According to CNN, an area in Indonesia is punishing people who don’t wear masks by making them dig the graves of those who died from Coronavirus.

As gruesome as that sounds, it seems that the consequences in Northern Ireland may be even worse.

Fail to wear a mask here and Stephen Nolan will run after you, shouting that you don’t care, all filmed by a camera crew to be shown on television.

This tactic by the self-appointed one is okay by BBC management who consider it in the public interest. Hmm…

Seriously, from a position earlier in the year of us all being in it together, society’s response to Covid now seems to have become fractious, the stuff of controversial difference.

Last week, as I got out of my car in a supermarket and prepared to put on my mask, a little bit of phlegm got caught in my throat and I spluttered a cough.

A woman walking past, already at least two metres away, jumped further back, swore at me and scuttled quickly across the car park further away from me!

How did we get to the point of such a fearful atmosphere, rather than remaining calm and taking reasonable steps to make sure we’re as safe as possible.

My view for the individual is simple and straightforward.

Obey the rules, wear your mask at the time you’re advised to, keep your distance, wash your hands and just generally be as careful and responsible as possible.

Isolate or quarantine when the guidelines say and for the proper length of time. I don’t much like wearing a mask to be honest, but it’s no biggie is it, and spare me all the big scientific debate about this expert and that expert saying a mask isn’t effective.

It’s the law anyway, and if it helps, just do it.

Personally, I’d hate to be the one whose carelessness resulted in Covid being brought into contact with some older or vulnerable person, and God forbid, even caused a death.

As I write this, I hear that figures are again soaring in Northern Ireland, and there have been seven deaths in the last 24 hours.

End your denial, Covid is here and far too easily spread to others. This is the second wave, and we can’t say we weren’t warned.

Individual responsibility is important, and a major part of the problem is that a minority of people aren’t following the rules, whether having house parties or whatever other way they’re breaking the rules.

Aside from our individual responsibility, it seems to me that wider society is facing a great challenge and our authorities, whether Belfast and Dublin have been found wanting.

There are two issues, firstly the argument over which health expert to believe, and secondly the new cliché of lives versus livelihood.

If you put 10 experts in a room (yes, yes, I know you can’t even do that now, but if) you could well get 10 different points of view. And as people become more and more frustrated, we seem to just pick the viewpoint that suits us and become totally convinced that our expert has the golden ticket.

And worse, some people believe some 'expert' because my cousin’s uncle says he has never been proved wrong in the past.

For most of this year, we’ve been told that Government is following the science.

Here in Northern Ireland, that means Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride and Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Ian Young have been centre stage, although I’m afraid to say that they don’t appear to be suited to the spotlight.

Now suddenly, the Stormont politicians appear divided as to when to follow their advice to lockdown.

It may well be that a 'circuit breaker' for several weeks has become necessary, but are we in a position which somebody described as “hokey cokey” lockdown, going in and out as the Covid statistics go up and down?

Or do we need to be more strategic, looking closely at where the problems are and dealing with them there rather than a blanket closure of society which is creating many mental health problems and indeed general health issues, as well as storing up problems in education and the economy.

What is the plan for education?

It seems some parties at Stormont wanted to close schools for four to six weeks, but the DUP didn’t want any additional closure other then the half-term. So, we end up with a compromise of two weeks.

What does that achieve? Either schools don’t need the break or they need several weeks, so like many compromises everybody gets what nobody wants.

Hopefully, the couple of weeks will make a difference. Hopefully.

We should be putting our kids, their education and welfare, centre stage when considering what to do, and that includes allowing them to play games and sport which will help their healthy lifestyle.

All with the proper precautions, of course, which most clubs have been very vigilant about. Confusion reigns over transfer tests, GCSEs and A levels, and after the debacle in the summer over exam results where is the priority for the future of our kids?

You’ve got to feel sorry, too, for the hospitality industry, many of whom have spent large sums of money in making their premises safe and putting good practices into place. Where is the evidence that restaurants and cafes are a hotbed for the spread of the virus?

Evidence is the key word, and it’s one of the problems that decisions are made without us being told why.

Why should we simply do what Michael McBride and Ian Young say, without scrutiny? And the situation at Stormont is a shambles with a late-night sitting and disagreements along political party lines doing nothing to inspire confidence.

Listen, everyone appreciates how difficult this is for politicians, we’re in unchartered territory.

But communication has never been a strong point for our politicians at Stormont, and if they have a coherent plan they should communicate it well.

Much has been made of the different approach in Sweden which has not gone into lockdown. But Sweden had a plan, communicated it well and explained why they were doing it and the people were trusted to respond by following the guidelines.

There is, unfortunately at a time when people are struggling, a lack of trust in our authorities here and in Britain. Who’d trust Boris? He and his Government faffed around early on in the crisis and went into lockdown too late, then came out of it too early. The scandal of how they put people in care homes in great danger will be exposed one day.

They lie about how brilliantly they’re doing, everything is world class apparently, including test and trace effectiveness. But one person suggested there were only two problems with it….1. test and 2. trace.

At the end of the day, though, as much as we criticise Government, there are too many individuals who aren’t following the rules, whether through carelessness or being 'thran' and thinking they’re right and they’ll do what the want by following “their” science.

Peel away all the fear and controversy, and we should realise that it’s up to us to take care of ourselves and ensure that we don’t take risk which could endanger the health of others.

We should, as we said earlier in the year, all be in this together. That way, there is hope that we will eventually get through this.