THE Herald has reported (May 6) on another economically and socially “lost generation” of children and young people due to Covid-19.

However, I am still part of the last “lost generation” of the great recession; under-employed, low paid, and facing yet another uncertain decade after being in the economic doldrums since 2008.

It’s fair to say that we are scheduled to be worse than our parents’ generation. Earnings and home ownership rates reflect this. Despite these realities, we have been, and are still being, fed materialistic pulp from advertisers and corporations for items and lifestyles that we can’t really afford, especially now.

And now we see yet another age cohort sacrificed at the altar of globalisation. How many more? The environmental and economic sustainability of our lifestyles has always been called into question.

In reality, my generation and the one behind us will have have to make do with less. Less travel, less opportunity, less financial security, less materialism.

It’s an uncomfortable thought, being worse off than a previous generation, but it’s also a chance to rebuild relationships, do things differently and stop the cycle of an overly-globalised society that has brought us nothing but uncertainty and total economic ruin once a decade, for which we were not responsible.

David Bone, Girvan.

WITH everything that is going on at the moment with coronavirus, most of the population (including kids) think of it as a negative instead of a positive.

It can be very hard to switch to a positive so I think people should appreciate that we have a lot of spare time and we should use it to learn more about people, by playing video games with a gang of friends or by teaching a younger sibling to ride a bike. I think it should be widely encouraged, no matter what.

David Petillo (11), Glasgow.

IAIN Macwhirter writes (May 6), “I can’t ignore the argument that, had it been in control of [its borders], a Scottish government could have attempted the elimination strategy so effectively deployed in New Zealand.”

He quotes health expert Professor Devi Sridhar as claiming that with early implementation of border controls and a policy of intensive testing, the death rate could have been halted altogether. This seems overly optimistic, but perhaps they could have done it.

However, the real question is, would they have? Had the referendum gone the other way, those running the country would likely be the same group in charge now, so you have to look at our current crop and ask the question. Wisdom after the event is so easy.

This thing came on very fast, and political leaders everywhere had to take decisions without the customary time for debate and mulling-over that helps avoid blunders.

Certainly, testing should have been started much sooner, as served Germany so well, and with much tighter border controls, as worked for New Zealand.

The way in which holidaymakers returning from infection hotspots in Spain and North Italy were allowed to go straight home was unimpressive. They should have been ferried home in hired aircraft or by RAF transports straight into quarantine.

Such measures, so early, could well have caused uproar in the name of human rights before the full threat was understood.

For years there have been calls for Nicola Sturgeon to spend less time on pressing for IndyRef2 and “concentrate on her day job.” To her credit, she appears to have done just that in this time of crisis. But the issue won’t go away. Now is just not the time for it.

Mr Macwhirter says, “Nationalism is about security, not economics.” I suspect there are many who would disagree, including those who voted against the Big Split in 2014.

To me, it was clearly the fear of economic catastrophe following the event and its effect on the standard of living that enabled the No result. Would it have been a disaster? No-one of course can know the answer for sure, but it was a bigger risk than the majority was willing to take.

It’s hard to see what has changed as a result of the horrible illness we’re now in the throes of, and therefore hard to see the justification for his punchline: ”…far from reviving the United Kingdom as a going concern, this pandemic could be the final nail in its coffin.”

Whether Mr. Macwhirter’s article is an objective view as he sees it, or a plug for independence, it is inappropriate in this time of crisis.

There is no clear right and wrong path for those tasked with managing this difficult-to-impossible situation, and until a vaccine is found, things will barely start the long haul back to normality. But when that time comes, politics will be business as usual, and the knives on all sides can come back out.

Jim Robertson, East Kilbride.

HAS Boris Johnson pulled a “ blinder” and out-manoeuvred Nicola Sturgeon?

The UK-wide approach to lifting the lockdown has always been questioned by Ms Sturgeon, who was obviously seeking a preferred Scottish-only solution that would pull the rug from under the English, hence her habit of jumping the gun by announcing her next steps without a firm commitment to the pre-requisite timeframe required.

Events have overtaken the Scottish dimension of this crisis and it now appears that England may very well start to ease the lockdown as early as next week whilst Scotland is currently the slowest moving of the home nations and has no end in sight.

Ms Sturgeon might be trying to figure out a uniquely Scottish way out of lockdown but it looks to be too little and too late. Where will this leave the SNP’s much-loved slogan, “ but it is worse in England?”

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

I’M very worried about what is going to happen after the weekend when the rest of the UK begins to ease lockdown, while Scotland chooses not to.

My main worry is to do with finances. If the Scottish Government wants businesses to stay closed and Westminster says “you’ve had your furlough,” there’s next to nothing we can do about it and we’ll be starved - almost literally - into submission, made to follow whatever misguided path Boris sets out.

This is devolution, in all its restricted glory - being pushed into a position where our “oh, but it’s devolved!” health and social care sector will be overburdened by decisions not taken by the people who run those services.

Declan Blench, Glasgow.

I COULD not agree more with the points made by Neil Mackay (“Coronavirus kills the poor, the rich must be brought to heel”, May 7).

What also needs to be addressed is the reporting terminology. Why is it that poor people are given state benefits while wealthy businesses are in receipt of government grants? Time to be consistent.

W. Lindsay, Erskine.

THE Restaurants Association of Ireland has proposed that restaurants, cafes and gastro bars open again by following social distancing guidelines under World Health Organisation rules.

It said that tables can be arranged so that the distance from the back of one chair to the back of another would be one metre and that guests face each other from a distance of one metre – the distance recommended by the WHO.

Nations such as Germany accepted the WHO figure – their scientists confirmed that coronavirus doesn’t transmit well in the air – but the UK pushed it up to two metres after untested “advice” from the mysterious SAGE.

Why does the First Minister meekly follow the UK government on this matter? This is surely be an opportunity to get Scotland back to work. It’s not a question of weakening the rules but of following empirical evidence.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

YET again we have this R number quoted during the daily briefing. I have searched the Herald after my last letter asking for a details of how it is calculated but, sadly, no explanation. Is it a State secret, and are we to be kept in the dark?

Dave Biggart, Kilmacolm.

I AM concerned that Dave Biggart, and most likely others, has been unable to find any explanation of how the ‘R’ number is derived or calculated.

To avoid confusion, I wish it to be known that there is only one of myself and that I am conscientiously following current government guidelines. The stifled “thank goodness for that” in the background is a small price to pay if it allays wider anxiety.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.

NO, Mr Biggart isn’t the only one who doesn’t understand what he calls “this magic R number”. He’s one of many who can’t understand the very simple concept, explained almost daily at the briefings, that it’s the number of times an infected person infects others, e.g. R1 means each infected person infects one other, R2, two others.

It’s not a magic number; it’s a crucial indicator of the exponential rate at which the virus can spread - a vital statistic at the heart of pandemic strategy.

I can also help Dave with E =mc2, another set of “magic numbers” in an equation, one that revolutionised physics and our understanding of the universe we live in. E represents units of energy, m represents units of mass, and c2 is the speed of light squared, or multiplied by itself.

Peter Curran, Kirkliston.