NEW LOCKDOWN RULES FOR ENGLAND FROM MONDAY
- Max social gatherings SIX PEOPLE
- Applies indoors and outdoors
- Applies in private homes
- Applies in pubs and restaurants
- Does NOT apply to schools or workplaces
- Does NOT apply to weddings, funerals, team sports
- Does NOT apply if household bubbles are larger than six people
- Police are told to break up into larger groups and impose £ 100 fines, which then double to £ 3,200 for each repeat offense
Gatherings of more than six people are banned to stop a second wave of coronavirus.
In his first reverse of easing the national lockdown, Boris Johnson warned last night of a surge in cases where it should not be allowed to get out of hand.
As of Monday, it will be illegal to gather in groups of seven or more across England, indoors or outdoors.
The "rule of six" is a dramatic reduction from the July 4th limit of 30.
Police are told to break up larger groups and impose £ 100 fines, which then double to £ 3,200 for each repeat offense.
The only exceptions are schools, workplaces and a limited number of other locations.
As the move raised concerns, a wider and more damaging lockdown could follow:
- The daily Covid death toll hit 30 yesterday – the highest in six weeks;
- Health bosses apologized for testing system bugs after many people were unable to book due to lab residue.
- The first "credible" cases of re-infection by coronavirus are emerging, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs.
- Aviation Secretary Kelly Tolhurst has been tacitly replaced because there were no coronavirus tests at airports.
- The number of patients waiting for organ transplants has risen to a five-year high due to the pandemic.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber warned that financially the arts were at a "point of no return".
- Oxford and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine study is put on HOLD for safety reasons after a UK volunteer had a "serious" reaction that could have been caused by an injection
Announcing the new restrictions, Mr Johnson said, “We must act now to stop the virus from spreading. That is why we are simplifying and strengthening the rules for social contact – so that they are easier to understand and can be enforced by the police.
"It's absolutely important that people now stick to these rules and remember the basics – wash hands, cover your face, keep your place in front of others, and get a test if you have symptoms."
The Department of Health announced the significant increase in deaths but said it excludes Northern Ireland, which has not yet released its numbers
Boris Johnson will ban indoor and outdoor social gatherings of more than six people across England starting Monday
Oxford and AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine study will be put on HOLD for safety reasons
Phase 3 trials for the coronavirus vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, were suspended after a “serious adverse event” was reported in a participant in the UK.
Serious adverse events are suspected reactions to vaccines or drugs that must be hospitalized, are life threatening, or are fatal.
It is unclear exactly what the response was, but a person familiar with the matter told Stat News that the person is expected to recover.
Trials are not uncommon, but it's a blow to global hopes that a shot will be ready in the coming months, as the AstraZeneca shot has been viewed as the world's leading candidate by many – including the World Health Organization.
The development of the AstraZeneca vaccine and eight other vaccines in Phase 3 trials will be closely monitored in the hope that they can contain the coronavirus pandemic that killed more than 894,000 people worldwide, including nearly 190,000 Americans and who have cost tens of millions of their jobs.
It did after vaccine developers – including AstraZeneca – pledged not to cut back on safety and efficacy tests, despite U.S. President Trump urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get an emergency vaccine approval before the Nov. 3 election granted.
Ministers were shocked on Sunday when virus cases doubled to nearly 3,000 – the highest number since May.
They have applied local lockdowns to control flare-ups and the rules were tightened again yesterday in Bolton, with a 10pm curfew on restaurants and a ban on eating.
Downing Street said the surge appeared to have been driven by "young people, often in affluent areas."
The prime minister's spokesman said similar outbreaks in young people in the US and Europe spread fatally to the elderly a few weeks later. He added, "We have to make sure this doesn't happen."
The move will upset some Tory MPs, who urge the government to press ahead with reopening society to avoid economic collapse. But a government source last night insisted that the rule of six was necessary to counter the threat of a major lockdown.
