Star comment: We must still work together to reach Covid end game

The police will likely be as pleased as the general public that the number of fines for Covid-19 breaches has fallen steeply.

The onset of the pandemic presented huge challenges to society. The police had to wrestle with constantly changing rules and guidance – and were charged with enforcing them despite, at times, some very confusing messages. The drop in the number of fines is therefore expected.

Of course, many, many people stuck to the rules. By and large the police did a tremendous job in exceptionally difficult circumstances. As we look forward to a return of freedoms, whenever that may be, we should still ensure we stick to the rules – we are not yet out of the woods.

The Delta variant is presenting unexpected difficulties and is having a profound effect on our ability to emerge from the pandemic. We might be pleased that we are not in the same dark place that we were earlier this year, though mindful that we still have a long way to go.

With infection rates increasing apace, fuelled by a steep rise in cases in the North West, we are far from safe. Though many might feel tired of the regulations and while businesses understandably want to return to pre-pandemic norms, we must continue to be patient. The rules and regulations are there for our own safety. While many older members of our community have been vaccinated, a large proportion of young adults have not. While they might not be at a great risk of hospitalisation or death, they are highly vulnerable to long Covid, which has debilitating effects. And so we must continue to focus our minds on the bigger picture, on doing the right things that help the wider community rather than focusing on narrower self-interests. The pandemic has presented once-in-a-lifetime challenges and the nation has rallied for the most part.

Irrespective of delays to unlocking, we are heading towards the end game when all have been vaccinated and therefore enjoy some degree of immunity. We must not sacrifice our hard-earned gains and we must continue to rally together.

Summer is upon us and we can look forward to long, hot days and even longer evenings. While many of us will be joyful, some will face a tiring time. As we head towards the midsummer equinox, there are those who will struggle to get any sleep at all.

For while most of us complain about not having a good night’s sleep, for some it is a much more severe issue. Those who suffer from chronic insomnia face a debilitating condition that affects their emotional and physical wellbeing. It means that putting in place a better regime around sleeping is vital.

The issue of sleep is all too easily overlooked. Most take it for granted. But for those who struggle to switch off it is a cause of considerable anxiety. Sleep fuels us. It is just as important for rank and file citizens as it is for elite sportsmen and women, for whom it is an essential part of their training regime. We can have sympathy for those who suffer, recognising the difficulties they face, while paying mind to our own wellness and making sure we’re kind to ourselves during this difficult epoch. Life is challenging – and sometimes we all need a good sleep to switch off from it.

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