The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has pledged to end social distancing by October 2021, as talks of a vaccine, and what comes after, are now becoming common. When the vaccine has been safely administered widely across the population, we are likely to see a tendency towards returning to normality. People’s reluctance to give up going to restaurants, pubs and nightclubs until told to do so by the government shows how people want to return to their pre-pandemic routine. Social distancing will be in place for the near future. But as herd immunity is achieved through vaccination, we will see handshakes and hugs becoming commonplace once more.
This is a slightly distant future. The earliest we can expect a vaccine is the end of the year. Experts predict it will take many months, possibly even a year, to distribute it to the population. Furthermore, habits we have formed over the many months of lockdown and social distancing measures are unlikely to vanish overnight. We may see the results of months of social distancing for longer than we think.