We live in hope…the hope that vaccines can get ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic; the hope that the Delta (Indian) variant isn’t as lethal as previous strains, the hope that the Government actually knows what it’s doing.

And we’ve been here before.

Think back to last summer. We’d all seen the first wave of infections after the disease swept in from China, Italy and Spain. We’d seen the television pictures from inside intensive care units, we witnessed the death toll mount in care homes across the country and then gradually, almost imperceptivity things started to improve.

Day by day, the figures were better. There were fewer cases, fewer hospital admissions and thankfully, fewer deaths.

We lived in hope and our hope seemed to be rewarded. All of a sudden we were free (well more free than we had been).

Suddenly, it was our duty to go to the pub and to restaurants to ‘Eat Out to Help Out’, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s grand plan to boost the economy.
And then our hopes were dashed.

As the nights got longer and summer turned to autumn, along came the Kent variant (now known as the Alpha Variant) and all that ‘the end is in sight’ hope and euphoria evaporated.

Far from the end being in sight, things got worse, much, much worse as the Kent variant proved to be much more transmissible and the death toll mounted in a tsunami of infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

On January 1 this year, the rolling seven-day average of infections in the UK was more than 60,000.

And then there was hope again in the shape of vaccines. Almost magically the genius of scientists at Oxford University and in Germany produced the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines with unprecedented speed. We finally had a way out of the pandemic.

The virus wasn’t going to go away but at least we now had a way to stop it infecting us or at worst stopping it making us seriously ill or even killing us.

According to the BBC last month, coronavirus vaccines have saved 11,700 lives and stopped 33,000 people becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 in England alone.

The Public Health England analysis, up to the end of April, found people in their 70s and 80s had seen the biggest fall in deaths and hospital admissions and these were the people who were vaccinated first and subsequently had their second dose.

So happy days, the vaccines worked against the Kent variant.

So we were back to living in hope again and things were looking good. Even I was hopeful (and I’m not noted for being particularly optimistic), especially after getting my second vaccination at the start of May. I wouldn’t say I was feeling invincible but a combination of maximum vaccine protection coupled with a relatively low number of infections across the country did give cause for some careful optimism.

In fact, at the end of April and start of May, the seven-day rolling average of infections was down below 2,000.

And then came the Indian (Delta) variant. Apparently, it is 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant and that was around 50 per cent more transmissible than the original strain.

The Indian variant ripped though Lancashire towns and started to spread.

And now it’s reached us here in Cheshire with more than 300 people testing positive for coronavirus in a week, as the number of new cases rises.

In the seven days up to May 29, 301 cases were recorded, including 107 in Cheshire West and Chester and 194 in Cheshire East.

This is up from 75 new cases across Cheshire in the week leading up to May 22. And of course, Northwich and Winsford have their own problems with the virus after it was confirmed that a member of the public who has contracted coronavirus went into a number of pubs in Northwich on Saturday, May 22.

I’ve taken this pandemic seriously right from the start and continue to do so. I am infuriated by those who still try to claim it’s ‘just flu’, those who think it’s some kind of conspiracy to control us and those who think the whole thing is over. It’s not.

I’m saddened that all it has taken is the actions of one person who, knowingly or unknowingly, has put Northwich and Winsford in the Covid spotlight and all I can do is echo the words of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s public health team which is advising all residents of the two towns to book a PCR test whether they have symptoms or not.

The good news is that very few people who have had both vaccinations seem to have a significant degree of protection against hospitalisation from the Indian variant. So perhaps we can start living in a little hope again.