A leading Liverpool academic has called for the city to be confident, optimistic and realistic as it looks ahead to life after lockdown.
Professor Michael Parkinson, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement at the University of Liverpool, was speaking on Liverpool City Council’s Mersey Waves podcast, talking about how Covid-19 will change the city for residents, businesses and visitors.
The academic, who is also a critically acclaimed author renowned for charting the city’s history over the past 30 years, talked frankly, comparing the current health crisis to the “Spanish flu, 9/11 and austerity all rolled in to one.”
However, although Michael emphasised the cataclysmic impact of coronavirus, both in regards to health and the economy, he had a positive message for listeners.
There is a resilience to the scousers which we can draw upon to get through the crisis and will hold us in good stead when we are through it.
Professor Michael Parkinson
He said: “This city is better placed to face this challenge than many others cities, as frankly we have had lots of hard knocks in the past and we’ve come through them. There is a resilience to the scousers which we can draw upon to get through the crisis and will hold us in good stead when we are through it.”
Reflecting on the future for certain sectors, Michael states that residential, leisure, retail and tourism will take a hit and will be different in the future, but there are new, promising sectors that the city will excel in. “We are now global leaders in research in to infectious diseases, so Liverpool is leading the way in some of the most important research areas.”
In terms of timescales, if he was forced to predict what will happen, he would suggest that lockdown would end as we head into autumn, and it would be around 18 months before we are back to a “new normality” where social distancing will become a part of life.
Giving hope in these uncertain times, Michael says: “I’m optimistic, I’m confident. This is not a small town and we are very good at coping with adversity. Scousers will rally to the cause.”
Listen to the full podcast where the professor will also talk about the return of football matches, what positives there will be after the pandemic and how Liverpool is the ultimate comeback kid.