In an article for today’s Mail on Sunday, Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting says that we should never lock down the country again and have to learn to live with the virus. When even lockdown’s most fervent enthusiasts abandon the policy, you know the argument is won.
We know that the coronavirus is here to stay but, as Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, I don’t want to see our country in lockdown ever again.
A visit to a primary school in my constituency this week was a reminder that lockdowns come at a great cost.
Children spent 155 days out of school on average over the past couple of years, but the impact on their learning, their wellbeing and their life chances is immeasurable.
Entrepreneurs who have spent years building up their businesses have seen them collapse, while others have made enormous sacrifices just to survive.
Workers have lost their jobs.
All through no fault of their own.
I still haven’t forgiven the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, for leaving so many self-employed people excluded from any support whatsoever, while carelessly handing billions in Covid support to fraudsters.
There is plenty of evidence that shutting us off from our colleagues, friends and family has taken its toll on our mental health and wellbeing.
Feelings of loss and loneliness are inevitable when much of what makes life worth living is taken away.
That’s why when Keir Starmer spoke about shifting the focus on healthcare to prevention as well as cure yesterday, he pledged that Labour would guarantee mental health support within a month to all who need it.
We need to learn to live with Covid.
Worth reading in full.