Star comment: Glimmer of hope for an end to pandemic?

After a grim 17 months which has seen 153,000 people lose their lives to the coronavirus, it looks like their is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

Microscope image of a coronavirus
Microscope image of a coronavirus

Despite fears that last week's easing of restrictions could unleash a deadly third wave of fatalities, all the data suggests that the vaccines are doing their job and that the virus is in retreat.

Professor Neil Ferguson says that while last week's opening up could lead to a short-term increase in infection rates, he is confident that by autumn the worst will be over.

We sincerely hope so, but many of us remember holding similar hopes last summer, as the Chancellor encouraged us to Eat Out to Help Out.

Boris Johnson will no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief, the very last thing he wants is to call another lockdown. The restrictions cannot go on for ever, and that the public have only finite levels of patience when it comes to being told what to do.

But equally, none of us can afford to drop our guard, and the battle cannot just be left to the politicians, scientists and medics. We all have a role in defeating the virus, be it wearing a mask on the bus or young people getting their jabs.

It is well known that Mr Johnson sees Winston Churchill as something of an inspiration, and we would all do well to remember our wartime leader's caution following victory at El Alamein in 1942.

To slightly misquote the great man, this is not the end. It may not even be the beginning of the end. We just hope it is the end of the beginning.

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