Boris Johnson is back in Downing Street and his return to work is undoubtedly a moment of success in this grim coronavirus crisis.
The prime minister has survived this horrible disease, but sadly tens of thousands of others have not.
He was away for three weeks and the country he leads has changed beyond recognition.
We are passing through the peak of this COVID-19 pandemic and we are all counting the cost – some much more than others.
With the UK now into a sixth week of lockdown, political consensus – and public support – is beginning to fray.
Many want to move on, but Mr Johnson marked his return to Number 10 by managing lockdown expectations.
Likening the virus to a mugger, the prime minister said this was the moment “we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor”.
But he warned that easing up social restrictions now would bring “not only a new wave of death and disease but also an economic disaster”.
He said: “I ask you to contain your impatience because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict.”
The big question now is what comes next?
If the government has the answers, it is not willing to share them with the public quite yet.
The government has set out five tests for adjusting the lockdown.
These are that the NHS has capacity to provide critical care across the UK; there is a sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths from coronavirus; the rate of infection has decreased to manageable levels across the board; operational issues on testing and PPE are in hand; and any adjustments will not risk a second peak.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Crucial to all of the five tests is controlling, detecting, and lowering transmission rates.
The prime minister said on Monday that he cannot risk letting the reproduction rate of coronavirus in the UK go back over one.
The R0 rate measures the rate of transmission.
If the reproduction rate is above one, the disease will spread.
An R0 rate of three would mean that every infected person would infect three other people, and they would then each go on, combined, to each infect another nine people and so on.
Conversely if the R0 rate is 0.5, it means two people with the disease infect one other person, or 10 people only infect five.
While hospital admissions are falling and the growth in new cases and deaths is slowing, Professor Chris Whitty, NHS England’s chief medical officer, warned on Monday that the R0 rate – which he said was at the “middle point” between 0.5 to one – gives the government “some room for manoeuvre but doesn’t give a huge room for manoeuvre”.
So when it comes to lifting restrictions, Prof Whitty said the job of the scientists sitting on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), is to tell ministers how much the R0 value will go up by with each decision they take in lifting the lockdown.
The hard choices are stacking up.
Prof Whitty suggested on Monday that the more children who return to school, the less the government can ease other rules.
Which bit of lockdown will be lifted first? Will the government prioritise kids returning to school, workplaces, or bars and restaurants?
Will our social lives be sacrificed in order to try to get people back to work?
Even if the government can begin to flex the lockdown come 7 May when the next review comes around, life will not return to normal anytime soon.
Living with coronavirus will require rewiring our lives for some time yet.
Prof Whitty was also clear that the coronavirus pandemic “has got a very long way to run” when I asked him about a likely overall death toll, which is already above 20,000 – and that figure doesn’t include deaths in care homes and the community.
“I’m really cautious about putting out these kind of absolute numbers, because this could go in a lot of different ways over the next many months until such time as we have a clear exit that has a vaccine or drugs or some other route that allows us to be able to say now we can stop people dying from this,” he said.
Another route back to a more normal way of life will be through testing.
Mr Hancock told me on Monday that the 100,000 daily tests promised by the end of this month will be enough to roll out his “test, track and trace” plan as part of the next stage of the coronavirus response.
This is critical given that the health secretary has also made it clear that this system could be key in allowing “lesser” social distancing rules.
Managing the disease will be an extremely difficult task but so too will be managing political consensus and the public mood, as the government looks towards months of hard choices and potentially unpopular measures.
The political consensus is beginning to fray with Conservative backbenchers now pressing the government publicly to give a roadmap for the release from lockdown.
“People have to have some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers.
Mark Francois, chairman of the eurosceptic European Research Group, said the prime minister is ‘going to have to exercise the Judgment of Solomon”.
He added: “If he lifts the restrictions too quickly and there is a virulent second outbreak the country will be unforgiving.
“But if he runs the lockdown too long there may not be much of an economy left to rescue.”
Our sixth week of lockdown.
Normal life feels a world away and the prime minister was guarded on Monday about what comes next.
But he knows he’ll have to give the public more in the coming days.
And he knows too there are no easy answers. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.