While Sturgeon takes decisive action on Covid, Johnson just blusters | Gaby Hinsliff

As ‘pandemic fatigue’ causes resentment in England’s northern cities, at least the Scots know where they stand

It starts with an overwhelming feeling of tiredness. As the condition takes hold, sufferers may start to feel demotivated, even angry. In England, it may already be endemic in those parts of the north where this year has felt like one long endlessly rolling lockdown – in those places where fresh restrictions were reimposed within weeks of everyone emerging from hibernation this June, and people woke on Thursday to news that the government may now follow Scotland’s lead in shutting pubs and restaurants.

And no, this mystery illness isn’t long Covid, the symptoms that linger long after the fever subsides. It’s what the World Health Organization this week called “pandemic fatigue”, a Europe-wide phenomenon where people get so tired of living like this that they simply stop following the rules. The battle this winter is no longer just against a virus. It’s against an encroaching sense of hopelessness, exhaustion and resentment setting in as it becomes clear that eradicating the virus isn’t going to work, and “light-touch” local lockdowns are no longer keeping a lid on it.

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