Mr. Johnson will underline the message at a press conference this afternoon, which will be flanked by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
In a sober briefing to the cabinet yesterday, the two scientists warned ministers that the R-rate had risen above one, which meant the virus was once again spreading exponentially.
Today's change means the end of large family gatherings and large communities in parks and pubs. The family reunions at Christmas are also threatened.
The move follows a conference call between the Prime Minister and police chiefs who said the law must be simplified if their officials are to enforce it.
Police are now being encouraged to step up patrols and break up large groups.
Yesterday, Mr Hancock said the recent surge in cases has reminded the nation that the virus "remains a threat."
He stressed that social distancing was the first line of defense and was concerned about the situation in France and Spain.
In France, the hospitalization rate has tripled in one month, while in Spain it has increased by 15 times since July.
A new public information campaign will also be launched on Wednesday highlighting how everyone can help stop the spread of the virus by remembering to wash your hands, cover your face and make space.
& # 39; hands. Face. Space 'will run across TV, radio, print, outdoor, social and digital display advertising. A new video will be released to show exactly how the coronavirus spreads indoors.
Since people are expected to spend more time indoors during the winter, the film, produced with the help of scientific experts, encourages the public to take simple steps to reduce the risk of infection.
The Police Federation of England and Wales urged the government to "play its part" after "so many legislative changes" through the public information campaign.
The developments stem from reports that the government may soon take action against young people spreading the coronavirus.
The UK reported 30 more Covid-19 deaths – the highest single-day total in six weeks – on Tuesday as ministers warned the nation that the country will suffer more misery if social distancing rules are not followed.
Data from Public Health England shows that more than 40 percent of coronavirus tests done in hospitals were positive in March and April. However, this has now fallen and is below 2.5 percent in both hospitals and the community. This shows that only a small proportion of people with the symptoms of the coronavirus actually suffer from it
But European nations are only seeing a fraction of the weekly footage they had during the height of the pandemic, raising questions about whether it really could be a "second wave".
Coronavirus hospital admissions in the UK could rise in three weeks, according to data from other European countries. When Spain, France and Belgium hit 18 cases per 100,000 cases (which the UK did on Sunday), they saw up to a four-fold increase in admissions
The MailOnline analysis shows that since July 4th, “Super Saturday”, the number of infections among 20 to 29 year olds in England has risen from 9.2 to 28 cases per 100,000
At the same time, cases in those over 80 have fallen dramatically since the peak of the pandemic when they made up the majority of Covid-19 cases, and have halved since July. Infections remained stable in the 60s and 70s, while they increased slightly between the ages of 40 and 59
Cumulative cases in people between the ages of 10 and 19 and between 20 and 29 years of age during the pandemic. It shows that cases have increased since July 5th
Cumulative cases in people between 70 and 80 years of age over the course of the pandemic. It shows that cases continued to decline over the summer
The Welsh Minister of Health has said that the local lockdown in Caerphilly county will "at least" not be lifted until October.
After the restrictions go into effect on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., individuals will not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a reasonable apology.
All over 11s are required to wear face covering in shops – this is mandatory for the first time in Wales. Meetings with other people indoors and in large households are not permitted, and overnight stays are also prohibited.
The lockdown restrictions on household visits in western parts of Scotland continued for another week – and extended to other community areas.
Measures – originally introduced in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire – now also apply to East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.
The restrictions prohibit people from visiting separate households in these parts of the country while prohibiting them from visiting homes in other local authorities that are not affected.
The measures also mean that visits to hospitals and nursing homes indoors will be limited to essential visits just to protect the most vulnerable.
As part of new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the city, Bolton venues will be made take-out only, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs.
Bolton Council said Saturday it had introduced stricter measures "with immediate effect," asking people not to mingle with other households in any setting, indoors or outdoors, and to use public transport only for essential purposes.
The city council said the new restrictions are aimed at preventing a local lockdown after the city's infection rate rose to 99 cases per 100,000 people per week – the highest in England.
