Column: The trade-offs we all face to get out of lockdown
Out of the darkness of January come rays of hope - but they are still hard to grasp with any real certainty.
The first anniversary of lockdown next month will be marked by us still in lockdown.
That prospect seemed unthinkable, unimaginable even, last March.
We locked our office and began home working with a “see you in three months” farewell.
Three became six, became nine. Now we face a full year in isolation with the reality that we are still several months away from a life that feels remotely normal.
Professor Devi Sridhar, one of the very best communicators throughout this pandemic, painted a picture of the road ahead based around one key factor - trade offs.
To get back the things most important to you, what would you give up?
Going back to how we lived, worked and socialised simply isn’t going to happen, but life in limbo isn’t sustainable either.
Negotiating a path across the vast canyon that sits between them is going to be slow, painful and tricky.
We want it all back, but everybody’s trade offs will differ wildly.
Schools need to return, and we have to open up our restaurants and bars, gyms and live music venues as quickly, and as safely as possible.
But, to quote Prof Sirdhar: “The trade-off for greater freedom at home would be restricted international travel.”
There’s a meaty topic for discussion - but it’s the very sort of compromise we need to consider as individuals and as a nation.
Would you re-think your fortnight in Spain if it meant the shackles of lockdown could be removed at home?
Or, if you did travel, would you accept possible quarantines before and after as part of the package that comes with suntan lotion and flip flops?
Two weeks in the sun, ten days in isolation? Now, there’s a big trade off, but it’s the sort of compromise that we face if we want to fly abroad and also keep everyone else safe.
Every family right now is looking at cancelling or rescheduling everything from holidays to birthday celebrations.
The desire to go places, to meet and to share special moments with loved ones is powerful, but so too is the need to take responsibility for our own actions.
If we don’t, then everyone suffers via further restrictions - and we cannot continue to open up and then shut down.
Boris Johnson wants the next exit from lockdown to be irreversible. Don’t we all?
The sentiment, I can agree with, even if his words are hollow - does the man even understand the concept of leadership?
Our holiday rescheduled from last year to May is, in all honesty, not going to happen.
The staycation we abandoned last March to get home on the very cusp of lockdown - driving up a deserted M6 was one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced - then re-booked for October and now March 2021 hangs in the balance.
Maybe - just maybe - that looming one year lockdown anniversary will be the point we can start to look ahead, rather than back.