ON Saturday morning I stumbled across TV coverage of the Lord Mayor of London’s procession. Apparently it dates back to the 13th century, and consists of more than 100 floats and hundreds of people marching from Guildhall to the Royal Courts of Justice. It was watched by thousands of members of the public who lined the streets on both sides of the procession. A jolly good time seemed to be had by all.

I thought at first it must surely be a recording from a pre-Covid era. In the approximately ten minutes I watched it there was barely one face mask in sight, in either the procession marching or the public watching. Remembrance Sunday was pretty much the same.

Today and almost every day this week and the previous week and probably next week, around 20 to 30 residents of Scotland will die from Covid, and many more in the rest of the UK. They are real people, not just numbers. They could be your family member, your friend, your workmate or your neighbour. At the current rate we will reach 10,000 Scottish Covid-related deaths by December. Not a Merry Christmas in prospect for many families.

READ MORE: Scots may need to show negative Covid test and vaccine pass at some venues

COP26, Westminster sleaze and even the fate of Britney Spears have crowded out news of their demise from the front pages of newspapers and the headlines on the TV news. The First Minister no longer feels the need to update us on a daily basis. Our NHS is struggling to cope, with around 800 of its beds taken up by Covid cases. Its ambulance service and A&E departments are clearly in danger of becoming overwhelmed and the worst of winter is still to come. Deaths caused by excess waits for ambulances and delayed treatments at A&E should perhaps be added to the daily death figures.

About two million people who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have been placed in lockdown in Austria as the country faces a surge in cases. Unvaccinated people will only be permitted to leave home for limited reasons, like working or buying food. Unvaccinated people were already barred from visiting restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, but will now be expected to stay at home.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Another 13 deaths and more than 3300 new cases

In Australia, the state of Queensland will bar unvaccinated people from restaurants, pubs and sports events from December 17. Singapore has said that those who remain unvaccinated by choice will have to pay for their own medical bills from December.

Now that COP26 is over, is it not time for the Governments (both UK and Scottish) to refocus efforts to reduce Covid deaths and hospital admissions? The owners of Scotland’s nightclubs may not like it, but is it not time to look seriously at re-introducing some kind of restrictions? How long are we to wait before further more drastic action might need to be taken?

The fact that most of the population is double “jagged” and some have had a booster jab seems to be having a limited impact on current hospital numbers and Covid-related deaths. It would be interesting to know what real impact the vaccine programme is having and, more to the point, what would have been the situation without it? Are the vast majority who fill our hospital beds and go on to die unvaccinated? If so, maybe it is time for a major, very hard-hitting public health campaign to convince them to get vaccinated.

Does the end of the furlough scheme mean that our governments have decided we will just have to live, and die, with Covid?

Brian Lawson