People between 18 and 49 make up more than 90 percent of the cases, said the local authority.
Parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston and West Yorkshire
If people live in any of the affected areas, they are not allowed to accept people they do not live with in their home or garden unless they are in their support bubble.
Also, you must not meet people who you do not live with in their home or garden, either inside or outside the affected area, unless they are in your support bubble, according to the government website.
In a support bubble, a household with an adult joins another household. Households in a bubble can still visit, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
Blackburn, Oldham and Pendle
As above, mixing two households indoors or in a garden is prohibited.
People should only visit friends or family members in nursing homes in exceptional cases.
And in certain areas with additional restrictions, people shouldn't come into contact with people they don't live with in indoor public spaces or in outdoor areas like parks.
People should not have visitors in their homes or come into contact with people with whom they do not live in other indoor public spaces such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centers, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.
You should also not visit friends or family in nursing homes, except in exceptional cases.
So far there are no local lockdown measures in Northern Ireland.
Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, along with medical experts, have made a desperate appeal for 20- and 30-year-olds to curb their behavior amid growing concerns about an increase in cases.
In a possible sign to the rest of the country, the Health Secretary announced that Bolton pubs must close their doors to prevent a flare-up.
With immediate effect, they can only be served to take away and must close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The prospect of banning gatherings of more than six people, discussed by some earlier this week, immediately sparked anger among Tory MPs, who pointed out that infection rates remain extremely low.
A former minister told MailOnline that it was "terrible and disproportionate," a "huge invasion of privacy," and "governing by policy".
However, the latest daily death toll of 30 is significantly higher than the three deaths recorded the previous day.
Although the statistic is higher than it has been for weeks, scientists have warned not to read too much about day-to-day fluctuations, saying that broader trends are a better indicator of the situation.
Thirteen deaths were recorded on Thursday last week, and the last week of August was a total of three days that resulted in 44 deaths.
The government fears that hospital stays will soon increase as a result of increasing infections, although scientists have assured that most cases occur in younger, healthy generations.
Official data shows that the surge in new cases in July and August was caused by teenagers and 20-year-olds, while cases in older generations continue to decline.
Hospital admissions in the UK have remained stable. Only one in 100,000 people currently needs medical care because of a Covid-19 infection, which further helps ensure that people do not get seriously ill with the disease.
It follows that Mr. Hancock said to the House of Commons, "Just because we have climbed doesn't mean we can't see anyone else coming."
Several locations in the UK have had to impose stricter Covid-19 restrictions to curb transmission. Bolton pubs were the first in England to be closed again.
The Department of Health's update of 30 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday covers all settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and private homes.
Scotland recorded three Covid-19 deaths in all situations earlier in the day – the highest since June 30.
It comes after a few weeks with hardly any deaths, and after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned this week, hospital stays could also be on the rise.
The sharp rise in deaths does not appear to be due to the “weekend” or “holiday” effect, when a delay in reporting deaths on Tuesday results in a higher number, as trends show that three deaths were reported last Tuesday and only 16 the week before.
The last time deaths were this high was July 29, when 34 deaths were reported. Daily deaths have steadily declined since then.
Tuesday's high number of deaths may only be due to historical data.
Scientists tend not to attach much weight to a single daily number and look at trends over time.
It is too early to tell what it means when it matters. However, it is followed by a spate of warnings from Secretary of Health Matt Hancock that hospital stays and deaths would increase in the July and August cases.
The cases were on an upward trend in late summer. On average, 2,193 people are diagnosed every day.
According to official data, infection rates are highest among teenagers and 20-year-olds, and Mr Hancock has said that these are mostly positive tests for 17-21 year olds.
Scientists have said time and again that this isn't a cause for concern until the spread spreads to vulnerable and elderly parts of the community – which is not yet the case, according to hospital and death data.
However, health officials are worried and warn young people not to go to parties and large gatherings and to respect social distancing laws.
