Coronavirus is subdued but not gone. This is a strange juncture

In pandemic terms, although it may not feel like it, these are the best of times.

Gone are the horrors of the past few months: the gruesome death toll; the sense that danger was lurking around every corner; the unprecedented lockdown and other privations.

Activities we previously took for granted – a visit to a clothes shop, a drive to the hills, the ping of a tennis ball – have about them the freshness of any new experience, after months of isolation and restrictions.

We have been warned of possible dark days ahead, but for now, the threat posed by coronavirus is as low as it has been since early March.

All of which places us in a strange position. We have been given new freedoms but are told to use them sparingly. More and more we are being told to wear masks, when at this point in time the threat from the virus is very low.

We do appear to be tantalisingly close to wiping out the virus for the moment, but then we are also close to wiping out our economy

Many are exhausted, yet there seems to be no end in sight. The consensus on the way forward that existed in March and April has broken down, inside and beyond the scientific community. Many experts promote mask-wearing; others continue to doubt. Some scientists want to crush the curve, rather than simply flatten it. Ireland’s figures for coronavirus cases and deaths can look good or bad, depending on the prism through which they are viewed.