A few weeks ago I wrote a piece for the Belfast Telegraph saying that so long as lockdown was viewed as a novelty and most people had financial support in the form of furlough and mortgage holidays, then there would likely be overwhelming support for, and cooperation with, the Government's barrage of stay-at-home restrictions.
Fear was also a crucial factor: for when people believe that something very nasty, very dangerous is unfolding around them, they are more willing to support a collective strategy to protect themselves and others.
But I also suggested that lockdown would begin to unravel if the feeling of novelty transformed into boredom; if economic concerns grew (what would happen if the lockdown went on and on, and furlough payments were reduced, and possible redundancy beckoned); if internal tensions magnified as families found themselves in close contact for weeks on end; when increasing numbers of people began to resent lockdown as mandatory rather than voluntary cooperation, and if there was a sweep across the country of the mantra: "Sure, everybody else is out doing their own thing while we're stuck in here."
We have reached that stage. More importantly, most people, particularly those under 50, don't fear Covid-19 anymore. And when you're not scared of it you won't be so willing to hide from something that "in the great scheme of things hasn't killed all that many people anyway, and most of them were already old or had underlying health conditions".
It's the I'm All Right, Jack frame of mind.
As a family we took decisions (before the formal lockdown) for our own safety and the safety of others. I'm 64 and Indy, my youngest, is nearly three, so we were just being careful about the vulnerable ends of the family.
That said, Megan (21) is bored. She wants out. Wants to see her old school friends and her new friends from university in England.
On her social media timelines she sees all the pictures of crowds on beaches in Brighton and elsewhere and buys into the view (as many of her generation do) that the young will either not get it or, if they do, will get over it quickly and without much damage.
My warnings about there not being enough hard evidence to confirm that young people are as safe as they think they are is quietly ignored.
For all the dusk-to-dawn coverage of the crisis, it is likely the vast majority of people don't listen to the daily briefings from Number 10 and the devolved region leaderships. But they do pick up on key words from the TV/radio/newspaper/social media headlines: 'Restrictions easing', 'Places opening', 'Shops returning to business'. And once you plant the seed that 'normal' is returning, then people will take risks and jump early.
I saw a tweet the other day that said: "If you can go to Tim Horton's for a bun and KFC for a bucket of chicken, then things can't be that bad - can they?" It had thousands of 'likes' and retweets.
Dominic Cummings has also had an impact in a way that other alleged transgressors haven't.
When the Prime Minister's top guy is allowed to act on the natural instinct of every parent (which is more or less how he described it) and is deemed not to have broken the law, and Johnson refuses to sack him, then we can hardly be surprised if lesser mortals believe it's acceptable for them to do the same thing. If what they actually mean is taking a child to a crowded beach rather than a safe place in case both parents are ill at the same time, then so be it.
I think it is inevitable the lockdown will now collapse quite quickly. Social distancing is possible when 80% are mostly inside most of the time. It won't work when you reverse those figures.
Beaches, bars, high streets, parks, playgrounds, schools, transport and pavements will soon be bunged again.
For the past few weeks we were willing to wait in queues reasonably patiently. That won't continue as those queues get longer and longer. The vast majority will not wait for the official deadlines to kick in for places to open. It will be like the Gadarene Swine, or lemmings. One out means all out.
And then it will be garden parties, house parties, moving tables closer together, not able to give a wide berth to people we pass because we will be passing too many people. Masks will, quite literally, begin to slip as we take them off to eat, chat or drink with friends, neighbours and colleagues ("Sure, I know them all, none of them would be out if they had it.").
I understand the difficulties of lockdown. I understand that the original fear of a killer virus has been replaced with the much more everyday fear of not being able to pay bills, or watching as your children fall far behind in education.
I recognise that sense of isolation in not being able to see close friends and family for long periods. I know business owners who dread closure and bankruptcy. But I also know that there are still too many ifs, buts, unknowns and uncertainties at this point
The biggest of which is what happens if there is an across-the-UK, impossible-to-control wave in August or later? Who will tell the shops, factories, schools and everywhere else to close down then? Which Government agency will be standing in line to pick up the tab for another few months of people not being able to get to work?
Who will impose or enforce a curfew? Will the police, with Army back-up, be expected to clear the streets? Would we be prepared to trust advice from the PM or Health Secretary again? Would we be clapping for the NHS again?
How will the devolved regions (heavily dependent on the UK Exchequer) manage a huge spike in the numbers if their present budgets cannot cope with the financial demands and there is reduced support from the centre?
What about the NI Executive, which has actually managed to retain stability and a cohesive message? We are heading into a potentially chaotic few months (maybe longer) with too many people willing to take risks they wouldn't have taken a month ago.
Bizarrely, it's almost as if millions have decided that the virus will just shrivel in the heat and disappear.
My primary concern - as both a parent and an ordinary citizen - is that a Government which was caught on the hop at the beginning of this crisis doesn't seem to have learned many lessons.
It has lost control of the pace and strategy of easing lockdown. Its daily advice is being ignored - and brazenly so - by more people every day. There is a very clear sense of millions now prioritising their own opinion/advice over Government/scientific advice and, in essence, doing their own thing
That's a very worrying background for tackling a crisis and virus which is still shrouded in the unknown and unprecedented.