100% face masks in English shops on Friday? They’re having a laugh…..

Embed from Getty Images

We’re sailing breezily towards Friday when, suddenly, everybody is meant to be wearing face masks in shops.

It’s not going to happen.

I see hardly any face masks being worn out at the moment.

To expect a sudden pivot on Friday is just ridiculous.

The police aren’t going to enforce the rule to any significant extent.

Shops will be very reluctant to challenge people not wearing masks.

I hear reports that retailers have told staff not to issue such challenges.

So I don’t see what is going to happen to make the rule effective on Friday.

Perhaps if the rule had been in place from day one of the lockdown then there might be a chance of it being effective.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Russell Simpson 22nd Jul '20 - 3:11pm

    It’s not even a mask. Covering. Govt could have said “compulsory from tomorrow” as anyone can find a face covering. Some things like business opening required forward notice. Wearing a face mask could and should have been immediate.

  • I hope you are wrong Paul.

    I’m in Scotland, and hardly anyone was wearing a face mask a week or before they became mandatory, and there was only a slight increase in the days leading up to it. Yet since it’s become the rule, almost everyone is wearing them. I’ve spotted a few people without one, or just a very half hearted scarf that struggles to reach their chin, and then the inevitable few who don’t seem to care that they’re nose is sticking out.

    I’m also concerned that only some shop staff seem to wear them. The ones at tills seem to think that the perspex screen is enough, which is fine while you pay for shopping, but they are definitely less than 2m away from you while you are packing your bags!

    Some people might not care, and take advantage of shop staff not challenging them, but might be more concerned about being spotted by neighbours without one. I’d like to see shop staff ‘remind’ shoppers on the way in about the mask rule, or at least remind those wearing one incorrectly to pull it up etc. But so long as most people are wearing one, then it makes us all safer and others will soon realise it’s the correct thing to do.

    I am concerned that people on restricted budgets will struggle, and I’d have liked to have seen more effort put into providing something for those on lower incomes, but as those are also the ones who are most reliant on public transport, there’s a fair chance they invested in one several weeks ago.

    I’ve been amazed how quickly it takes to get used to wearing a mask. Remembering always to take it out with you could take longer. At least when you forget your shopping bags, you have the option of buying more at the supermarket, which helps you to remember next time.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 22nd Jul '20 - 3:38pm

    Paul, I think most people will start wearing a mask (or face covering) on Friday, when it becomes compulsory. That doesn’t mean they will be happy about doing so.
    In my area, very few people wore masks on public transport, until it actually became compulsory. Then overnight, when it did become compulsory, almost everyone was wearing one, apart from a small number of people who may well have medical reasons not to do so.
    Most people do keep to the rules. But I think most people have decided to wait until Friday to wear masks in shops because they don’t like the idea, and don’t see why they should do so before it is necessary, ie when it it compulsory. They are not at all convinced that it is necessary for health reasons. This is not surprising, considering that when infection rates were at their highest, we were being told that there was little benefit in wearing a mask, and that indeed it could do more harm than good. We were told this, not only by politicians, but by some of the experts who appeared in the Coronavirus briefings. So it is not surprising that people are unconvinced when we are suddenly told we must wear a mask, now that the infection rates are much lower.
    By the way, I was wearing a mask on public transport before it became compulsory, and I sometimes wear one in shops, and have done for some time. But I don’t really think it should be made compulsory now, although there might have been a case for it when infection rates were higher.

  • But this this is the logic of the UK lockdown, a scared curtain twitching population shuffling around the ugly social wreckage in Boris Johnson’s glorified police state. What else did you expect?

  • Fiona’s correct. I’m in Scotland too and can report a strong sense of doing the right thing in my area .As is often the case with the Johnson shambles (sorry, I meant government) too little too late.

  • Innocent Bystander 22nd Jul '20 - 4:40pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the motive was to revitalise town centres on the concept that shoppers will all feel safer so they will go out and begin spending again.
    Bizarre logic from inside a leadership completely lost in their own group think.
    I was in Waitrose and almost everyone was already wearing one. I then went to B&M Bargains where nobody was.
    (It’s a class thing).

  • Michael Berridge 22nd Jul '20 - 4:44pm

    Funny thing, mask-wearing. Here in Berlin, medical opinion was divided on “everyday” face coverings, because they might give a false sense of security (they do not protect the wearer) and might not even protect others (if they were no longer hygienic). The city applied more and more pressure (at first they were strongly recommended in public transport and shops, then they were a requirement but there was no penalty, then a 50-euro fine was imposed) and now I see hardly anybody not covering mouth (and usually nose) in closed areas … but I keep my 1.5 m distance whenever I can.

