GENERALLY speaking, I find Steven Broomhead - Warrington Borough Council’s chief executive - to be a sensible, pragmatic man.

That’s not to say I always agree with him, but there is no doubt he has the best interests of the town at heart.

And I’ll back him all the way as he urges caution following the announcement that lockdown will be easing in the coming weeks.

We are not getting back to normal at all. Maybe it will be a ‘new normal’, but July 2020 will only bear a passing resemblance to July 2019.

The fact is people have been locked down for so long, many have elected to interpret the government’s announcement that some businesses can reopen as a signal that everything’s fine now.

It’s not.

Add to that the mixed messaging around the changes to the two-metre social distancing rule and you have a recipe for disaster.

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard television pundits say social distancing is now one metre.

It’s not.

These are the words of the Prime Minister to Parliament: “Where it is possible, keep two metres apart. But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’, meaning they should remain one metre apart, while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.

“Whilst the experts cannot give a precise assessment of how much the risk is reduced, they judge these mitigations would make ‘one metre plus’ broadly equivalent to the risk at two metres if those mitigations are fully implemented.

“There is one certainty: the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be.”

Ask yourself what evidence is there that people have actually taken on board the fact that social distancing is still two metres. And ask yourself what evidence is there that the general public is still abiding by any kind of social distancing at all.

There certainly wasn’t much evidence of that at the illegal block parties in London, the half a million people who crammed themselves on the beach at Bournemouth, the illegal raves in Cheshire forests or the Liverpool FC supporters who thought it was a good idea to swarm around the Pier Head to fire flares and rockets at the Liver Building.

Well done you.

I hope I’m wrong but I fully expect to see a sharp uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases as the effects of these illegal gatherings become apparent.

So much for trusting the great British common sense.

Has the government released lockdown too early, I wonder? Some commentators seem to think so and that appears to be backed up by the figures.

The website shows that on Saturday, June 27, the seven-day rolling average of new cases in the UK was 1,020 (that’s more than 7,000 new cases of coronavirus a week). On March 23, the day the UK was put into official lockdown, the same seven-day rolling average was just 729.

Taking the same dates, the seven-day rolling average number of deaths on Saturday was 133. On the day we went into lockdown, the average number of deaths was 42.

Worryingly, the number of daily deaths had been on a downward trend but for the week up to Saturday, that curve hasn’t shown any improvement. The number of deaths has hardly changed, ranging from 133 to 137. The day the country was locked down, there were 74 deaths.

So we’re actually easing the lockdown and social distancing regulations when the figures are significantly worse than when they were imposed.

But hey, what about the economy? Boris Johnson hailed the beginning of the end of ‘our long national hibernation, as he set out his plans for the easing of lockdown rules, saying he wanted to see ‘bustling streets’ again.

The government scientists, however, didn’t seem quite so supportive of the move and were keen to point out it was ‘not risk-free’.

Frankly, the state of the economy is of no concern if you’re dead. So go ahead, have your unlicensed street parties, cram onto beaches or celebrate your team’s victory. Go and ‘bustle’ down the high street if you want.

But ask yourself this: Taking the government’s fatally abysmal track record over excess deaths, failure to protect care homes, late lockdown, inadequate PPE, not enough ventilators, pathetically poor test, track and trace (including the failed app) do you trust it to get right the easing of lockdown?

I don’t.

Feels like ‘herd immunity’ is still in play and that’s one herd I don’t want to be part of.