“LOCKDOWN fatigue” is setting in early. Streets and parks are jammed with family bubbles, cyclists and joggers, all pushing their exercise periods to the limit.
Most people are quietly bending the rules.
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It’s likely we’ve all resembled Edvard Munch’s The Scream after noticing we’ve left our mask at home
Even the cops, in between slapping £200 fines on innocent walkers, are slyly flouting their own commandments with illicit fry-ups at their local greasy spoons.
We probably wear masks, keep our distance and stay indoors, but we are all desperate to have our old lives back.
This doesn’t make us Covid-deniers. We hear the relentless 24/7 headlines about mutant strains, exhausted medics and hospitals at breaking point.
Everyone knows the death toll has hit new records, dashing the hopes of those who believed the pandemic was petering out.
Yet despite being told “don’t kill Grandma” by the same officials who dumped Covid patients on vulnerable care homes, many wonder if lockdown really works.
We have been confined to quarters for six out of the past nine months. We cover our faces in shops, wash our hands and stay two metres apart. Yet the virus keeps coming back to bite us.
New vaccines are our salvation. We will keep following the rules and hope Boris delivers the 15million jabs he promised for over-70s by mid-February.
Then we might breathe easily again. We can last until spring.
But how different would our attitude be if, as seemed likely until last month, these wonder shots were still just a glint in a scientist’s eye?
Viruses are notoriously elusive. It usually takes years to find an antidote.
Would we stay tamely indoors for another year? Or more?
A jubilant Professor Neil Ferguson, who scared us witless with forecasts of 500,000 Covid dead, admits lockdowns were unimaginable until totalitarian China shut down the city of Wuhan.
“It’s a Communist one-party state,” says the infamous Bonking Boffin. “We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought.
“And then Italy did it. And we realised we could.”
Viruses are notoriously elusive, it usually takes years to find an antidoteCredit: Getty Images – Getty
So, just as in Beijing, people all round the world have been ordered indoors, schools closed, with untreated cancer and heart patients dead or dying and the economy — which pays all the Government’s bills — paralysed.
Thanks to China, which gave us Covid in the first place, millions of jobs have gone, the dreams of schoolkids are in ruins and our city centres have been turned into deserts.
This is just the down payment. We will not see the full reckoning until the wreckage from bankruptcies, family break-ups and suicides becomes starkly visible.
They keep saying we must do this to save the NHS. We certainly can’t blame selfless frontline medics and nurses, who have worked themselves to exhaustion.
But we can and must ask why complacent NHS managers were caught flat- footed by a pandemic many experts saw as inevitable.
Why has this over-managed, clinically understaffed, £130billion-a-year monster cut bed numbers to the lowest level in Europe, despite our booming population?
This is a national crisis. We should be on a war footing. Yet the red tape-entangled NHS is treating it as just another annual meltdown.
“There is an NHS crisis every year,” said a Cabinet minister last night.
“The biggest failure of this pandemic was the NHS not using the summer to prepare for the winter.
“They were mothballing the Nightingale Hospitals before winter even arrived.”
Similar questions face the Department for Education and its hapless minister, Gavin Williamson.
There is no evidence schoolchildren spread Covid, or that teachers are more vulnerable than anyone else to infection.
If wards are open, why are schools closed and exams cancelled? Some schools are rising to the challenge with excellent online classes.
But some teachers’ unions are deeply opposed to remote Zoom learning, describing it as a breach of teachers’ privacy. This is an unforgivable shambles.
Covid has caught Britain short. Twice.
Boris has until we begin to emerge from this nightmare to make it clear the state is there to look after the citizens who pay for it — not the other way round.
The ashes of Brexit Party
NIGEL Farage has just launched a potent new political operation from the ashes of his Brexit Party.
The aim of his Reform Party is to hold Boris’s feet to the fire on issues dear to Tory voters.
These include the threat from expansionary China, energy supplies in the age of green wokery, immigration and the drift towards state socialism, aka “The Blob”.
This could be an even bigger winner at the next elections than his campaign to leave the European Union.