  • No new cases in this District for a week. Going to the Supermarkets, Bank etc and walking through the Town Centre there do seem to be more wearing masks. I suspect co-operation on Friday will be about 50%, then it will increase as more see others wearing them. What puzzles me is why Shop Workers are not having to wear them, in many Supermarkets the success of the Home Delivery System appears to meant for several hours of each day there are more staff dashing about getting order than normal customers!

  • I’m sure not everyone will wear masks in shops on Friday but I think they should. They are low cost, often available free, and not a great hardship to wear. The press has not been very helpful, claiming that wearing masks will deter shoppers, frighten people, and other nonsense.

    Masks probably protect others from the user more than the other way round but any means of reducing infection is a good thing. It is such a minor step why would anyone not wear a mask? There are always some who will have a problem with them but even wrapping a scarf around is better than nothing.

    The virus is carried in airborne aerosol droplets, so in a closed space any infection will build up. Distancing might work for the larger, heavier droplets that fall due to gravity but the tiny droplets can remain dispersed in the air long after whoever exhaled them has moved elsewhere.

  • John Marriott 22nd Jul '20 - 6:50pm

    My wife and I have been wearing a mask in shops for several weeks now. Not the most comfortable thing to wear with glasses but a small price to pay in my opinion. If there is no physical impairment that prevents you wearing one then you deserve to be fined. I do feel sorry for people who need to lip read; but needs must. So, come on, stop inventing excuses and do as you are told!

  • @Catherine – You are right that there have been lots of mixed messages, even from the experts. I’m not an expert but it is fairly obvious that when handling the mask, don’t contaminate the inside if your hands are not clean and don’t contaminate your hands by touching the outside during or after use. Wash your hands afterwards as a precaution.

    There is little point in wearing it if the air is not being filtered by it, as happens if your nose is sticking out! Also, it is worth wearing a decent mask. Again, I am not an expert but I use KN95. That is not a recommendation but it looks like a reasonable spec. I have no idea about home made or fashion masks.

    Having said all of that, it is all common sense. Keep away from crowded indoor places and if you must go in, wearing a mask or breathing through layers of material is better than nothing – for you and others.

  • Innocent Bystander 22nd Jul '20 - 7:40pm

    My way of avoiding having to wear a mask will be to stay away from the town centre and rely even more on Amazon. Like Catherine, I can remember the “mixed messages” which is a polite term for “science made up on the spot”.
    The only statistic I have followed is excess deaths as reported by the ONS. Today they report that this is the fourth consecutive week wherein deaths have been fewer than the 5 year average. An odd background to lay even more impositions on a population that is showing that they are angry and fed up already.
    And as to having a vaccination, I will no more have a Covid 19 vaccination than I will for Spanish Flu or the Black Death (for the same reason).

  • John Marriott 22nd Jul '20 - 8:02pm

    @Innocent Bystander
    That’s your choice. As my dad used to say; “It takes all sorts to make a world”. I just hope you don’t end up in intensive care; or are you one of those people, who think it’s just “a bit of ‘flu”? Who does YOUR grocery shopping?

  • I just wonder who is going to clear up the millions of snapped and discarded facemasks. They’re already littering the streets where I live. When it becomes compulsory there will be even more. I do hope the good people who support the social and economic “new reality” will volunteer their services. I know that at the moment they are bravely sat at home, heroically watching the telly and manning the nations kettles. But surely such a public spirited sense of duty and daring do could be enhanced. We could give them tin hats, special badges and whistles.

  • Innocent Bystander 22nd Jul '20 - 8:34pm

    No it is worse than seasonal flu as excess deaths are over 50,000 now (but from a population of 67 million mind) but no, I won’t end up in intensive care, nor will you, nor will well over 66 million of us, but I’ll take the risk.
    I can’t help a feeling that the prosperous retired are actually enjoying the excitement, the interest, the ‘Dunkirk’ spirit while the huge sacrifices that are being made are falling with massive disproportion on our young. Millions are losing their livelihoods at the worst stage in their lives while comfortable pensioners want every trace of risk to be eliminated.
    Of course all the deaths are tragic but so is the massive anxiety and despair of millions.

  • Innocent Bystander: The sheer arrogance of some people, don’t you agree?.

