Express & Star comment: A ray of light in battle with coronavirus

News of a major breakthrough in the fight against Covid represents a rare ray of light in an otherwise gloomy year. 2020 has been dominated by the horrors of Covid-19 and the worst economic shock in 300 years.

A vaccine has been described as a silver bullet and we are a step closer to that after Pfizer said it had realised a drug with a 90 per cent success rate. Does that mean we will soon be back to normal? The simple answer is no. While the drug will undoubtedly save many, many lives, we will have to remain cautious for a considerable time. Now is not the time for complacency or a relaxation of restrictions, such moves would only lead to full hospitals and increased mortality.

The vaccine is the result of a partnership between China, Germany and the USA and in an era of factionalism it is heartening that global co-operation is providing a solution to a problem that affects us all. Make no mistake, we are not out of the woods. We are, however, one step closer to it.

The vaccine will not end the Covid nightmare, but it could mark the beginning of the end.

If we look optimistically at the scientific developments, we might see a route back to what we once considered normal. The damage caused by Covid, however, has been severe and the scarring will last for a very long time. The damage to our economy will have to be repaired over a lengthy period of time. Lest we forget, it took more than 10 years to recovery from the economic crash of 2008 and Covid has been exponentially worse. It may take a generation to overcome all of the obstacles that stand in our path.

Similarly, we must await further developments in terms of treatments and the vaccine itself. The vaccine will not be available to all for some time and the virus has a nasty habit of mutating.

We must be thankful, however, that the scientific community has moved so far so quickly. It is an astounding feat. No vaccine has ever gone from the drawing board to successful trials so quickly. Challenges remain, but we should be thankful for a rare note of good news.

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