Leo Varadkar’s prediction that the pandemic would end in 2021 has been named amongst the Worst Predictions About 2021 by the New York Times.
“With the vaccine, with mass testing and with the knowledge of how to prevent and treat this virus, I think the pandemic will end in 2021," Tanaiste Leo Varadkar told Newstalk Breakfast in December 2020.
With the benefit of hindsight, Varadkar's prediction has been named amongst the worst of 2021 by opinion columnist Peter Coy of the New York Times.
Varadkar was "daring to predict the course of a pandemic that has flummoxed the experts repeatedly," Coy writes.
“To his credit, he did qualify his prediction with ‘I think,'" Coy added.
Coy's list features "overconfident people from many walks of life" including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Donald Trump, and even Coy himself.
Varadkar made his ill-fated prediction while speaking with Newstalk Breakfast in December 2020, just months after becoming Tanaiste. When COVID began to grip the world in March 2020, Varadkar was in the 'caretaker' Taoiseach position after the February 2020 Irish general elections that eventually gave way to the three-party coalition and the 'rotating Taoiseach' arrangement.
Coy's nomination of Varadkar's prediction being one of the worst of 2021 comes in stark contrast to a separate NYT column from Mark Landler who wrote in April 2020: "To the list of politicians whose fortunes have been rescued by the pandemic, add Leo Varadkar’s name."
Landler cited Varadkar's return to practicing medicine in the early stages of the pandemic, as well as his St. Patrick's Day 2020 address which was viewed as "one of the most memorable ever delivered by an Irish leader."
As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. It is now January 2022, and while Ireland’s vaccination programme has gone from strength to strength, the country is currently enduring record-breaking daily case numbers while the Irish hospitality sector is on its knees thanks to early pub closings and the shuttering of nightclubs.