a bit, then out like a lion again.” The point is we don’t know for certain — and that makes balancing short- and long-term strategies all the more important.
The end of the coronavirus pandemic is on the horizon at last, but the timeline for actually getting there feels like it shifts daily, with updates about viral variants, vaccine logistics, and other important variables seeming to push back the finish line or scoot it forward. When will we be able to finally live our lives again? Pandemics are hard to predict accurately, but we have enough information to make some confident guesses.