We are in another week of lockdown. There is a real danger as one day merges into the next that we forget the gravity of the crisis we face.
Thousands of people are dying. Every one with a family and friends and loved ones.
Many thousands more are living with the fear that they might be next to catch the corona virus.
Thousands of health and care workers are going into work every day, still many without the proper protective equipment, and so are at real risk of infection themselves. But back to work they still go, day after day. Like soldiers going into battle knowing of the risk of injury or death.
Heroism has a new face in 2020. It is the face of a nurse or a doctor, a hospital cleaner or a care home assistant.
For many of us, a major problem is the uncertainty of not knowing when and how this crisis will end. Were we to be told that, for example, we would be out of lockdown in July, at least we could plan for that. It would be a long haul till then, but we would have something to work to.
At the moment, businesses are suffering from the shutdown and its uncertainty; families’ finances are suffering; some people are claiming benefits for the first time and realising how awful that is. Many are fearing they will not have a job to go back to.
Keir Starmer, the new Leader of the Labour Party, has called for the government to publish an exit strategy for the crisis. In other words, what steps do we take to start moving back to normality. And when do we start making those moves.
He is right to ask for this. It’s not just about hope, about reminding us that there will be an end to this. People need something to focus on.
Businesses need a plan, and they need to be able to plan ahead. We can’t go straight back to normal on day one of the lockdown. How do we build back up?
For example, I expect I’m not alone in saying the first chance I get, I will go out with my mates for a few pints down the pub. But will pubs be open? Will breweries, and their supply chains?
Some sectors will take much longer to recover. Like travel and tourism, so essential to Chester but likely to take a major hit.
Right now, we must follow government advice and support our NHS.
But I hope the government is working with industry to plot our way back. We must be able to look to the future.