  • I personally don’t like the idea of being forced, by law, to wear a face covering – but on the other hand, I just think of all that money being wasted on creepy facial recognition technology.

  • Allan Brame 23rd Jul '20 - 1:10am

    I dislike shopping and do as little of it as I can.
    From Friday I will be doing even less

  • John Marriott 23rd Jul '20 - 7:32am

    Litter. A new reason not to wear masks? Tin hats, badges and whistles? You’ve forgotten the bells. I presume you’ll be refusing any vaccine that comes along as well. After all, we don’t want the likes of Bill Gates injecting us with nano chips to control us even more.
    @Innocent Bystander
    I’m sure that you must be a nice person. After all, you post on LDV. I just don’t have your certainty that I or my family will necessarily emerge unscathed from this current nightmare. Yes, we need to get our economy going sooner rather than later; but not at any price. Health has surely got to come before wealth. By the way, you failed to answer my question about who actually does your grocery shopping. Obviously, after what you wrote, it won’t be you.

  • John Marriot
    I will wear the mask to go into shops, but I will wait until a vaccine is thoroughly tested on the lockdown supporters who, presumably, will be first in line. What I won’t do is pretend to think it is necessary or agree with people who I think have wrecked the country. As I say all the time, I stick to the rules not because I agree with them, but because I have suddenly found myself living in an alien land I don’t like populated by people I think are in the grip of damaging mass hysteria.

  • Innocent Bystander 23rd Jul '20 - 8:16am

    Hello John,
    I try and be nice but sometimes clear is better.
    Our children have offered many times to set us up for home delivery of groceries but
    I have refused because that service should be reserved for those who should, legitimately, be self isolating. The disease clearly targets the elderly or already very ill and I have always thought that the correct response to this was to set up strong and personalised protection mechanisms for them to be far more effective than the pretend lockdown we have suffered. The actual risk to the healthy young has always been tiny (but it is this generation who are now losing their jobs).
    I am not young but have kept calm and carried on shopping as I assessed the risk as low and I am going to have to die of something anyway, sooner or later. I will now wear a mask in the supermarket (but will just stay away from all other shops) because I obey the law.
    Those who have enthusiastically supported the lockdown must also take responsibility for its consequences, even when they have not lost a penny of their income themselves and, as they emerge and pick up the threads they proudly regale us with tales of how they learned how to Skype their grandchildren and used the lockdown to learn the banjo or crochet face masks for their street.
    Meanwhile, millions of others face years of sleepless nights and stomach knotting worry.

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Jul '20 - 8:50am

    @Innocent Bystander
    “The disease clearly targets the elderly or already very ill ”

    That seems to be what happened in the early days but recently there have been reports of younger people developing severe symptoms and even dying.

    e.g. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/05/health/young-people-dying-coronavirus-sanjay-gupta/index.html

    “She knew her husband was sick, but how was it possible that a young, healthy 30-year-old with no pre-existing conditions declined so swiftly?
    Ben Luderer’s story is one of many that have perplexed health officials around the globe. Why is it that some young people are getting sick and dying so abruptly? ”
    “We have known for some time that this new disease, Covid-19, was not only an older person’s disease. It has become clear that the young and healthy are by no means immune to this infection and could become sick enough to require hospitalization. ”

    I suggest it might be too early to make conclusions about the safety of younger people.

    And there seem to be plenty of reports of people of all ages suffering for weeks to months…

  • Nonconformistradical
    One or two cases are the exception not the rule. What you and the article you reference are doing is taking a rare enough case to be noteworthy and trying to use it as proof of a general threat. It’s like taking cases of footballers dying of heart attacks on the field as proof that exercise and heart problems are a threat to all young people. There are more cases of older people with pre-existing health conditions recovering from covid19 than there are young seemingly healthy people dying from it. We need to stop pretending this is the black death. Catastrophizing and hysteria have and will continue to wreak social damage.

  • Face masks, social distancing????

    I watched the news of Boris Johnson’s arrival in Scotland…’Selfies’, not a mask in sight,, no social distancing…It seems that there is no joined up thinking in the Johnson camp; if it is deemed compulsory to ‘mask-up’ in stores from tomorrow he, and his entourage might have thought ‘masks’ a good idea..

