We all know this year has been incredibly challenging, but it has been nice to see such good community spirit and resilience as local residents have looked out for each other and supported those in need. There is light at the end of the tunnel and that light will get brighter as the weeks go by. Later this week, we will start to see the first people who were vaccinated against Covid-19 receive their second dosage. By last Saturday morning, 350,000 of the most vulnerable people and frontline health workers had received their first dose.
As the first country in the world to roll out an approved vaccine, the rate of vaccination will keep on increasing, especially when the Oxford vaccine is approved and rolled out, as it’s much easier to distribute due to not having to be stored at -70C. As more older people are vaccinated the better protected the NHS becomes with fewer hospital admissions and serious illness, meaning the sooner our lives can improve.
Against this improving backdrop of less vulnerable people at risk is the short-term impact of the renewed winter spread of the virus and a strain that is more infectious established in south east England. We know Christmas and January are going to be especially hard, perhaps the most difficult time for many of us during this entire pandemic. These times in particular are a time when depression is known to increase in people who are already struggling, so we will need to be there for each other for emotional support more than ever.
Christmas is a time for faith. Many of us will be celebrating the birth of Jesus more quietly this year, but I also say please have faith in the science that things will get better. This pandemic has been a marathon, but we are approaching the last few but most difficult miles.
For anyone needing support, West Sussex County Council’s Community Hub continues to be open every day throughout Christmas and New Year between 8am-8pm on 033 022 27980. I wish all readers a very happy, peaceful and relaxing Christmas.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
23rd December 2020