ir Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has urged people to be “patient for a short period”, pointing out that there are only two weeks until the planned reopening of indoor hospitality on 17 May. He is right, and the vast majority of the population has been surprisingly tolerant of the restrictions. However, there is a danger in such appeals that the balance is tipped too far the other way.
“The truth is the virus has not gone away,” said Sir Mark, which is true – but the vaccines have changed the situation, and so the easing of the lockdown now cannot be compared with previous relaxations. Sir Mark said “the mistake that has been made repeatedly is relaxing just slightly too early”. It seems more likely that the mistake was in failing to impose restrictions quickly enough.
Care must be taken, but most of the vulnerable population has now been protected – even if no protection can ever be total – so the consequences of getting it wrong are nothing like as serious as they were, while the costs of restrictions continue to accumulate.