During the summer, a number of restrictions on people's lives were lifted, allowing people of working age and younger to work and socialize in pubs, parks, and summer barbecues. However, groups of more than six people can no longer chat from Monday
Fall rates among young people are higher in the north west of England. There were 49.3 cases per 100,000 people in their twenties in the Northwest compared to 17.3 in the Southwest and Southeast – the lowest of all regions
Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared on Radio 1 yesterday to tell teenagers, "Don't kill your grandmother", when Assistant Medical Director Jonathan Van-Tam said people had "relaxed too much".
Downing Street warned yesterday that the "worrying" number of cases is likely to lead to an increase in the total population in general.
A recent surge in cases across the country should be a reminder that the virus "remains a threat," the health minister said Tuesday as he warned of a possible second coronavirus peak.
"It's not over yet," he told the House of Commons.
"Just because we've come through a summit doesn't mean we can't see another towards our coast."
The UK chief doctor, Professor Chris Whitty, has also warned that "Covid will come back" if people stop social distancing.
Mr Hancock's warning of a possible second wave in the UK – one of many in recent weeks – comes just a day after he said the cases in the UK are not getting out of hand.
Scientists, too, have said the surge in cases is nothing unexpected given that so many lockdown restrictions have been eased this summer.
Dr. Andrew Preston, a reader on Microbial Pathogenesis at the University of Bathld MailOnline: 'An increase in infections was inevitable. The way we reduced infections in the first place was through a very draconian lockdown.
“The relaxation of restrictions means increased interaction between people, which, since the virus was still circulating at the time, means increased transmission.
"It shows that restarting the economy is likely to be impossible as service and hospitality are paramount without increasing infections."
However, experts agree that if people are not careful, there is a risk that new cases – predominantly among young people – can lead to spikes in hospital admissions.
Dr. Preston said, “If it continues to focus on cohorts who generally have no or mild illnesses, in theory it may not be a big problem.
However, the age group in which part of the increase occurs are the dangerous asymptomatic carriers. This could mean that we could build up high levels of infection without necessarily knowing it, and there is a risk that this will lead to a tipping point where it spreads to vulnerable populations and then we have a serious problem. & # 39;
Mr Hancock has repeatedly voiced his fears that this will happen, saying that it is a pattern that has been seen in the US and other parts of Europe and that Britain must do "everything in its power" to avoid the same .
However, reassuring data shows that hospital admissions in Europe are still a fraction of the March and April levels.
"We can't block the UK again": Scientists, MPs and industry leaders warn Boris Johnson that another coronavirus shutdown could cripple the country
Boris Johnson was urged to think very carefully last night before imposing a new lockdown in response to a surge in virus cases.
Business leaders, MPs and academics urged the Prime Minister to first consider other options. A think tank warned that a second shutdown would be "catastrophic".
Government concern was sparked by numbers on Sunday that showed 2,988 new infections had occurred in the past 24 hours, the highest daily rate since May 22.
Monday's numbers were on a similar level, with an additional 2,948 positive cases by 9 a.m., a jump from the 1,175 reported on Saturday. The final death toll of 30 was the highest in six weeks.
However, Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs said, “With the number of cases in the UK a fraction of what it was in March, a second lockdown would be catastrophic and should be avoided.
Business leaders, MPs and academics urged the prime minister to consider other options before a second nationwide lockdown is initiated. A think tank warns that a second lockdown would be "catastrophic".
& # 39; Sweden has shown us a more sensible way to balance risk, freedom and economy. The government's justification for the nationwide lockdown in March was to protect the NHS. After six months of preparation, the NHS is very unlikely to be overwhelmed by a second wave. & # 39;
Mike Cherry of the Federation of Small Businesses said the first national lockdown was incredibly damaging, adding, "If we can avoid a second by using alternative measures to contain the virus, it would give many small businesses hope if they try get back on your feet. & # 39;
Tej Parikh of the Institute of Directors said business leaders would shy away from the prospect of a return to heavy restrictions.
