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Express & Star comment: Deaths falling, but pandemic far from over

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

The number of daily deaths is falling, but there is news that nobody wants to hear. And that is that it’s not over.

Deaths falling, but pandemic far from over

Britons reacted impressively to the lockdown and after many weeks of collective sacrifices we are now seeing a reward.

You only have to look around to see how many people are becoming weary of the restrictions and are yearning for something resembling normality. So part of the battle now is a psychological one, to stop that wish that coronavirus is being beaten becoming a firm belief that coronavirus has been beaten.

As some countries which have been easing their lockdown measures have found, it doesn’t work like that. Until there is a coronavirus vaccine, this disease is not going to go away, and can make a deadly comeback.

Yet you cannot lock down communities forever and the relative improvement in the picture is seeing a phased relaxing of some restrictions. Social distancing will continue. That should not be a problem, because that is one message that has really struck home and social distancing has now become second nature to many. We have never been quite so aware of the proximity of those around us as now.

Key to a safe path forward which does not lead to a second wave is an effective track, trace, and isolate system. The first wave has been like a conflagration which is being brought under control, relatively speaking. Now we have to be ready to stamp out all the individual flare-ups as they occur, to prevent another conflagration.

Britain’s track and trace regime is still being worked up, but inevitably it will mean having to submit to a surveillance society. There is also the potential for local lockdowns, in which areas with new flare-ups find themselves having to live differently to places which enjoy the all clear.

The sense that we are in it together has helped cement the community effort, so it will be a real test of resolve if some places are treated differently from others. It will continue to be tough, but allowing a second wave would be a devastating and demoralising blow after all we’ve been through.

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