Today, on January 1, as we look back on the year we could never have imagined, how can we even begin to tell the story of 2020?
Where it begins and ends is easier – in the elite ski resorts of Europe.
Last February, the ski resort of Ischgl, on the Austrian-Swiss border, was its usual magnet for the international rich and famous.
Nicknamed ‘Ibiza on Ice’ for its famed apres-ski nightlife, skiers gathered in packed bars.
Thousands went home again, carrying the just-emerging coronavirus to more than 40 countries on five continents, including the UK.
Fast forward to December and despite being urged to “stay at home”, around 3,500 people from the UK were estimated to have travelled once more to Switzerland’s elite ski resorts.
And then hundreds left again, under cover of darkness, as Switzerland asked them to isolate to prevent the spread of “the British Covid”.
Vote Leave’s Andy Wigmore – a man not generally known for his sympathetic view of refugees fleeing persecution – even compared his family’s flight with the von Trapps from the Sound of Music.
There are few images that better sum up the inequalities of the coronavirus pandemic than that of wealthy Brits fleeing the pandemic police in their Moncler salopettes – while back home The Trussell Trust was issuing a food parcel every nine seconds.
While SUVs with UK numberplates queued to cross the Swiss border, at Newcastle’s West End foodbank in Benwell, people queued in the cold and rain as volunteers issued food parcels for 4,404 people.
“It’s always humbling to see that despite struggling, people hold on to their dignity and