After a week that saw Covid-19 cases reach their highest level in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph examines five reasons why the infection rate remains so high despite all our efforts to keep the virus at bay.
The new Covid variant
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that a new variant of Covid-19 may be linked to a faster spread of the virus in the south of England on December 14.
Nine days later, the Department of Health confirmed a case of the new variant in Northern Ireland.
It is believed the variant is likely to have been present in Northern Ireland for some time.
In response, Health Minister Robin Swann encouraged everyone to "redouble" their efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
Dr Tom Black, chair of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland, said it was safe to assume there is an increase in transmission based on the fast-rising figures, which hit 2,000 cases one day this week.
"We don't have the evidence yet in Northern Ireland but there's certainly evidence in the south of England and there seems to be a bigger spike now than before," he stated.
The public has been encouraged to stick to the health advice throughout the pandemic but, understandably, complacency has set in.
Young people wishing to see their friends have been holding house parties or small get-togethers and some families have been meeting indoors.
Mr Swann urged the public not to hold potential "super-spreader" New Year's Eve parties, warning they could cost lives.
It remains to be seen if that message was taken onboard as confirmed cases rising from these events could take several weeks before they are announced.
Dr Black felt a big factor in the surge in cases is the result of complacency, particularly in younger people.
"They just didn't seem to engage with the population and the need for controls," he said. "We see that repeatedly.
"The young people could get the virus first and go home and visit their granny, despite being advised not to."
Reopening of retail and hospitality sectors
In the build-up to Christmas, the Executive ended the two-week circuit-breaker restrictions on December 11.
Shops and much of the hospitality sector reopened following the strict measures to curb the spread of the virus until the latest six-week lockdown came into force on December 26.
Consumers flooded the high streets to get ready for the festive period, while many visited a restaurant for some much-needed catch-ups with their loved ones.
While retail, hospitality and the public in general welcomed the move, the virus spread rapidly amongst the population as the latest figures indicate.
A record 2,143 positive cases were announced on December 30 - the highest since testing began.
Dr Black felt the Executive was too slow in introducing tough guidelines in response to the rising virus cases.
"Everything that was done in terms of controlling the spread of the virus was too little too late," he said.
Health message has been lost
Both the Executive and the media have been pushing the public health advice since the outbreak of the pandemic in March.
Simple things such as washing your hands, wearing a face mask, keeping your distance and staying indoors are happening less frequently.
The daily case and death toll numbers may have resulted in the public becoming immune to the dangers of Covid-19 and resulted in a weariness across the country.
"People are fed up with it and they just want us to fix this and get it to go away because it's been nearly a year now," said Dr Black.
"To some extent you can't blame people when they become complacent but at the same time, complacency leads to failure and failure and leads to deaths, especially in our older people.
"We just have to stay the course, keep our heads down and keep doing the hard work."
Breakdown of infection in your area
The breakdown of infection rates in Northern Ireland's 11 council areas may have resulted in residents developing a false sense of security.
For example, figures in the Derry and Strabane area remained steadily low up until the end of August but then reached over 500 per 100,000 of the population.
Dr Black believes that some people may be looking at the figures in their area and believing it is safe when the infection rate remains low.
However, that inevitably results in an increase in cases when people begin to mix.
"In Derry and Strabane, they knew the levels were low and then they went through the roof," he said.
"People were very careful and the area got to about less than 200 per 100,000.
"Now they have gone up to over 500 per 100,000 which is very high.
"People do look at their local rates and become complacent when they're low and get scared when they're high again."
The UK’s chief medical officers have said a first Covid vaccine dose offers “substantial” protection as they urged health service colleagues to back plans to delay second doses so more people can have their initial jab.