TODAY’S good news is a sharp fall in Covid death rates – to 373 in a day – or less than a quarter of the grim peak in January.

This may be reviewed upwards tomorrow but the trend is on the right track.

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“The death toll is everything,” says a government insider. “Once the figure falls to around 100, nothing can stop lockdown being lifted.”

Everyone’s future, especially Britain’s nine million school-children, depends upon the toll reaching an “acceptable” level. So what is acceptable? One definition is the level at which the NHS can cope.

It is coping right now. There are spare hospital beds. Doctors and nurses are still under pressure but they are not being overwhelmed.

Another definition is public consent. Sixty-seven million people want their lives back. Even chief medical gloomster Chris Whitty admits we are “past the peak”.

Once the Government has delivered its promised 15million jabs by St Valentine’s Day, the long-suffering British public will vote with their feet — hopefully with Boris Johnson leading the way. Indeed, mums and dads desperate for schools to re-open immediately after the half-term may already be pushing at an open door.

Boris would love to lower the drawbridge early but he knows he cannot risk a third wave. It is a desperately fine judgment. The PM is surrounded by such shroud-wavers as bonking boffin Neil Ferguson, the man who wrongly predicted 500,000 Covid deaths and now warns of up to 167,600 more — a grand total of nearly 700,000 Covid corpses.

Bewilderingly, Ferguson is still on the influential Sage group of advisers, the “experts” Boris has promised to follow.

Members include behavioural scientist Susan Michie, a paid-up Communist Party member and anti-Tory campaigner. She is unlikely to wish Boris a good war.

“Behavioural science must be at the heart of the public health response to Covid-19,” she insists. Her special subject is a hotchpotch of disciplines including “sociology, social and cultural anthropology, psychology and behavioural aspects of biology, economics, geography, law, psychiatry and political science”. In other words, you can more or less make it up.

Its hokum lurks behind deliberately terrifying NHS ads featuring death-bed patients imploring us to follow the guidelines. Unsurprisingly, “we’re all scared”, as the BBC’s Clive Myrie kept telling us in a corpse-filled bulletin from the Armageddon front line.

Actually, we are all rather keen to resume our normal lives. Especially the thousands of terrified cancer, heart and kidney patients whose symptoms might be terminal.

And those parents watching helplessly as their kids forget all they learned a year ago and who see their futures dissolving before their eyes. Conscientious teachers are keen to get back to work. Many worry about restoring classroom discipline among young teens who have become used to roaming wild.

Months of feral freedom is responsible for a sharp rise in antisocial behaviour, including drug use and violence. The recent spate of stabbings and murders is blamed by police on kids with too much time on their hands. Tory MPs are clamouring to see schools back before the planned March 8 reopening.

“With the vaccination rollout going so well and the huge amount of harm we’re causing to children by not giving them an education, I hope we can open school gates on February 22,” says ex-Cabinet minister Esther McVey.

“It’s simply not right to keep children locked up like this, especially once we’ve vaccinated the top four at-risk groups.”

Even hapless Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer agrees with her . . . I think.

It would help if he passed this on to the hard-Left National Education Union which, as The Sun revealed last week, has slapped down impossible terms including an “end to child poverty”.

 

Militants are also demanding two weeks’ notice of any decision to go back to school.

But as one Government insider says: “If deaths fall to around 100 a day, as we hope they soon will, how can teachers’ unions justify keeping classrooms closed?

“And if they can shut schools in a matter of days, why would it take much longer to open them?”

‘Starmer will never be Prime Minister’

QUEEN’S Counsel Keir Starmer will never be Prime Minister.

It’s not just his hypocrisy in accepting a knighthood and waving the Union Jack after once calling for the abolition of the Royal Family.

Starmer may be mealy-mouthed but he is as much a leftie as Jeremy Corbyn, whom he loyally served as a Shadow Cabinet minister.

As a top judge observed after Starmer’s botched prosecution of two dozen innocent journalists, he has scant concern for Press freedom – the basis of true democracy.

No, the biggest challenge is trying to keep the bickering Labour Party afloat, while Boris disappears triumphantly over the horizon like a ship in full sail.

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