YESTERDAY, we passed a sombre, sobering milestone on the path of the pandemic.

More than 100,000 people have now died in the last year – and it is a year this coming weekend since the first coronavirus patients were admitted to hospital in this country, in Newcastle. With deaths running at 1,200-a-day, that terrible toll will continue to rise.

On a parochial level, the population of Darlington is 106,000, so it is the equivalent of everyone between Blackwell in the south and Harrowgate Hill in the north being wiped out. Everyone, gone.

Of course, life carries on, so understandably there are questions about the future – about when schools will reopen, about when holidays might be taken – and questions about how well we have done in the past, and as we have the highest death rate of any wealthy country, we clearly haven’t fared very well.

However, while we ask those questions, at a milestone such as this one, we should remember the human cost of the pandemic, all of the years, the memories and the lives that have now been lost.

And the biggest question is whether we are all doing all we can to cut the rate of infection. This lockdown feels woolly at times. The grim milestone must remind us that we have to take this disease seriously and still follow the restrictions.