We need to take things step by step
‘It’s life Jim but not as we know it,” went the old Star Trek line. And just as widely expected, we will be stuck with life “not as we know it” for a while yet.
Handling the home straight is going to drain the depleted reserves of resilience. To date, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has not enjoyed a fortuitous run. Were he marching with Napoleon, it’s unlikely the little corporal would have him about the place for long. “I’d rather have lucky generals than good ones,” he would say.
But Mr Martin, just like the entire country, deserves a break. The arrival of the new variant, and the havoc it creates, has thrown the whole toolbox – along with the spanner – into the works.
However, providing we get one million vaccines in April, May and June, then the freedoms we so crave could be restored within a relatively short timeframe.
Doubting may have become a lot easier than hoping of late, but staying the course is the only way out. These have been exceptionally trying times.
Dean Martin felt you weren’t really drunk if you could lie on the floor without holding on. It says much about lockdown that so many feel they are on the floor, and holding on, while stone cold sober.
But we have been here before. In the run up to major holidays, the clamour for an easing of curbs has intensified in the interests of giving people room to breathe and a bit of head space.
Then the numbers explode, and we are back in the vice the virus loves to tighten.
This time we are playing for a far bigger prize, we have a genuine chance of taking back control.
One reason why nerves were so shredded and tolerance and compliance so strained, was because talk of game-changers and watersheds has been premature.
The social contract demands society will do all in its power to protect itself. The State too must honour its commitments. Providing vaccine supplies are stable, we can make it to the other side, and it’s closer than it’s ever been.
As Health Minister Stephen Donnelly explained, Nphet’s message is that if we can hold on a bit longer, we increase the chances of protecting gains made. By doing so “we radically increase the chances of having a much better summer”.
That is surely worth striving for, however exhausted we may now feel.
It is imperative that we create the conditions for the vaccination programme to hit maximum performance level.
Some may be disappointed the date has been pushed out to mid-April for travelling anywhere within their county.
You only take down a fence when you fully appreciate why it was first put up. Let’s be honest, for all our frustrations, this terrain needs to be treaded cautiously. But for the first time in a long time we can look forward with some sense of optimism.
Pandemics have their own chaotic cartography. They lay down the contours we must follow.
But we finally have a long-awaited provisional Government route map to escape – so long as we take it step by step.