LEARN to live with Covid – that’s what we have to do. All get your jags and everything will be fine, back to normal (however you define normal). Hugging and kissing, cramming on to buses and trains (not to mention aeroplanes), down to the pub, shops, theatres – whatever takes your fancy – it will all be fine.

Of course lots of people will still catch Covid every day, but that’s OK, because we’ve all had the vaccines. And they are very good vaccines that prevent severe illness and death in the majority of people.

It’s really only people with “underlying health conditions” who are going to get seriously ill and die now. So that’s alright.

I’ve had both my jags but I have an underlying health condition that has required me to take immune-suppressing drugs for the last 30-plus years. There is a significant chance that the vaccines will not protect me. My immune system is shot to pieces. In 2019 I needed nine courses of antibiotics for various infections. In 2020 I needed just one and that was in January (pre-Covid).

Shielding certainly protected me from coughs and colds which, of course we also catch from other people. I did as I was told, stayed completely within my own property for three months. I am lucky – a garden, big house, supportive partner and family, all the tech I need to keep in touch and I was already an accomplished online shopper. But shielding was horrible. It reinforced the fact that I have health problems, it made me believe I was vulnerable when before I strove to be normal.

Before you get visions of a doddery and infirm auld wifey (I’m closer to 70 than 60), I cycle, I walk, I manage my domestic and family responsibilities. I have hobbies and interests enough to keep boredom as a theoretical concept. But I am one of the people with “underlying health conditions” who, if (when?) we catch Covid, are going to get seriously ill and potentially die.

So that’s alright? Not for me it’s not. Not for my family it’s not.

I do not want to be the collateral damage of a policy that allows Covid to run riot through the population until we have killed off all the vulnerable. So that the rest of you can crowd into pubs to watch the “national game”. So that you can go and visit far-flung places without quarantining. So that you can just get back to normal. I would like to get back to normal too – I’d like to be part of that “new normal”.

Susan Walker, East Ayrshire.

* BOTH the Prime Minister and the new UK Health Secretary are adamant it’s time for Britain to learn to “live with Covid”. After so many months of unparalleled suppression in economic and cultural life, and with vaccines providing adequate protection against Covid, in my view it smacks of control freakery to oppose a return to normality.

The need now is for a steady hand on the political tiller and robust policies which can contain the ups and downs of cohabiting with the virus, especially in the fields of inpatient care, education and international travel. It would help if the lid were kept on such distractions as green fundamentalism and constitutional tomfoolery.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


NICOLA Sturgeon seems to be making a career out of trying to defend the indefensible. With a mere 40 per cent success rate of Test and Protect contact tracing, how can she claim that this is not a failure? Had the First Minister believed that the peak was over and cut back on the staffing of this service, leading to the current inability of the system to cope with the rise in cases?

Has she taken her eye off another ball after the drug death debacle? Perhaps she should try to concentrate on what matters to Scotland, keeping us healthy and improving the economy, not picking fights with Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.


A RECORD 3,887 new cases of coronavirus have just been recorded on one day, giving a total of around 20,000 in a week. Scottish football supporters have been blamed for a rise in Covid cases after going to London to watch the England v Scotland match. Nicola Sturgeon ignored repeated warnings, preferring to court public popularity before the well-documented dangers.

Politicians must wake up to the Covid danger that 30,000 delegates coming to COP26 in Glasgow from 190 countries will bring to Scotland. The Scottish Government must demand that Westminster cancel this dangerous gathering which has achieved nothing in 25 years; Cop26 will be no different.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


FIGURES from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicate that the UK has the lowest level of wealth per head of population of all countries in north-west Europe. This should come as no real surprise.

These show that the UK has a national income (GDP) level of £31,038 per head of the population in 2021 – the lowest of its 13 neighbouring countries of Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, France and Germany.

The average wealth of all countries, per person, is £36,100 – £5,062 higher than the UK's rate.

The gap between the UK's GDP levels and its European neighbours has also widened over the last two decades, with the UK going from having a GDP which was 7.6 per cent (£2,219) lower than the average of its neighbours in 2000, to 16.3% (£5,062) lower this year.

The UK is now a whopping £15,739 per person less wealthy than those independent European countries similar in size to or smaller than Scotland.

Scotland is shackled as part of a UK which is truly the economic sick man of Europe, and the only way to unleash our full economic potential and be as successful as our European neighbours is through becoming a normal independent country.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

* THE UK Covid-19 debt has now risen to a massive £2.19 trillion and given Scotland's share would be approx 12 per cent, this surely ends the independence dream. Scotland could not possibly survive without the wider spread resources of the U.K.

Any vision of an independent Scotland would now see a severe contraction of pensions and benefits for those living in Scotland and a bleak financial future struggling with the inherited debt.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.


WHILE I cannot disagree with the conclusions of Neil Mackay’s article ("Let us have a British summit to move Scotland forward", The Herald, June 29), he misses out one important element in the constitutional debate; an element he is a part of. The Fourth Estate is often supposed to be the media, and Scotland’s media need to participate more directly.

It is highly unlikely there would or could be a major UK constitutional summit, Boris Johnson being content to let constitutional concerns fester (unlike Brexit). Every time a senior member of the Cabinet comes to Scotland on a day-trip, he/she should be asked “what is the legal, democratic route to Scottish independence?” Their answer or non-answer should be played on the evening news, as the alternative to legitimacy and democracy is not to be contemplated. Correspondents will wish questions also to be asked of Nicola Sturgeon, about borders and currency, but they are already being asked. What we lack is a strong focus on the lack of answers and a resulting debate in the media. Drift and guddle won’t do.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


ALLAN C Steele (Letters, June 30) asks where have all the furloughed staff gone. The answer might well be that they have obtained work elsewhere or gone on holiday or volunteered their services to a charity which is unconnected to their employer. The regulations are quite clear that an employee can work for another employer (if contractually allowed) and volunteer for another employer or organisation.

As restrictions are eased and companies summon staff on furlough back to work their employees will have to decide whether or not to return to their furloughed job or to continue with whatever they have been doing while receiving payments under the Job Retention Scheme.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.


IN these difficult times it is always interesting to read letters such as those from Messrs McKenzie and Barnet, (Letters, June 28 & 29) on the trials and tribulations of vexillology.

I have always understood that the flying of the Lion Rampant should only take place on royal palaces, or with the permission of the Monarch (under a Parliamentary Act of 1672). This is a condition which is entirely ignored at football matches and other gatherings of suggested importance.

R Johnston, Newton Mearns.

Read more: Is there no one in the Government who can join the dots on Covid?