As has been plain for more than a year, there are no easy options when it comes to handling the Covid pandemic.
Coronavirus is still a virus that tends to be fatal only among people who were already approaching end of life, but that does mean that handling it is straightforward.
If we were to do nothing at all, swathes of the older generation would be killed, and many of the gains of recent decades in terms of increased life expectancy would be reversed.
That would be a tragic outcome.
But if we are too severe in our approach to tacking Covid it creates its own huge problems, ranging from impacting on cancer treatment waiting times to damaging the education of children who are almost no risk of coronavirus.
Lockdowns are certainly not an easy solution, because they are profoundly unfair and cause great harm to people of working age who, while they are at greater risk than children if they are in the 20s to 40s, are still at minimal risk of a serious response to the virus.
Driving up vaccine levels continues to be one of the only palatable tactics for controlling the pandemic. Vaccine sceptics are still very small in number.
Northern Ireland, as well as other societies such as the Republic, are focusing on particular sections of the economy for restrictions, above all hospitality.
Who can be surprised at the utter fury of Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster or Simon Hamilton of Belfast Chamber?
Once again scientists and politicians on the public payroll are depriving some businesses— from Boxing Day, nightclubs will close — of their livelihood, this time without the financial support of earlier in lockdown.
Most people making the decisions are paid by the taxpayer and are completely untouched by any rules. If we are heading back towards lockdowns then our leaders should make pay sacrifices to help fund the worst affected sectors.
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