"It is of the utmost importance that support to business is consistent with the actions that need to be taken," he said.
"The government should also be careful about withdrawing existing support too quickly, as the virus is not yet finished and dusted."
Schwelger gehen im Stadtzentrum von Bolton auf die Straße, nachdem weitere Maßnahmen zur Sperrung des Coronavirus ergriffen wurden
Die Besorgnis innerhalb der Regierung wurde durch Zahlen am Sonntag ausgelöst, aus denen hervorgeht, dass in den letzten 24 Stunden 2.988 Neuinfektionen aufgetreten sind. Dies ist die höchste Tagesrate seit dem 22. Mai. Bild: Personen, die in einer begehbaren Einrichtung in Bolton einen Coronavirus-Test durchführen
Shaun Fitzgerald, Professor in Cambridge und Regierungsberater für soziale Distanzierung, forderte die Öffentlichkeit auf, mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen. Er sagte: "Vielleicht sollte die Frage lauten: Könnte ich etwas anderes tun, um zu helfen?" Kann ich zum Beispiel die Häufigkeit reduzieren, mit der ich in die Läden gehe, indem ich meine Einkäufe strenger im Voraus plane?
»Wasche ich meine Hände so regelmäßig wie Lockdown? Es gibt vielleicht viele Dinge, die wir alle tun können, um zu helfen. & # 39;
Auf die Ankündigung der Regierung von gestern Abend, dass gesellschaftliche Zusammenkünfte von mehr als sechs Personen ab Montag verboten werden, antwortete der ehemalige Tory-Führer Iain Duncan Smith: „Das ist einfach verrückt. Es ist lächerlich.
'Dies wird ein Hammerschlag für die Wirtschaft sein, gerade als wir anfingen, die Dinge in Ordnung zu bringen.
"Warum haben wir diesen" Push Me Pull You "-Ansatz? Das kann nicht weitergehen. '
Die frühere Umweltministerin Theresa Villiers sagte: „Die Rückkehr in die Sperrung wäre ein großer Rückschlag für die Wirtschaft. Ich hoffe, die Regierung wird alle anderen möglichen Optionen ausschöpfen, bevor sie den drastischen Schritt einer erneuten Schließung der Wirtschaft in Betracht zieht. & # 39;
Tory-Abgeordneter Steve Baker, ein ehemaliger Brexit-Minister, sagte: „Eine neue nationale Sperrung würde wirtschaftliches, nicht kovidisches Gesundheits-, Bildungs-, bürgerliches und soziales Schicksal bedeuten. Es darf nicht passieren. & # 39;
Gestern sagte Gesundheitsminister Matt Hancock, er würde nicht "davor zurückschrecken, gezielte lokale Maßnahmen zu ergreifen", wie sie gestern in Bolton verhängt wurden.
SARAH VINE: So ängstlich oder nervös wir auch sein mögen, wir müssen den Mut finden, mit unserem Leben weiterzumachen
September ist meine Lieblingsjahreszeit: Ich liebe das Schulanfangsgefühl. Und nach einem langen Sommer der Sperrung fühlt es sich mehr denn je gut an, wieder in die Routine zurückzukehren.
Ich kann dir nicht sagen, wie sehr ich die 7-Uhr-Starts genossen habe, vor denen ich mich gefürchtet habe, das Harken widerspenstiger Teenager aus dem Bett, die Rufe "Wo ist mein Buspass, Mama?" und 'Ich kann keine sauberen Socken finden'.
In meinem Bademantel in der Küche zu stehen und meinen jetzt 6 Fuß 2 Zoll großen 15-Jährigen anzustarren, während ich seine Krawatte für ihn knotete, oder meine Tochter anzuschreien, diesen blutigen Rock herunterzuziehen, fühlt sich einfach so fantastisch und genial an .
