When the lockdown was imposed to halt the community spread of Covid-19 there was fear in some quarters that the cure could turn out to be worse than the disease because it meant that we now had to deal with not one, but three crises: health, economic and social. The first was caused by an outside force but the second and third were self-imposed.
Now, as we begin to emerge from some restrictions, thoughts go to recovery plans. Amid discussions between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on what form they should take, the fear again is that the cure could be worse than the disease.
Rebuilding the economy in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis is the main, narrow, focus of a framework for government document agreed by FG and FF. The problem with it is that it all but ignores the social crisis in all its forms. Isolation and loneliness are prevalent, especially among the elderly. Domestic violence incidents have soared and there has also been other forms of stress within families, particularly among Leaving Cert students who find the uncertainty about exams hard to bear, causing them huge anxiety.
Added to that is a new and potentially longer lasting health crisis. We now have growing numbers of people suffering with their mental health and an increase in addictions from online gambling to alcohol abuse. If all we succeed in doing is defeat the virus but do nothing to tackle the other crises, the cure will, indeed, have been worse than the disease.