Come on Boris, you can do this. Your supporters are begging, imploring for you to find your engaging, energizing, electrifying vigour and vim.
The nation wants hope not horror, life not lockdown. This is what people really want to hear today:
My fellow citizens
We are making steady, relentless but real progress in the battle to deal with the Covid virus. This is thanks to incredible hard work, ingenuity and sacrifice by so many for which I give my thanks. The news is better, the prospects are brighter, there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, we must not be complacent, we still have challenges to overcome, we must not let up.
Let’s just recap what happened. Exactly 6 months ago, I asked everybody to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. People did stay at home, we did protect the NHS and thanks to the bravery and brilliance of our frontline doctors and nurses, we did save lives. Sadly, we nonetheless lost many loved ones and we all mourn their loss deeply.
This was a unique and unprecedented challenge, and we have been learning from it every day of every week. We must accept that inevitably we made mistakes; the key is to ensure we don’t repeat them.
So where are we now? I know the outlook may still feel bleak, but there is some good news. We have found new ways to treat this virus better, with drugs like Remdesivir, Dexamethasone and techniques like proning. Most people are being sensible about social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks. We may not like it, but it is all helping. Across the nation, people have shown amazing creativity and smart ways to do this in shops, restaurants, pubs and offices and I am in awe of this collective effort.
To those who are ignoring these efforts, please help us. This is a joint effort, and we can only overcome the challenge, and get back to normal, if everybody works together.
We have to learn to live with this virus. Hopefully a vaccine will be found soon. There are very encouraging signs and let’s cheer the great British firms who are at the forefront of this vital endeavour.
It is really important to keep things in context. Let’s remember, every day in the UK, on average, some 1,650 people die of one condition or another. None of us can live forever. Over recent weeks, Covid related deaths have been mercifully low at under 2 per cent of this daily death rate. The average age of Covid related deaths is 82, which is about the same as average life expectancy here in the UK.
We know that as we enter Autumn, colds, flu and viruses increase. So it is no surprise, as we test every day ten times as many more people as back in April, that more cases will be positive. But the increase in those who have to go to hospital is very modest, indeed in England in recent days it is falling.
Many other diseases such as cancer and cardiac illnesses take many more of our loved ones every day. Flu and pneumonia sadly kill many more people every day than Covid. I repeat: every death is a huge loss for family and friends, but the overall context is important in terms of the nation. Covid is not in the top 10 of reasons why people die every day; it is a tiny amount of the sad but normal daily death rate.
The health of the nation is directly linked to the health of the economy. A sick economy means more sick people. If we are poorer, we cannot increase our funding of the NHS. We have to look after many other illnesses like cancer, cardiac, lungs, not to mention mental health. We all want to live longer, healthier, happier.
I know that we can, together, find the smart balance of protecting the vulnerable and simultaneously kickstarting the economy. We must move forwards whilst looking after those who need shielding. We must grow our way out of this economic crisis, and as quickly as possible. The Chancellor and I will be leading the charge on this, so that we can repay the bills in an acceptable way.
We are all in this together. Let’s stay alert, stay healthy, and stay optimistic. I know that all of us can play our part so this great United Kingdom emerges stronger and more determined.