Covid lockdown anniversary: We should remember the victims but also that hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved – Scotsman comment

As people all over the UK fell silent to mark the anniversary of the imposition of the Covid lockdown, many will have remembered the victims of this terrible pandemic. People they loved, people they knew who are no longer with us.

A year ago, the virus had claimed the lives of several hundred people. Based on death certificates which mention Covid as a factor, that number now stands at more than 145,000.

Others have lost their lives because conditions like cancer have been diagnosed later they would otherwise; for example, a study in the Lancet journal estimated an increase of more than 7.9 per cent in the number of deaths due to breast cancer in England because of pandemic-related diagnostic delays.

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And the lockdown has forced businesses to close, putting people out of work, led to growing concern about the levels of isolation-linked depression and loneliness, and caused a huge amount of stress and worry for us all.

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However, as we remember the victims of this crisis, it is worth also thinking about all the lives that have been saved by the extraordinary hard work and dedication of NHS staff and as a result of the lockdown.

In June last year, just three months into the outbreak, researchers estimated that 470,000 people in the UK were alive as a result of the restrictions and our adherence to them.

So it is hard to imagine just how many more people today would be grief-stricken by the events of the last year had the lockdown not been imposed or had the public refused to abide by it, as was initially feared.

Staff from the Glasgow Royal Infirmary gather outside the hospital for a minute's silence for all those who have died in the Covid pandemic (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

As The Scotsman and others have reported, the UK and Scottish governments have undoubtedly made mistakes over the past months and it remains important for their decisions to be scrutinised, criticised and debated.

However, Nicola Sturgeon, Boris Johnson and the vast majority of the general public have tried to do their best in these most difficult of circumstances.

And together – by washing our hands, wearing masks, staying at home, maintaining social distancing and making many significant and difficult sacrifices over the past 12 months – we have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and, quite possibly, our own.

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