Star comment: As Cummings furore continues, don't forget Long Covid victims

As the furore over Dominic Cummings’ allegations continue, it is worth reminding ourselves that this crisis is not over.

Dominic Cummings' explosive evidence should not detract from people who are in need of help
Dominic Cummings' explosive evidence should not detract from people who are in need of help

Though Mr Cummings is clearly partisan, though his credibility was destroyed by his ill-advised trip to Barnard Castle and though he has more axes to grind than a blacksmith, much of what he says will resonate.

The picture he has painted of a dysfunctional Downing Street that is frequently chaotic and habitually behind the curve is one that will resonate with many.

Yet, to revert to Downing Street’s favourite line of response: the public doesn’t really care. What matters to the public is getting out of this mess, is driving down the number of infections, is making sure people don’t get ill, is making sure people do get vaccinated. And so, while Mr Cumming’s evidence wasn’t pretty and portrayed him as a bitter, self-serving character out for revenge, those who oppose the Government will have seen things they already suspected while those who support them will shrug their shoulders and marvel at the world-beating success story that is the UK’s immunisation programme.

What almost went unnoticed as the storm surrounded Westminster was a report published by the BMJ. It said more must be done to support families of those who have been affected by long Covid.

Once the immediate crisis of coronavirus is out of the way, long Covid will still be with us. It affects people of all ages, including children, and we must now turn our scientists’ attention to better cures. Those who are suffering must not become the forgotten victims of this awful disease. We must work tirelessly to provide support so that they can return to the lives they formerly lived, unencumbered by the debilitating long-term illness.

It is important that we look to the past to learn the lessons.

Our mistakes must inform future behaviour as we strive for improvement so that we can do things better. Yet we must be forward-looking and progressive, too, facing challenges head on and reaching out to those who need it most.

The goal of herd immunity is honing into view. As the vaccination reaches more and more people, we are rapidly approaching a time when we’ll be able to circulate in considerable safety.

Those who suffered a century ago developed herd immunity when vast numbers died or became seriously ill. In the modern world, we can achieve a similar objective through medicinal means thanks to the remarkable work of scientists.

More than three quarters of adults in England and Wales now have antibodies for the virus, which will make it harder for Covid-19 to thrive. It is being starved of oxygen, pushed to the margins, smothered by the brilliance of our scientific community.

Everyone over 30 is now eligible for the jab and it is important that people continue to get injected. We acknowledge that Covid-19 is a global problem and though the UK made catastrophic errors, now is the time to focus on rolling out the vaccine and making more and more people safe. Challenges lie ahead as new variants are imported and when autumn comes. We must do the hard work now to shore up our defences ahead of a challenging season later this year.

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