THE world currently seems to be divided into two types of people.

The first consists of those who fretted their way through the coronavirus lockdown and couldn’t wait to get back to the beach, the bars and the shops.

They felt the restrictions were too draconian and should have been lifted earlier.

The second is made up those who are so concerned about their health they took every possible step to socially distance, disinfected everything, stayed away from absolutely everyone and felt that, as Covid-19 is still circulating, that releasing the lockdown came too soon.

Without giving away any secrets, I very much fall into the second category.

But the problem is it is almost impossible to reconcile those two opinions. And opinions dictate what actions you are likely to take.

In a way, it very much mirrors the dilemma the government currently finds itself wrestling with – public health versus economic recovery.

In my opinion, a lot of the government’s recent decisions regarding the easing of lockdown have more to do with getting people out and about and spending money than protecting the health of the nation and that is a very dangerous path to go down.

Take, for example, last week’s instruction to get back to work from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who blithely added that people can now use public transport again. (In my opinion, buses and trains are little more than Petrie dishes to brew up a new batch of coronavirus.)

Johnson’s decision is patently based on economics – not health – and came after a disappointing uptick in spending when pubs and non-essential shops were allowed to reopen.

Putting it bluntly, we’re just not spending enough to keep the prime minister happy so the government seems content to take a punt on your health as long as the daily death totals are ‘manageable’.

At virtually the same time, Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, told the Commons science and technology committee it was his view – and one shared by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – that distancing measures were still important for containing the virus.

Since late March the government has advised people to work from home if possible to help curb coronavirus.

But while last week Johnson signalled a change, saying: “I think we should now say, well, go back to work if you can,”, Sir Patrick said home working was still a “perfectly good option” for many.

Interestingly, throughout the pandemic, ‘guided by the science’ has been the government’s mantra - often repeated whenever a minister’s approach has been questioned.

But when asked about the new ‘get back to work’ message, Johnson appeared to indicate he was now ignoring the expert advice, saying: "The chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer give us advice, which we of course take very, very seriously.

"But in the end, decisions are taken by the elected politicians and we have to weigh the advice that we get.

"I don’t think our wonderful scientific and medical advisers would want to take those decisions for us, those are decisions for us to take."

So there you have it, a prime minister ignoring scientific advice and winging it with people’s lives for the sake of a few more takeaway butties being sold at Tesco Express.

I’m more inclined to listen to Devi Sridhar, professor and chair of global public health at Edinburgh University Medical School, who said: "The combination of blind optimism (virus will just go away – get back to normal life) and cynical fatalism (nothing we can do to stop spread – get it over with quickly) becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Public trust is falling as people just don’t know what to believe any more."

In order for Johnson’s ‘get back to work, get spending again’ policy to have any effect, it needs that second group of people, those who are voting with their feet and staying home, to become economically active again.

But for that to happen, they have to believe the government has their health at heart. They have to believe the government is doing everything it can to keep them safe.

And like me, many, many people think Johnson is putting money before people and risking our health.

Johnson said there could be a ‘significant return to normality from November at the earliest – possibly in time for Christmas’.

Compare and contrast that with what England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, had to say: “For medium to long term, I’m optimistic. But for the short to medium term, until this time next year, certainly I think we should be planning for this, for what I consider to be the long haul into 2021.”

Then ask yourself who you believe, ask yourself who is more likely to keep you and your family safe.