Express & Star comment: Return to normality not so simple
Back to life, back to normality... except it isn't turning out like that.
The lockdown during the height of the coronavirus pandemic forced people to change the way they live their lives, affecting work, shopping, socialising, accessing services like health care, and also having an invisible impact on psychology.
Boris Johnson wants people to start getting back into work if they can do so safely, and is encouraging people to get out and about so the shops, pubs, hotels, and so on which have had such a torrid time can become functioning businesses once more.
Yet the signs are that it isn't going to be quite so straightforward. It isn't as if the virus has gone away, and there are warnings that if we are not careful there could be a second wave.
In the circumstances you cannot blame those in the more vulnerable groups, particularly the old and disabled, in erring on the side of being careful and clinging to the stay-at-home habit. Because if the lifting of lockdown restrictions proves in hindsight to have been a reckless gamble, they are the ones who will pay the highest price.
Fear of coronavirus, and the messages which have urged caution, have meant some people who need medical treatment for serious ailments – and this includes heart attacks – have not been seeking it.
Coronavirus is causing collateral damage which remains to be accurately calculated, but will comprise those people who have died, or had medical conditions which have unnecessarily become worse, who did not have Covid-19.
The lockdown mentality has become a problem in itself. For children things have been especially tough – and as statistically healthy children are the lowest risk group of all, some would say unfairly tough.
Being confined to their homes has been bad enough, and can lead to a pressure cooker atmosphere. But there is concern from the NSPCC for those restricted to their homes in circumstances in which they have been exposed to physical or emotional abuse or neglect. This has the makings of a nightmare of being locked up with your abusers with no means to escape.
In so many ways the coronavirus pandemic has left us wondering when we can ever be truly safe again.