THE numbers of infections, hospital admissions and deaths involving Covid are all rising. New infections are running at nearly 50,000 a day with Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying last night that he expects it to reach 100,000 as the winter becomes really wintry.

Clearly, though, the vaccine is working extremely well in saving lives, and it is hard now to understand why five million people over the age of 16 have still not even had a first dose. We urge them to get their jabs, just as we urge people to get their boosters along with their flu vaccinations. There really are no excuses.

Both the booster and the flu programmes appear to be working well – amazing organisation and also amazingly free to all at the point of jabbing. The NHS is remarkable.

As well as the medical interventions, we need to be taking all the other precautions we can to keep the rates down, especially precautions that do not harm the economy in any way.

So why isn’t the Government explicit about the wearing of facemasks on public transport and in crowded buildings? As the NHS medical director, Prof Steve Powis, said of the mask at the briefing: “It makes a difference. It really does.”

The mask has become politicised with those on the right somehow seeing it as an infringement of their liberties, yet we all need the additional protection it can provide.