The coronavirus lockdown will continue for numerous more weeks at the very least, and the government are seeking to give a more precise message that this isn’t going to end anytime soon.
The coronavirus will likely shadow over us until we have an effective vaccine, so we need to prepare ourselves for life to be isolated for a long time, and time has been shaped into two milestones, before and after coronavirus.
In our current existence, our loved ones suffocate to death in near-total solitude.
Outside of our hospitals, life has ground to a standstill, and we’re confined to our homes.
We’re losing our jobs, businesses are going to the wall and the global economy is wavering on the verge of collapse.
In Spain and Italy, intensive care units are failing under the number of dead and dying, and such is the scale of suffering, doctors are forced to decide between who should live and who should die, with the military assigned to manage the sheer amount of corpses, and soon, countless more countries will have their accounts of these stories.
It took only twelve weeks for the virus to bring the world to a standstill, to put our lives and societies on lockdown.
More than 40,000 people have now lost their lives, but this is just the grim initial act of the coronavirus crisis.
In the absence of a vaccine or any established treatments, it’s expected that COVID 19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is here to linger for at least the next year.
While the worst part of the outbreak is immediately ahead of us, it will be a long time before life returns to normal.
For the British government, this realisation came like a punch to the gut. From its botched communications in early March, it seems like officials were anticipating that COVID 19 would be a short, sharp, shock, tearing through the population until enough herd immunity was built up against the virus and that its velocity would be naturally suppressed.
If any traces of this approach remained, they were stamped out by March 16 when a report from the Imperial College London set out the cost of inaction over coronavirus.
Without a switch to much more comprehensive social distancing measures, the capacity of intensive care units would be surpassed eightfold and 250,000 people would die, and that was in a best-case scenario.
The same day, the Imperial report was published, and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, urged everyone in the country to stay at home and avoid pubs, restaurants and theatres.
A week later this became a total lockdown with police being given the ability to fine people who were outside for anything other than a small list of state-sanctioned activities, which was exercise, shopping for food, travelling for essential work or assisting the vulnerable.
Overnight, the social framework in the United Kingdom had declined immeasurably.
How long will it all last? These were the words, in their many forms, which were fired at politicians and civil servants at the government’s daily press briefings, and the answers may spark more or less confidence depending on whom you listen to.
Boris Johnson’s initial register was positive arrogance, telling the people on March 19 that in twelves weeks that we could turn the tide on coronavirus and finally send it packing altogether.
Ten days later, the deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries struck a more serious tone, warning that social distancing measures might be in position for six months, and possibly even longer.
Each of these scenarios, twelve weeks or six months, will likely only encompass the beginning of the struggle against COVID 19.
And while there’s a faint belief that transmission could wither away altogether through the summer, it’s more probable that the threat of this disease and its disastrous impact on health and the treacherous undermining of our society is here to stay until we have a vaccine, and things are unlikely to be normal again for a long time.
The dilemma is that we don’t have a vaccine and the government can’t lock down the population indefinitely, and by the time the coronavirus ends we will be facing economic collapse and we will be just as prepared for that as we were the coronavirus outbreak.