John Harris

Journalist & Author

As Hancock exits, the future looks the same: hope mixed with dread | John Harris

Whoever may come and go in the new era of ‘living with the virus’, this government lacks the skills to see us through

Two days before Matt Hancock began his tumble towards resignation, you could sample news stories about the immediate future of the Covid crisis and choose from two completely different narratives: one all about apparently boundless optimism, the other a mixture of caution and despair.

Thanks to government sources, the Times announced that with vaccinations working their wonders, the country was heading towards the new “terminus date” of 19 July in fine fettle, ready at last “to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions … including social distancing, facemasks and work-from-home guidance”, and to embrace “personal responsibility”. But later the same day, it was announced that 16,135 new cases of Covid had been recorded in the previous 24 hours, the highest number since early February. In Oldham, the Greater Manchester town that has been at the extreme edge of the Covid experience since last year, 3,000 schoolchildren and 210 of their teachers were said to be self-isolating.

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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