It's not over yet
By Dr Wirin Bhatiani
As every English football fan will know, a commentator once famously said: “They think it’s all over… it is now!”
To be sure, there are several reasons to be cheerful when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tens of thousands of people in Bolton have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnston has announced his road map for the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions in England, starting with the re-opening of schools.
This is undoubtedly great news, but we must not be lulled into thinking ‘job done’.
Bolton has been under local or national restrictions for most of the last 11 months – and longer than most other places – yet the borough’s infection rates are still too high.
Rates are not declining as much as in other areas, and more young adults are becoming seriously ill – people in their teens, 20s and 30s – with the new and more transmissible variants of the virus. A worrying number of hospital beds are occupied by Covid patients, and the virus is still claiming lives every day.
While many are suffering from 'lockdown fatigue', we must all ask ourselves if we are doing everything we can. Are we still sticking to the rules? Maintaining social distancing, washing our hands regularly and letting in fresh air?
Businesses also need to ensure they make their workplaces Covid-safe, and support their staff to work from home wherever possible.
If we don’t keep up the pressure on coronavirus, the danger is that Bolton – and the country – will have to wait even longer before restrictions are lifted and we can return to normal.
We must not take our eye off the ball, otherwise extra time and suffering will be the penalties we face. This is not over yet.