Irish Examiner view: Optimism and caution must go hand in hand as Covid restrictions ease

Tide may be turning but we must not let our guard down
Irish Examiner view: Optimism and caution must go hand in hand as Covid restrictions ease

Managing expectations, especially at moments of transition, is one of the great challenges in life. As pandemic restrictions seem set to ease, it is natural to want to enjoy all of the freedoms so long beyond our reach.

If that is to be done sensibly, the lessons of the last 15 months must be applied.

There are all too many opportunities to emphasise them: India yesterday registered a second record-breaking, single-day tally of new cases, surpassing the previous record of 314,835. 

A shortage of beds and oxygen in Delhi has cost multiple lives. Cremations in open, public spaces are under way to deal with the consequences.

In Ireland, Intel confirmed an outbreak of “approximately 70” cases on its construction site in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Nevertheless, the tide is turning. 

The European Commission said it expects to seal the world’s biggest vaccine deal within days, buying up to 1.8bn doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. 

At the other end of the scale, Austria is to allow restaurants, hotels, and theatres to reopen on May 19. They will reopen their doors for the first time in more than five months.

No matter how welcome this progress, it is all, like it or not, precariously balanced and dependent on observing the disciplines that keep us, and others, safe.

This may be a moment to begin to hope that real change is at hand, but it is not the moment to let our guard down and facilitate a resurgence in infection rates.

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