THIS virus is much more insidious than we ever thought possible, presenting its virulence in ways previously considered remote.

It resembles nothing more than a siege army, seeking out the weaknesses and chinks in the defences of its target.

Complacency and unfamiliarity combined have left us open to an earlier resurgence than we ever considered.

Much has been made of the supposition that youngsters have more immunity to the virus than other age groups. Behind that hopeful belief lies the desperation to re-open schools to kickstart the economy by getting their parents back to work.

What concerns me is this has been a mistaken illusion by not taking into account the potential of the virus to mutate, allowing it to attack organisms previously considered immune.

There are signs already in evidence that the disease is now making inroads into the younger population, striking them down with the same serious symptoms found in the more vulnerable and elderly age groups.

If we underestimate the destructive power of this virus, we could find ourselves in semi-permanent lockdown for years to come.

Far be it from me to present such a grim Jeremiad but that sadly is my vision of the future, which I do not see as being bright and optimistic with the way developments in the virus are going.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

YOUR front-page lead headline ( “Teachers raise safety fears as schools prepare to open”, The Herald, August 3) is hardly surprising considering the fact that our virology experts still frequently state that they don’t have all the answers about Covid-19.

It is not surprising that schools are expressing difficulty adapting. Scottish education always seems to have the characteristics which are often cited as defining insanity. It does the same thing every year but expects different outcomes in the annual league tables.

The current viral health emergency has been an opportunity to try something different. For example, the Scottish Government could have requisitioned the under-viewed TV channel Alba. It could have been used to deliver lessons from the most effective secondary teachers in Scotland for senior students taking Higher exams. This could enable them to stay at home for many subjects, independent of the internet.

I expect that the notion of classrooms having a "do not cross” line only applies to stereotypical formal classroom settings. Secondary schools have,for example, art studios, laboratories, workshops, graphics rooms, food technology rooms, music recital rooms, drama studios, gymnasia and so forth. All of these involve activity which makes social distancing a very significant challenge for teaching and learning.

I expect that if there is a proven Covid-19 spike in our schools after they start back, any of the goodwill from schools upon which John Swinney is so dependent, will perhaps go into lockdown.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

WHEN are the devolved administrations and the UK Government going to harmonise how Covid deaths are daily reported?

Presently, data for England classifies a death as from coronavirus if the deceased has ever been tested positively for the virus. This approach, taken to a logical yet ridiculous extreme, means a teenager who's tested positive and has a slight sore throat could die in 70 years from coronary heart disease and be classified as a Covid death. Elsewhere in the UK, only those who have tested positively in the last 28 days are reported as Covid deaths. This seems more sensible.

To right this retrospectively means England would reduce the number of deaths recorded, risking criticism that Downing Street is fudging the figures – but this has to be the correct solution. It's suggested that consequently England's death toll could be overstated by 10 per cent. In any case, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland administrations doubtless won't be keen to adopt England's approach to achieve consistency and each increase their historic death tolls.

Adjusting the figures won't diminish the terrible consequences of coronavirus across these islands but it will assist public understanding of what's happening comparatively in each nation. Matt Hancock promised urgently to address this issue on July 17; sadly we are still waiting.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

I WAS intrigued by T Stewart’s letter (August 1) querying whether Duncan Bannatyne was aware that we are in the middle of a pandemic, following Mr Bannatyne’s request that Nicola Sturgeon open gyms before mid-September.

I do wonder whether your correspondent and Nicola Sturgeon are aware that we are in the middle of an obesity crisis that will doubtless claim many more lives than Covid-19. This will be exacerbated if people are denied the opportunity to exercise in a manner of their choosing. Obesity is a significant factor in Covid-19 mortality and policy makers need to think more broadly in their decision making.

I do hope your correspondent did not pen the missive in a close-proximity place, like a pub, but that might explain the somewhat clouded logic.

David Bryson, Giffnock.

Read more: Letters: Sturgeon will one day have to atone for her shortcomings