For a while there, the mornings belonged to the blackbird, robin and wren. And maybe the odd young fox too.

They were often joined by a light breeze, in splintered dawn sunlight. That was it. Mostly silence, peppered with light birdsong.

But now the early mornings have seen some old familiar sounds return -  with the movement of cars, people and bikes, lots of bikes.

We awaken.

The coronavirus crisis has had a variety of effects on people.

There was great fear and some are still very concerned about what comes next. For others, the whole experience has deepened their sense of isolation and loneliness.

And for so many families, with no choice but to all stay at home, and watch lots of TV, it has brought relationships into high definition. The picture has been good and bad.

The lockdown may also have been a saviour in rebuilding some family lives, with partners and children.

Like the snowflake, each experience is individual.

As we move towards Phase 3 of the reopening of Ireland, it feels like we are on the home stretch.

With hairdressers reopening much sooner than expected, it's set the gold standard for letting our hair down a little, as we settle into the summer proper.

Thoughts have now turned to holidays, travel and new clothes. For some, moving out of lockdown will not be simple.

They may feel uneasy about being out and about and getting back to 'normal’. In lockdown, the unfamiliar might have become familiar, over time, like a new love, or friendship.

Coronavirus might even have brought a little bit of Stockholm syndrome with it in certain cases. Some people have welcomed the calm that arrived and the time to bake, talk and reflect.

A time to watch movies together and laugh - precious moments that were often not possible when the work world dominated.

For those with children, the challenges have been of a different kind, keeping families occupied and spirits going.

This emergency has forced many people out of work and out of their regular routine. So they have created new tasks and routines to get them through the days.

Some people feel  blessed with much more time to reflect. People are returning to a changed world.

Some may be feeling worse, now that the restrictions are easing. There may be no work and little to work towards, leaving them lost.

During these past three and a half months, there have been so many emotions and anxieties. The experience with coronavirus has been a physical, mental and spiritual one.

Some people have been in touch with me to say they will miss the lockdown. And the strong sense of home and family it has brought.

As one person explained, they were baking with purpose and it was as if the brown bread was keeping the family alive. So the adjustment to the post Covid-19 crisis will not be easy.

We have all been absorbing the flood of facts and analysis throughout this crisis.

The Central Statistics Office has been producing some important work on Covid-19, that may have been a bit overshadowed, due to the Department of Health and HSE briefings and the Covid-19 Dáil Committee.

The positive news from the CSO studies is that the number of people who have died from Covid-19, has fallen for the eighth week in a row. Cases have fallen for the seventh week in a row.

Interestingly, women and those aged between 25-44 are the most likely to be diagnosed as a confirmed case. Dublin continues to be the most affected by deaths.

A notable statistic is that areas where the median household income is less than €40,000 have accounted for 32% of cases related to an outbreak. Also, 25% of all positive cases lived in these areas of lower income.

As with health problems in general, poverty and social exclusion are heavily linked. The work of the Special Dáil Committee on the Response to Covid-19 continues.

It did more work this week probing what happened in the country’s nursing homes.

Most nursing homes are privately run and the State policy to move away from providing public nursing homes and funding the changes to mostly privately-delivered services, through the Fair Deal Scheme, have come more sharply into focus.

Some Dáil deputies like Bríd Smith have been pressing for a public inquiry into the events around nursing homes.

The report of an Expert Panel into the experience in nursing homes and how to manage matters in the future, is due to be given to the Minister for Health by the end of June.

It is expected to examine what happened in nursing homes with Covid-19 but its remit is not really to examine why the situation occurred, or to attribute blame.

Depending on what that report says, there may be pressure for an independent review into the wider issues, given that the majority of deaths due to Covid-19 were in nursing homes.

There are reasons for this.

But the question is posed as to whether the State agencies, and the private nursing homes too, could have done much more, to save lives?

As of now, we do not officially know the exact number of deaths there were during the crisis period here, over and above the number of deaths one would normally see in nursing homes.

One of the reasons is that officially here, deaths must be registered within three months – so it’s just too early for the official deaths data.

By comparison, in Northern Ireland, all deaths must be registered within five days, with the exception of deaths referred to the coroner.

So some of the analysis on deaths so far has been based on deaths recorded on the website, which has been a valuable resource.

In relation to nursing homes, many more patients were transferred from acute hospitals to nursing homes in the March/April period. The transfer approval numbers were 1,363 for March and 324 for April.

In the early stages, an assessment was done by hospitals to determine if someone was suitable for transfer.

Later on, testing was done to see if the patient had the virus prior to transfer. The process evolved whereby the patient would need to be self-isolated for 14 days, in a nursing home, on transfer.

Testing prior to transfer was also resumed at a later stage.

A key factor in the early protocol for transfer, according to the clinical experts, is that under the case definition at the time, it was presumed that people would display symptoms.

