England completes a month of lockdown tonight. All but non-essential shops have been shut and all leisure activities suppressed. Tomorrow London moves into Tier-2 restrictions which in practice mean the opening up of High Streets but little social mixing allowed.
The news about vaccines against Covid-19 continues to be good and it now seems just a matter of time before the mass vaccination programme begins. Of course none of the vaccines is guaranteed 100% proof so we will all need to go on being careful but at least the infection rate should drop sharply and the pressure on the health services begin to lift. This cannot be before well into the New Year and it is going to be a very gloomy Christmas. Our own regular family gathering is cancelled; Zoom get-togethers are not a substitute for real face-to-face contact.
It is hard to convey the dullness of current existence. The risk of catching the virus, for us, is pretty low because we do not expose ourselves to any potential carriers. But the price of this safety is to eschew so much that we used to take for granted - travelling freely on the Tube, popping into shops, queueing for a coffee, pushing through the crowded turnstiles to savour the excitement of a football match, meeting people without that awful feeling of having stay well clear 'just in case'.
We do at least have the benefit of electronic entertainment in the form of internet, TV and radio but it is too easy to immerse oneself before a screen and try to tune the world out. It saps the motivation to do anything active. The irony that I am immersing myself in front of a screen in order to write and publish this column has not been unnoticed.