Sometimes there is just a moment in which one person emerges as a national symbol. There is no doubt as we look back to the early days of this pandemic who that person was who, with his modesty and fortitude, made a huge impression on us all.
Captain Sir Tom Moore did an extraordinary thing and was the right man at the right time. He emerged in the months leading up to us remembering the 75th Anniversary of the Second World War, a time when the population of our islands endured pain and grief for years. He simultaneously stood for his generation that courageously stood up to the threats of the past and inspired us all to rise to the challenge Covid 19 represented.
A man who had recently recovered from skin cancer, broken a hip and had two knees replaced, set off in on his marathon fund raising effort for NHS charities. More was to come: including topping the charts.
The nation took him to their hearts as his 180,000 birthday cards on his 100th Birthday bear testament.
His role as veteran of the last War, his courage and determination all contributed to the Tom Moore phenomenon. However what perhaps had most resonance was his quiet humility. The nation all knew then, as they know now, that key workers, in particular NHS staff are working night and day to save the lives of others. Captain Tom gave voice to those who were and remain so grateful for the care, love and dedication of others.
He also, at a bleak time, had an uplifting message. “Remember, tomorrow is a good day, tomorrow you will maybe find everything will be much better than today.”
Our brilliant NHS continues to look after patients. Primary care teams are maintaining their tremendous progress on getting out the vaccines while their colleagues in local hospitals fight to save the lives of patients with Covid while continuing to diagnose and care for all, whatever their conditions.
The good news is that lockdown is working. Infection rates are falling and hospital admissions locally have plateaued. However infections continue to be at a very high level and hospitals remain under huge pressure with 230 Covid cases being treated in East Surrey and 29 patients currently in Intensive Care.
There is good news on vaccine delivery and great news that preliminary studies on the Oxford vaccine suggest it not only significantly reduces the risk of severe illness but helps prevent transmission. Tomorrow may indeed be a better day but infections are still high and we must remain cautious.