Sogar der Moment, in dem sie gegangen sind und eine unordentliche Spur feuchter Cornflakes hinterlassen haben, fühlt sich irgendwie besonders an. Wer hätte gedacht, dass sich etwas so Alltägliches so magisch anfühlen könnte?
Von Beginn der Pandemie an war es diese Erosion des Alltags, mit der ich mich so schwer abfinden konnte.
Der vizeähnliche Griff des Virus auf unsere Freiheiten, die Art und Weise, wie wir uns schuldig gefühlt haben, nach den grundlegendsten menschlichen Interaktionen zu verlangen: ein Glas Wein mit einem Freund, ein Ausflug in die Läden – einst normale Freizeitbeschäftigungen, jetzt mit dem das gleiche Entsetzen wie ein Kardinal, der im vollen Fluss über eine heidnische Orgie stolpert.
September ist meine Lieblingsjahreszeit: Ich liebe das Gefühl, wieder in die Schule zu gehen. Und nach einem langen Sommer der Sperrung fühlt es sich mehr denn je gut an, wieder in die Routine zurückzukehren (Bild: Ein Lehrer leitet am 1. September 2020 in seinem Klassenzimmer an der Greenacres Primary Academy in Oldham, Nordengland, einen Mathematikkurs für Kinder der vierten Klasse )
Es gibt mehr als einen Hauch religiösen Eifers in der Art und Weise, wie einige die drakonischeren Aspekte der Sperrung zu genießen scheinen.
In einigen Fällen grenzt es an den Kult. They pursue obeisance to the virus at the expense of all else: our children's education, the economy, jobs, treatment of other illnesses. And anyone who dares question their logic is quickly shut down, accused of being a heartless granny killer.
Indeed, anyone who challenges the wisdom of lockdown risks being branded a virus-denier, in much the same way as anyone questioning the actions of Extinction Rebellion is labelled a climate-change denier — even though both stances, in most cases, simply represent a more moderate point of view.
The vast majority of people are aware of the dangers this illness presents to the elderly and those with underlying conditions; but they also understand that the repercussions of lockdown — as we are already beginning to see — will be devastating.
It is this impossible dilemma the Government faces. You can't slow the speed of the virus and thus control hospitalisations without shutting down the country; and if you shut down the country, you can't save jobs, preserve the economy and generally stop us all from sliding into hopeless penury.
In order to preserve life we have to kill the country; but if we kill the country we'll have no life. It is, quite simply, Catch-22.
That is why the messaging is so confusing and why people are so confused: it is an inherently unsolvable situation. And it's also why certain sections of the public have, not to put too fine a point on it, slightly given up trying.
Right from the start of the pandemic, it has been this erosion of the everyday that I've found so hard to come to terms with (Pictured: Passengers wait to board a westbound Jubilee train from Canning Town, East London)
In particular, young people: the 18-30s, for whom a bout of Covid is likely to be no more troublesome than a bad hangover (of which there must have been quite a few recently, given the spate of house parties and raves in the past few weeks), have all but ditched social distancing, with the result that infection numbers are starting to creep up again.
Figures for Sunday showed there had been 2,988 new infections in the UK in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily rate since May 22. On Monday, numbers were at a similar level: 2,948 positive cases.
Objectively, the infection rate is still very low — roughly 22 cases per 100,000 in the week to September 7; but, in the previous week, it was only 13.9 per 100,000, so that represents quite a jump.
Inevitably, that increase will translate into hospitalisations, as we have seen in Spain, where admissions have increased 15-fold since the middle of July, and France, where they have trebled in the past month.
In other words, we are seeing the unavoidable effects of the reopening of shops and businesses, and the gradual return to work and school. It was always going to happen, but knowledge is one thing, cold, hard reality quite another. No wonder the Government is feeling slightly jittery, and that the mood music emanating from No.10 is somewhat ominous.
Indeed, such is the concern that, from Monday, the rules are to be tightened in England so that groups of just six people are allowed to gather indoors or out.
