Covid-19 has made this a difficult year. It has tested us in ways we have not faced, if ever, outside wartime. The challenge has been momentous, with many unknowns creating anxiety and concern for many of us. Yet, as we emerge from 2020 armed with a vaccine, there is cause for optimism.
In the early stages of the pandemic, we worried about hospital capacity and access to ventilators, yet we overcame this. We created four Nightingale hospitals and now have capacity for 30,000 ventilators. There was a global shortage of PPE, but now we have over 32 billion items and four months’ worth of supply.
No test existed for the virus, yet in the UK more than 43 million tests have been performed. Perhaps most importantly no vaccine existed to aid our fight. As I write this, the first doses have been administered in the UK and a military operation is underway to roll these out on a national scale. We are indebted to those that put themselves forward for the trials, as well as those that have been working tirelessly in laboratories. This scientific breakthrough that has given us reason to hope is down to them.
As a community, we have made strides forward together. As the MP, I am in the fortunate position to see the entirety of our community in action. From volunteering to constituency visits, meetings with local businesses and charities to countless Zoom and Teams meetings - it has been a privilege to work alongside the best of our community.
I am thankful to everyone that followed the guidelines throughout. You may never know who you helped but your actions may mean a teacher didn’t have to self-isolate because you wore a mask, or a nurse could continue their invaluable work because you socially distanced. I have no doubt that these daily contributions made a difference.
I know the economic impact has been incredibly difficult for many businesses. As we enter 2021 we can all do our bit to help them come back stronger by shopping locally, to grabbing a bite to eat or a coffee from a local cafe when out and about. So many of our businesses did incredible work to support our community during the pandemic, so I’m hopeful we will all support them in the coming months and beyond.