NOW that death, in these days of the coronavirus, is a daily updated statistic on the news, how do we talk about it? How has the virus changed our approach to end of life care? Radio 4 on Tuesday morning attempted to address those questions in a calm, sober manner. Not that that made it any less unsettling. Or heartbreaking.

The NHS Frontline was the latest report from the coronavirus frontline, featuring testimony from NHS staff in Bradford Infirmary as recorded by Dr John Wright.

It was a dispatch that didn’t try to hide from the problems the pandemic was causing. Not all of it was coronavirus’s doing. Dr Wright reported that Asian doctors are having to go online to counteract social media disinformation which suggests that black and Asian patients are at greater risk in Bradford Infirmary.

“Our worry,” one doctor said, “is that people are scared of coming to hospital.”

The programme painted a picture of a health service under strain and adjusting to the new reality it found itself in. And yet human contact remains. Humour, too.

The Reverend Joe Fielder, an Anglican vicar, reported going to see one patient and singing him his favourite song, I Want to Break Free. “I don’t think Freddie Mercury has much to worry about,” the Reverend admitted afterwards.

Similar stories of grief and loss and resilience were at the heart of Woman’s Hour, that same morning. Amidst the darkness and the pain, there was one shaft of light that shone through both programmes, however, as pointed out by Dr Rachel Clarke to Jenni Murray.

“They are our patients, they are people we love, we care for. The only thing that matters to us is making sure they know they are human beings who matter all the way to the end of their life.”

No one, in short, is just a statistic.

Look Out For: The First Time with Jeff Goldblum, 6 Music, tomorrow, 2pm

The Hollywood actor and piano player, above, talks to Matt Everitt about his life and musical tastes.