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2022: Predictions

2022: Predictions


Today, we’re doing something a little different. We’re going to kick off the year by predicting a few big things we think will happen in 2022.

Claudia williams, narrating:

Hello, I’m Claudia and this is the Sensemaker.

One story every day to make sense of the world.

Today, we’re doing something a little different. We’re going to kick off the year by predicting what we think will happen in 2022.


2021 was a pretty eventful year… a year that began with the 6th of January attack on the Capitol in Washington…

“This is exactly what was feared but in no way is this a surprise, it has been fuelled by the president’s rhetoric and it’s increasingly clear that this election has not healed the wounds, it has simply amplified them.”

ITV News

And ended with, perhaps predictably, more Covid.

But there was a lot in between.

[Montage of clips showing what happened in 2021]

“After thirteen years, Britney Spears is officially free from her conservatorship…”

Entertainment tonight

“Well I read  the story on Friday and we’ve got a new Health Secretary in the post on Saturday…”

Daily Mail

“We have just received a statement from Buckingham Palace confirming that the Duke of Edinburgh has died…”

BBC News

“Taliban forces entered the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul today, the culmination of a rapid advance and retaking of control…”

BBC News

“… and it’s Italy who are the Champions of Europe… penalties proved to be the dagger in English hearts once more…”

BBC Sport

We saw American and British troops withdraw from Afghanistan leading to a Talbian takeover, the death of Prince Philip just shy of his 100th birthday, England’s near miss at the Euros, the resignation of Health Secretary Matt Hancock after he was caught having an affair, the “Ever Given” ship got stuck in the Suez Canal, and No time to die finally hit the big screen. Just a few of things that happened in 2021.

So looking ahead to 2022, what do we here at Tortoise think might happen?


Although it’s been a long time coming, 2022 could be the year we see a professional male footballer come out as gay in one of the English football leagues.

“Hi everyone, it’s Josh Cavallo here…”


Back in October, 21 year old Australian footballer Josh Cavallo became the first male top flight player to come out.

“There’s something personal that I need to share with everyone… I’m a footballer and I’m gay…”


Josh Cavallo said he knew as a gay footballer there are other players living in silence and that he wanted to help change this. 

And if 2021 proved anything it’s that footballers can be really powerful role models. Marcus Rashford’s MBE – awarded for his work to combat child poverty – is a case in point.  

The sport still has a long way to go – but let’s hope more players feel safe enough to be who they are publicly.


Turning to politics, by December 2021, there were many who claimed this was the beginning of the end for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

His chronic indecisiveness, falling approval rates and grumbling backbenchers point to a challenging 2022.

“In the UK new polling suggests prime minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative party are in trouble.”


And although, when he was elected in 2019, there was no clear alternative leader for the Tory party. Now, there are two: Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. 

Unlike the Chancellor, Liz Truss has made her ambitions for the top job no secret. 2022 could be the year Boris Johnson sees his position challenged, and we think it will be Liz Truss ready and waiting. 


2021 was also a big year for the royals. On screen, Kristen Stewart is pegged for an Oscar after her portrayal of princess Diana in a biopic released last year. 

While in real life, Harry and Meghan made headlines across the world after their tell-all interview with Oprah…

“I need to do this for my family. This is not a surprise for anybody, but I’ve got to do something…”

The Oprah Winfrey Show

But our big prediction for the royals in 2022? The Queen will take a huge step back from her responsibilities and give way to Prince Charles.  

After her husband Phillip died last April, 95-year old Queen Elizabeth has already been slowly moving away from public life.

She was told by doctors not to go to Northern Ireland in October, dropped out of attending the major climate conference Cop26, and is currently taking a break until February as she enters a “new phase” of her reign.


Finally, Covid.  What else?  

The success of Covid vaccines has been one of the major wins of 2021. 

Over a hundred million doses have been given out in the UK alone since the vaccine was rolled out at the beginning of last year. 

As we have covered in our campaign, The Arms Race, lots more needs to be done by vaccine-rich countries to support those around the globe who are still waiting for first doses. 

But one of the key takeaways from big pharma developing the covid vaccine is the exciting advances in mRna tech. 

Unlike other vaccines that typically contain a weakened or inactive version of the virus to trigger  antibodies, mRna jabs are created in a lab and teach cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response.

Why is mRna so exciting? It is a faster, better way to vaccinate as it doesn’t rely on producing a version of the virus en masse and then deactivating it.  

And after decades of research Covid was the perfect time for scientists to work together across the world to prove the technology could work. 

Now, it has opened the door to other illnesses which previously researchers have struggled to vaccinate against. 

So our final prediction for the year is a mRna vaccine for HIV going to clinical trial. 

And trials on animals led by one of the key figures in America during the pandemic – Anthony Fauci –  have already seen better results than ever before in preventing the disease. 

HIV kills almost a million people a year. Much like Covid – a vaccine could be life changing.

Today’s story was written and produced by Phoebe Davis and Imy Harper.