The increase of cases per 100,000 of the population has led to a tightening of quarantine in certain postal districts in Belfast, Ballymena, Lisburn and Glenavy.

One wonders if an earlier, tighter quarantine would have kept us all safer until a vaccine arrives after Christmas, leading Paisley maybe to believe that Ballymena has been re-partitioned.

Quarantine was tightened in other Belfast postal districts from midnight on Sunday with scientific luminaries warning that control of the virus might be lost in a fashion similar to the loss of a European trade deal.

None of this seems to phase Boris, maybe inoculated with adequate doses of Chateaux Margaux with measures not unfamiliar in the Holy Lands. Dominic Cummings ‘danders’ very informally into Downing Street reviving the adage of ‘Telling a Barnard Castle’.

Would that Arlene could countenance such informality. Having made up with Michelle, the knives are being sharpened on the DUP back benches.

Public health has managed to merge the politics with the epidemiology and it remains to be seen if the epidemic will get the better of the struggle or will vaccines arrive in the nick of time with adequate potency to be linesmen or the refereeing arbiters of our existence?  

If we can survive, we will have a mighty tale to tell our grandchildren outclassing the struggle of the Sabine and Salk vaccines to control debilitating poliomyelitis in earlier decades.

At least we have learned where various folks keep their socially mediaised devices and how good or bad they are at using them, what books they seem to read and what sports are better or worse without spectators. We are learning about the experts, as we did during the UWC strike and during the Troubles: Who to believe and whom to take with a pinch of hydroxychlorquinolone.

We will hopefully be able to look back on the pandemic and recall when we first learned where was Wuhan City, who the Chief Medical Officer was in Dublin, what was social distancing, why was lockdown the same as quarantine, where was the MOT Centre where we had our first test in, which of our relatives died in a care home...

Epidemiology is the who, why, what, where and how of human disease. It has become the lexicon of these extraordinary human experiences which we have come to know as the Pandemic.

Dr Michael Donnelly MB, BCh, BAO is a clinical epidemiologist.