Think you’ve had a bad year?

As we rush to share our dismal experiences of 2020, what does SARS-CoV-2 itself think of this annus coronavirus?

James Tate
3 min readDec 3, 2020

(Unmutes) Can you hear me? Great. Video… on.

Right, 2020. What a nightmare. Where do I start?

Firstly, zoonotic migration isn’t easy, you know. My path from bat cave to world stage was not an easy one. There’s no playbook, no onboarding and no inspirational TED talk for us viruses.

So save me from all your boasts about ‘pivoting’. Knocking up a website to sell reheat-at-home restaurant meals or working from the comfort of home is nothing compared to the pivot of transcending animal group and order in the quest to infect.

Pangolins, though; stinking creatures with no redeeming features. The things I must put up with simply to replicate! Although I suppose I should be grateful for your primitive belief that pangolin scales help expel ‘wind-dampness’, whatever the hell that is. At least this superstition — primitive even by my millions-of-years-old reckoning — made the poor animal bound for market a useful vehicle for my species upsizing.

In fact, the pangolin ride was probably the best bit of 2020. So, thanks for that.

Then there’s the whole infection process. Most of you put it down to a cough or a sneeze. A knowing expression and a ‘viral load’, perhaps. But the intricate process of cellular mutation and viral replication? Do you think that’s somehow EASY?

The magic of adsorption, entry, replication, assembly and release that underpin viral infection. Does it sound like a socially distanced walk in the park to you?

No. You lot complain about Zoom fatigue, struggling to find baker’s yeast, or not having gone to the beach in the Summer. Try getting your head around the intricacies of viral infection.

Okay, so transmission from host to host was a damn sight easier because you people wouldn’t wear a face mask because it’s an assault on your civil liberties. And all those theories that I don’t exist, that I was engineered in a lab, or are part of a conspiracy to enslave people under a new world order? All untrue. But a similar type of idiotic superstition helped my ancient Black Death forefathers, and now it helps a poor virus in 2020, so for that I also thank you.

High points of the year? Not many. Sure, I travelled the world. “See Venice and die”, they say, and many of my extended covid family did indeed lose their lives in that city when their hosts died also. Italy as a whole was high up on the bucket list for many of us early in the year for some reason. I hear the USA is the most favoured destination now. London has something to offer a virus all year round, it seems.

And now, as you lot complain about not being able to celebrate Christmas in the usual fashion, what do viruses face? A damned vaccine, that’s what. Created, tested and approved for use in record time, its arrival means my year just got even worse, if that was even possible. #FML.

Then again… I see many of you will refuse to take it. With any luck, I might still be around next year! 2020 – a year of ups and downs, then. It would be good to get it over with.

Bring on 2021!



James Tate

A pick and mix of words; now online, better packaged and more expensive, like everything post-COVID. The sour cherries are best. The opinions are my own.