Quote of the day 20th January 2021

"According to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, we are now inoculating 300,000 people a day —more than twice the rate of Denmark, the second best European nation. Yesterday we passed the 4 million mark; Hancock claims that 50 per cent of the over-80s, those in care homes and other vulnerable people have had their first jab. Tom Whipple, The Times science editor, puts it another way: every 30 seconds another Covid patient is admitted to hospital in England, but during those 30 seconds more than 70 people will have been vaccinated."

"It is a truly national achievement, accomplished by countless thousands of ordinary people, paid and unpaid, medics and volunteers, professionals and amateurs — a veritable Dunkirk of the pandemic."

"Much of the credit for making the miracle happen goes to Hancock and his “minister for vaccination”, Nadhim Zadawi. But the idea of mass vaccination hubs is owed to Israel — the first country in the world to vaccinate three quarters of its over-60s, some 20 per cent of the 9.3 million population. After private talks with their counterparts in Israel, the British Government began multiplying mass vaccination centres and in just over a fortnight they have dramatically increased the rate of immunisation. Not everyone in the NHS welcomed the new initiative but its success has silenced any doubts."

"Looking back over the pandemic, it is now clear that initial fears of hundreds of thousands of deaths were no exaggeration. The second wave, driven by mutations, has been far more infectious and therefore deadlier than the first. And without lockdowns and social distancing to reduce its circulation, the death toll would have been far higher. These and other measures have almost certainly reduced the incidence of other infectious diseases too, so that the “flu season” has hardly registered this winter."

"Even though the NHS was incomparably better prepared for the second wave, with new treatments tipping the odds in favour of severely ill patients and equipment in plentiful supply, the hospitals are still under unprecedented pressure. A record 34,336 were being treated for Covid yesterday. Only now that the peak has been passed, and the vaccination programme is draining the pool in which coronavirus swims, can we see how close the NHS came to being overwhelmed in the last few weeks. And, as the PM admits, 'the situation is still pretty precarious'”.

"The vaccination programme is steadily defeating the coronavirus, by depriving it of its most vulnerable victims. It is far too soon to declare victory. It is not too soon to say that the worst of the pandemic is now behind us. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” wrote Dickens of the French Revolution. We can echo his mixed feelings — but not the conclusion of that long sentence: “…it was the winter of despair.” This is now the winter of hope."

(Daniel Johnson, extracts from a piece published yesterday on "The Article" site which you can read in full here.)


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