The news that a high proportion of patients infected might not display symptoms changed things.

The HSE CEO Paul Reid made the case at the Dáil Committee last week, that decisions were made at a point in time, based on the available evidence and knowledge.

Stephen Donnelly for Fianna Fáil said that overall, Ireland had the eighth highest fatality rate and was in the top third of countries with the most deaths.

We do not have the full picture of all of this yet. But we will in time.

In May, at a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the Department of Health presented a paper on a comparison of mortality rates between Ireland and other EU countries and internationally.

The minutes from that NPHET meeting note that countries around the world have reported very different mortality experiences to date. It also says that it is difficult to make definitive comparisons.

For example, Ireland has reported confirmed and probable deaths from Covid-19 in all settings but lots of countries have not. In fairness, we went looking for the information that in other countries they may not have wanted to see.

According to the NPHET minutes: "The NPHET welcomed the paper and noted that mortality in Ireland has been within the lower range in overall terms in comparison with similar health systems, particularly the UK and a number of other European member states."

Given all the caveats on comparisons it’s probably best to await a full examination of the situation before drawing any firm conclusions.

Some estimates put Ireland’s excess deaths at 8%, others would put it much higher at 27%, depending on what you are comparing.

The NPHET study of 28 May put the Irish case fatality ratio at 6.5%.

Belgium was at 16.3 %, France 15.5% and the UK at 14.3%.

The UCC economics lecturer, Seamus Coffey, has provided some very interesting observations on this topic. To paraphrase the great Leonard Cohen, we await the cold tap of facts.

The NPHET minutes for that May meeting say that it decided that the paper on comparisons with other countries "be amended as agreed and be submitted to the Minister for Health for consideration, formal approval and for publication".

Mostly, Irish people are about spontaneity, informality and the unexpected. A pint of plain is your only man but a pint of plain, with a mask and a stopwatch, will be new to the Irish psyche.

While we move away from the firm grip of coronavirus, the reminders will be there in society with masks, social distancing and the new rules for going to restaurants, hotels and pubs.

The rules for reopening pubs have left some people scratching their heads. Where is the science behind the options of two, or one metres, social distancing?

How can a chef cook a steak, while also wearing personal protective equipment?

The pages and pages of guidance will make it impossible for some places to reopen at this point, and perhaps they will just wait until 20 July when the final phase of reopening is due to kick in.

The new measures being advised for pubs and elsewhere are to protect public health – for both customers and staff. For pubs, the new rules will be anathema to the ways of the Irish.

Mostly, Irish people are about spontaneity, informality and the unexpected. A pint of plain is your only man but a pint of plain, with a mask and a stopwatch, will be new to the Irish psyche.

Some of the rules for reopening pubs may appear like they were devised by someone who has rarely stepped inside a public house and may not quite realise how it all actually works.

What other country is applying this range of obligations? Maybe more importantly, how can the measures be enforced? It very much looks like an Irish solution to an Irish problem.

It almost looks like the rules to reopen were pieces in a negotiation process. Was it a case of more time being allowed for patrons to remain on a premises being conceded, in exchange for stricter measures in other areas?

The idea that Irish people would pre-book to go to a pub, that one person in a group would be the ‘leader’ and have all the contact details of the others in the  group, and that everyone would leave after a set time, is a scenario that Myles na gCopaleen would have great fun with, were he alive today.

It may result in the decline of the public house, which some will welcome.

It may also mean a big decline in the tax take for the Government, already facing financial pressures with an economy that may be anaemic for a long while.

Less important than how pubs operate for many people, will be how the health service will operate and when all inpatient, day case and out patient care will resume, in some manner similar to before.

There are 790,000 people in Ireland waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic, or for treatment.

Some estimates suggest that the capacity for services will be reduced by 50%, or even more than that, as non-Covid care returns under the requirements for a safe environment with the risk of coronavirus.

Dates for the resumption of screening programmes, sometime in the autumn, are due to be announced by the end of June. There will be a massive backlog of cases to be seen for CervicalCheck, Bowel Screening, BreastCheck and Diabetic Retinopathy.

So along with the resumption of screening, a programme to handle the backlog will be needed.

There will be difficult months and indeed years ahead for patients and staff in a much-changed health service due to coronavirus.

Every day we are still learning new things about Covid-19. Italy announced yesterday that a national health institute study of waste water found that coronavirus was already present in two large cities in northern Italy in December.

Some people coped OK with the lockdown, until the monotony set in. We got through days that we thought would never end.

Days that were unspeakably hard for so many people, especially those who lost loved-ones. We have survived and there is no time to waste now.

What these months have revealed about ourselves may surprise us. There is a lot of living to do, as we step out of the shadow of coronavirus, into the light.

On this, the Summer solstice, it's all been a dark reminder how this could be, at any moment, your last moment.