Just when the wondrous normality of life seems to be returning; when some theatres and cinemas have reopened and live sporting fixtures have welcomed fans; when the streets are again full of the chatter of children instead of silent and empty, Covid yanks our chain and reminds us who's boss.
Already, only days into the new term, a number of schools have sent scores of pupils and staff home to self-isolate for two weeks, in several cases on the strength of a single positive test.
But the truth is, the tables are beginning to turn. At the start of the pandemic, when we knew so little about this silent killer, we had hardly any choice but to dance to its tune.
It had us running from pillar to post, working by trial and error almost (I remember my husband scrambling to buy ventilators for the NHS, when, it turns out, ventilators can do more harm than good in a lot of cases), desperately trying to stem the tide of deaths.
But now, six months in, we are starting to get the measure of it.
Not only is testing becoming more reliable and more viable (something that undoubtedly is contributing to the rise in infection numbers), the protocol for dealing with the disease in vulnerable patients is much more streamlined and more effective.
We also understand more about how it works, and who is most vulnerable, so measures can be taken to protect both those at high risk and, by extension, the NHS.
None of this means the danger has passed. But there can be no such thing as a 'zero Covid risk', just as there is sadly no such thing as a zero cancer risk, or a zero risk of dying in a car accident. All we can do is mitigate.
Every death from coronavirus is a personal tragedy — but so is any death, whether it be from old age, disease, accident or, for that matter, any of the 25,000 cancers that Cancer Research UK estimates will have gone undiagnosed because of lockdown.
Just when the wondrous normality of life seems to be returning; when some theatres and cinemas have reopened and live sporting fixtures have welcomed fans; when the streets are again full of the chatter of children instead of silent and empty, Covid yanks our chain and reminds us who's boss (Pictured: Pedestrians walk along the busy shopping area of Oxford Street in London, Britain yesterday)
And the fact is that the number of deaths is now vanishingly small. At the beginning of this week, there were just 756 patients in hospital with Covid: on Monday, there were three deaths — out of a population of tens of millions.
Yet for most of yesterday we heard warning after warning from scientists and ministers that there could be a second spike on the way, that we have all relaxed too much (as if!), and that further lockdowns may be necessary. So what are we to think?
The challenge for politicians and for the country as a whole is to accept that Covid is just another risk that cannot be wholly eliminated — and learn to live with it in the safest way possible within the parameters of ordinary life.
To do otherwise would spell social and economic disaster for millions in the short to medium term — and undermine our vital services for years to come.
It's at times like these, when those in power face impossible decisions, that we see the true responsibilities that lie behind all that privilege.
Put simply, there are no good choices here, only less bad ones. Whatever you think about the Government's handling of the pandemic, that's a hard cross to bear.
With the exception of a few zealots, this is something most people understand. The onus is on us to act responsibly to ensure the Government does not feel forced into imposing a second lockdown.
Those who are vulnerable — the very old, the obese and those who have other comorbidities — must shield and be shielded.
As for the rest of us, however scared or nervous we may be, we have to find the courage to get back out there and get on with it.
We need to accept that — as generations before us have done in so many wars and natural disasters — there is no such thing as a completely risk-free existence.
That painful, personal sacrifice is the price we pay for living in a free and prosperous society. And that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, stuff just happens.
I'll leave you with this thought, lifted from Jonathan Mayo's account of the Blitz (extracted this week in the Daily Mail), 80 years ago.
The death toll was devastating: more than 43,000 civilians were killed, 150,000 injured, in the course of just a few months. And yet at the height of the attacks, the capital's pubs were full: 'Jokes were made to relieve the tension, beer mugs were put down more noisily to shut out other sounds.
The Blitz spirit is evoked all too often these days, often through rose-tinted spectacles nostalgic for a mythical past that probably never quite existed. But sometimes it's worth reminding ourselves of what we have faced. And of what, as a nation, we are capable of when we all pull together.