Express & Star comment: Now is the time for action to stop second wave
The coronavirus is spreading more rapidly across the UK. Cases of Covid-19 are doubling every week or so.
The R number – the rate of transmission – is now above one, the point at which it can start to accelerate and become unmanageable. Now is the time for action.
There will be many who are inconvenienced by the new six-person rule. Many also will be hit by more stringent rules in Birmingham and Sandwell, coming in tomorrow.
People who are planning birthdays, holidays, nights out and more will have to put schemes on hold. However, we must be under no illusion that if we do not act now we risk heading back to the horrors of March, April and May, or worse. Scaremongering is not necessary, we have only to look to other nations around the world to see that they are already in a worse position than the UK.
The economy has started to bounce back after such a difficult period during spring and early summer, when the nation was effectively closed. As we move forward, there will be a balance between protecting the public health and protecting our economy. The prospect of a second wave, however, is one that we cannot countenance. We can look to the successful way Germany, South Korea and New Zealand were pro-active and cautious and the rewards they gained. Having been the laggard during the first wave, we must learn the lessons of our failings.
It is not just the Government that has a role to play. Areas in this region, most notably Sandwell, are facing tougher restrictions. We have an obligation to observe them. Those who imagine they may be immune to the awful virus must contemplate the effects that their selfish actions might have on others. The Government is not over-stating the case when it says that party-going kids might end up killing their grandmother. Everyone, young and old, has a role to play.
If we look back at our shared history, we find inspiration.
The horrors people have endured in wars and recessions might put into perspective our reluctance to sit on the sofa and stay safe for a few weeks. Of course, there are many special cases and many individuals who will suffer more than others. Yet the awful costs of a second wave are aware to us and we are in the fortunate position where we can do something about it.
Meanwhile, Governments must pull together. Now is not the time for party political point scoring, it is the time for collaborative action.