EVEN though almost every single column inch has been on the subject of coronavirus, it is hard to exaggerate the seismic-nature of the shift put in train by this pandemic.

It is, without exaggeration, the greatest threat of our lifetimes. And I want to pay tribute to those who work in the NHS; the police; the supermarket staff; public transport; the posties; all the other frontline staff & the amazing legions of volunteers across the City. Those on the frontline show us the best of who we are. They go above and beyond, making sacrifices to keep essential services moving. To them we say: thank you.

The same is true for our own Council staff. Those who are still out there, delivering care, picking up waste, processing financial support applications, and making sure that every family gets support to pay for essential food while schools are closed. And it was great to see our own Lord Provost, Phil Braat, rolling up his sleeves to prepare food packages earlier this week.

People do make Glasgow, and especially those on the frontline prove it every day.

And the best thing that the rest of us can do to help them right now? Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

But once the dust has settled on this pandemic – and it will, sure as night follows day – the world we will find ourselves in will be a dramatically different one. Our assumptions about the world of work have been upended. Governments around the world have implemented the largest economic rescue packages ever seen. Which, to varying degrees, have directed support at those who were already most in need.

Communities have rallied round to support the most vulnerable, on a scale barely thought possible just weeks ago. The response to NHS England’s call for volunteers has been phenomenal, and I hope that Glasgow will see a similarly phenomenal response to the Glasgow Community Response Team, led by the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (and if you can help out, the number is 0141 345 0543 or helpline@gcvs.org.uk).

The challenges of loneliness and isolation will not end once this crisis has passed. In one of the most profound changes to the way we live, single person households are set to become the new norm. How do communities organise themselves, and how do we deliver the necessary support in that world?

In my view, the solution to that much longer-term problem will need two key elements. First, that the community spirit we are witnessing is nurtured and maintained. That means rethinking how the council works with communities and genuinely empowering them.

And, secondly, that the unprecedented level of coordination and planning between the council, the NHS, Police, Fire and Rescue and other public sector partners continues. This crisis has demonstrated without question that the actions taken in one part of the public sector have direct consequences for the rest.

The measures we’re seeing now: increased support through social security; work patterns built around individuals; and community spirit are not just the solution to this crisis. They chart a way forward for us in the 21st century.