Divisions are everywhere. The sense of unity that helped the UK through the surreal first wave of the coronavirus is now a distant memory, like the azure blue skies in April. Now they have been replaced by grey skies and rain with nothing on the horizon but pain.

The divisions are spreading rancour throughout the UK. Perhaps the biggest is between the contentious science and the crippled economy, which this pandemic has set against each other like never before. It’s an unenviable debate for the PM, a morass of philosophical and practical questions to which there is no definitive answer. There is plenty of justifiable criticism out there for the way the government has handled the coronavirus, but even their sternest critics would acknowledge the grave and unpredictable situation they are trying to handle.

The scale of the situation, combined with the emotive nature of it, complicates things further. At the time of writing Pret is under fire on Twitter because co-founder Julian Metcalfe, the enthusiastic and enterprising entrepreneur who also founded Itsu, suggested that another lockdown would be “impossible” and that “society will not recover if we do it again to save a few thousand lives of very old or vulnerable people”.

Metcalfe hasn’t run Pret for a decade, but the Twitterati vowed to boycott the chain. Pret was swift to distance itself from Metcalfe’s ruthless opinion, but the essence of his comments is echoed by many people in business – in hospitality or otherwise – and ultimately it’s the same debate being discussed in the upper echelons of power.

It’s the big division that the government faces, to save lives or livelihoods. On one side the chancellor and a bunch of Tory rebels with their dire warnings over the future of the economy, on the other a PM being lobbied by scientists with their equally dire warnings of thousands more deaths. The trouble is they all have a point, but they are incompatible with each other. The PM must fall asleep dreaming he’s going to be woken up with the news an effective vaccine has been found.

Elsewhere there is divided opinion over whether a complete national two week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown would be more effective than the partial tiering lockdowns currently in place. A valid concern is there is no guarantee a circuit breaker would only be in place for a fortnight. It would also be unnecessarily punitive for operators in relatively unaffected areas. And it would massively up the bill for the government who would need to financially support thousands more businesses ordered to close.

Yet the localised lockdown tiering system splinters the collective element of the struggle and creates confusion and disorder among consumers and businesses alike. Like so many policy decisions taken since March it was obviously developed at haste and lurches haphazardly from one change to the next as its flaws become apparent. It’s just delivered the latest twist – a tier one ‘plus’ level. Incremental divisions within divisions.

And there is the 10pm curfew, which is fundamentally flawed and risks having the opposite effect it was designed for, but it remains in place. Masks used to be pointless, now they are the law. You have to wear one to enter a restaurant, but you can take it off the moment you sit down. You can’t hang out with more than six people in a pub, but you can crowd into a supermarket with hundreds. You can’t have your grandparents round for Christmas because there will be eight of you around the table, but you can have 30 people in a restaurant for a business meeting. Or can you? By the time you read this, the rules may have changed. It’s no surprise confusion continues to rise.