Advance of the virus narrows our options

On the virus front, things have gone from bad to worse. We’re sinking further and further into a dark hole and if things don’t improve radically and rapidly, we’ll be back in the terrible grips of a comprehensive lockdown.

It was clear from as far back as March - shortly before the first full-scale lockdown - that, in the absence of a vaccine and significant improvements in the effectiveness of treatment medicines, we’d be forced to engage in an interminable running battle with this horrible disease. That’s the way it has turned out.

In our blissful innocence and ignorance - for nearly a century - we hardly even contemplated the notion of another ‘Spanish flu’, a disease against which we’d have no protection whatsoever.

Well, now we know. And we’re paying a very heavy price in terms of lives lost, hearts broken, tears shed, health (both physical and mental) badly damaged, economies upended and our way of life thrown into complete disarray.

Things we took for granted, such as a couple of pints after a GAA or soccer match, a casual coffee with friends after a spot of shopping, not to mention a sunshine holiday to store up on Vitamin D as the winter beckons, are now only fond memories of a completely different world.

One is entitled to wonder when we’ll ever be able to return to such simple pleasures which we had become so used to - and perhaps not sufficiently appreciative of.

We’ve always heard how facts are friendly, how facing reality will help us plot a way out of this disaster.

Well, fact is we’re on the brink of losing control of this virus. There’s no doubt about that.

So, we have a choice - to sit on our hands and ignore all the signs of looming disaster, or do something about it.

If we REALLY want to suppress the spread of Covid-19, we must revert to processes that have been tried, tested and found to be successful.

We must rededicate ourselves to washing our hands properly and often, to the appropriate coughing and sneezing etiquette, to wearing a mask (properly by covering the nose AND mouth!!) in all circumstances where social distancing is not possible, and to limiting our contacts with the public, neighbours, friends and family.

This is not to be eccentric or anti-social - it’s the only way we can, as a community, stay safe, keep the virus at bay and in the process avoid a total lockdown which entails terrible disruptions of our lives.

If we can’t push back the virus in this way, then the logic of a strict lockdown will be forced upon us, with the further likelihood that we will be in and out of lockdowns for the foreseeable future.

It’s up to us.