We’re walking on a knife-edge with Covid | Matt Mohan-Hickson

I have been doing the coronavirus print figures for the newspaper for more than a few months now.For a while, I started to wonder whether it was becoming redundant as case numbers, infection rates and deaths continued to fall lower and lower.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 5:00 pm
Krishan Patel with the Covid vaccine at Goldchem pharmacy, Southsea Picture: Habibur Rahman

We went months without a covid death being recorded at QA.

But then we started to add the vaccination figures and they have always left me feeling a tad surprised.

Portsmouth has been lagging behind the rest of the towns in the area for first dose rates ever since we added them to the print figures.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

While Havant and Gosport and Fareham all have a first dose rate of over 80 per cent, Portsmouth still remains in the low 70s.

Obviously there has still been a really huge take up of the vaccine in the city, with more than 140,000 first jabs being given so far.

But yet, I can’t help but feel a tad nervous about how many people are still not vaccinated.

Especially as we are now beginning to see cases rapidly increase at quite an alarming rate.

Last week there were two days in a row where more than 1,000 cases were confirmed across Hampshire.

It feels like we are walking on a knife edge right now, especially as we are lifting practically all of the Covid restrictions.

So if you are reading this and you haven’t had your first jab yet, what are you waiting for?

It is time to stop putting it off, because right now it is imperative that you protect yourself and others.

Do we want to go back into lockdown for a fourth time? I know I most certainly don’t.

Remember how bleak the start of 2021 was and none of us want to go through that yet again.

So go and get the jab.

If not we risk the end of 2021 becoming more lost months. more precious time we are simply letting slip through our fingers, when we could be returning to a semblance of normality.

I know I am just a journalist and not even a particularly cool one – or more accurately not cool at all.

But I am not the only one encouraging you to get the jab, in the US last week pop superstar Olivia Rodrigo joined the push.

So it really is time to get your jab. For your safety and all our safety.

It feels like the total unlocking could be a mistake

I must admit to feeling slightly uneasy about throwing all the Covid restrictions away.

It feels far too soon, given that we are seeing cases rapidly rise as the Delta variant rips through our society.

Sure I want life to go back to normal as much as the next person.

But I can’t help but feel like we are taking one heck of a leap of faith.

Fingers crossed we have jabbed and double-jabbed enough people to keep the low levels of deaths going, despite the big, big rise in cases in the last few weeks.

Yet it just feels like it could all backfire and we could be retreating back into restrictions before we know it.

The last thing any of us wants is yet another lockdown, and hopefully it won’t come to that, but things are starting to feel ominous again.

I thought the Prime Minister had promised to follow ‘data not dates’ – because this really feels like he is pushing ahead because of arbitrarily designated ‘freedom’ day and not because the data points to it being safe.

Ordering at a bar again will feel weird

I have about 5,000 different pub apps downloaded on my phone at this point, or at least it feels that way.

Every time I have gone into a different watering hole since last summer, I have ended up needing to download one or scan a QR code.

So it is safe to say that I have become very used to ordering via apps for table service in pubs.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go back to the bar. To stand in a disorganised queue, hoping that you get spotted and finally get to put in your order.

App service feels like one of the very few good things to have come out of the pandemic.

I hope we don’t just throw the baby out with the bathwater and give up on using it all together.

Plus I am not quite sure if I would feel safe standing in a big line, with potentially plenty of maskless people, at a bar.