Jobs and livelihoods lost. A huge bill for future generations to pay. It means postponing the treatment of other conditions like heart disease and cancer; and a deterioration of mental health.
The reality, however, is that lockdown will stay until the vaccination programme reaches a large enough number of the population to give us some form of herd immunity.
The new variants of Covid-19, with greater transmission rates but not lower deadliness, combined with the alarming recognition that more variants could be on the way, have left us a horrible choice: mass vaccination or mass lockdown.
Globally, there is a vast scrambling to get vaccine. It is fortunate that Britain, with a well-executed plan to source vaccines, including our own Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, is in a good place relative to the rest of the world.
Even so, each week that passes before we can re-emerge to some form of ‘normal’ is a hammer blow.
What happens, though, when a majority of our population is vaccinated but other countries lag behind? How does the world return to at least some of the physical interaction we used to take for granted?