Express & Star comment: We can't let up in coronavirus efforts

There is a time lag between the peak infection rate and the crisis in our hospitals.

A person wearing a face mask walks passed a sign in a shop window
A person wearing a face mask walks passed a sign in a shop window

So while the peak rate of transmission during the third wave has now passed, the horrific scenes in hospitals are being played out right now. Staff are putting themselves on the line to keep others safe, to preserve and protect life. We will forever be in their debt.

Across the region, infection rates are falling and vaccines are being carried out far quicker than expected.

The programme appears to be running smoothly and the colossal achievement of our scientific and medical community ought not to be underestimated.

Without fanfare or acclaim, people on the ground are performing heroic feats.

The Government made a critical error last year in continually over-promising while under-delivering. Its message has changed in 2021 and now it caveats many announcements, providing them in more realistic and achievable terms.

It is heartening, therefore, that ever against a backdrop of less boosterism, we ought to be on course to have immunised all of those willing to accept a vaccination by September.

That does not mean we should be lulled into a false sense of security. The crisis in hospitals is deepening and will be getting worse before it gets better. The lag means hospitals are now in the heat of fire.

We cannot let up until the hospital levels are down again and vaccinations take effect.

The see-saw of actions versus the effects they will have on our communities will take time. It is important that we are realistic in our own expectations. The Government must not take its foot off the gas and suddenly release all restrictions in one fell swoop. Lockdown must be ended gradually.

Those groups at greatest risk of transmission, particularly young adults, must be urged to reconsider behaviours that put other groups at risk. There must be an understanding that the world is in this together, and that it will take many months – possibly years – to fully control.

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