    Contrast that with Sturgeon’s interview. ‘Face mask’ and several metres separation…On top of ‘Brexit’ the perceived difference in the handling of this pandemic is a major boost to a second referendum…

  • suzanne fletcher 23rd Jul '20 - 10:17am

    nobody mentions having a little bag, preferably washable, to put your facemask in when you have used it. either between shops or on the way home.
    No point in putting something potentially infected in your bag along with other things, and it needs to be put in carefully.
    I read it will have to be washed at 60, and I do my washing at 30, so hope to make the 3 I have last a week and treat the towel wash to a 60 one. ( only just started going into places, and not many)

  • David Garlick 23rd Jul '20 - 10:52am

    I am sure that people who do not will be safe in the knowledge that any Virus that they spread will ‘not be their fault’ so all will be well.

  • Phil Beesley 23rd Jul '20 - 11:00am

    Andrew Toye: “but on the other hand, I just think of all that money being wasted on creepy facial recognition technology.”

    I’m not sure whether that is true. My understanding is that facial recognition largely relies on the upper features — brow line, eye spacing, ears etc — which aren’t easy to disguise with a beard, makeup or really drastic bone reconstruction. The technology is inaccurate at the moment but it will improve because the people who want it are willing to pay.

    Innocent Bystander: “The disease clearly targets the elderly or already very ill ”

    The virus can not target. It will attempt to infect any available host — something with the right body temperature — seemingly humans and other mammals. If it were to actually target vulnerable humans, its ability to propagate would be limited because they are most likely to die. They virus gets lucky when it infects a healthy person, more socially active, who can pass it on. Healthy people get unlucky if they are exposed to lots of infectious people — exposure on lots of occasions. That’s why there are outliers in particular occupations. They just get exposed too often.

    It’s very dangerous to assume that the threat to healthy, younger people will be the same if the incidence of Covid-19 in the general population were higher. And we have no idea about the long term consequences for those who fall ill short of requiring hospital care.

  • John Marriot – thanks to lobbying by Hearing UK someone with a person who relys on lip reading is exempt.

  • John Marriott 23rd Jul '20 - 2:25pm

    @Kay Kirkham
    Better still, why not wear a see through mask, examples of which are, I believe, available? My only real concern is that this dispensation could easily be abused. It reminds me of the comment British Lions and England lock, the late David Marques, made back in 1959 at the number of All Black forwards with ‘medical certificates’ that allowed them to wear the kind of upper body protection usually seen in the NFL. “We seem,” ‘Weggie’ Marques concluded, “to be playing teams of cripples”.

  • I haven’t been into a shop (apart from a pharmacy, where everyone was wearing one) for four months. And I am not going into any indoor public space unless everyone is wearing a mask. It’s as simple as that. By refusing to wear one you are condemning millions of people to permanent lockdown. But we’re invisible and expendable, right? – so maybe it doesn’t matter.

  • Innocent Bystander 23rd Jul '20 - 6:54pm

    How about 8:00 am to 10:00 am mandatory masks and after, voluntary?

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Jul '20 - 7:26pm

    @Innocent Bystander
    “How about 8:00 am to 10:00 am mandatory masks and after, voluntary?”

    Why should Mary be expected to shop at a specific time of the day just to allow some selfish people to avoid wearing a mask? Why is wearing a mask such a big deal?

  • Innocent Bystander 23rd Jul '20 - 7:57pm

    Fairness to everyone. Why is fairness selfish?

  • Nonconformistradical 23rd Jul '20 - 8:21pm

    @Innocent Bystander
    What is unfair about asking you to wear a face mask in a shop? Do you not care about protecting others from this virus – which you might conceivably and unknowingly be carrying (asymptomatic) and risking passing on?

  • John Marriott 23rd Jul '20 - 8:29pm

    It’s ‘Innocent Bystander’ versus ‘Nonconformistradical’. The battle of the ‘Unknown’s’ about the unknown?

  • Innocent Bystander 23rd Jul '20 - 8:31pm

    Just split up the day then. A period for those who agree with you and another for those who don’t.
    You do accept that others are allowed to disagree with you, don’t you?

  • Noncomformistradical
    It’s not about saving lives. It’s about giving in to a society wrecking political fad. That’s all that is going on here. Until we admit it the destruction will continue.

  • I went to Sainsbury’s this morning (regular Friday activity) wearing a mask for the first time. Everyone there was wearing a mask (definitely a first). But my observation from that small sample and previous weeks’ shopping experience is that – for people who shop in that Sainsbury’s at about 10.30am on a Friday morning – you can have mask-wearing or social distancing, but not both at the same time.

    Would be interested to know if there is further evidence to support this!

  • Masks probably don’t prevent the spread of COVID.

    The main purpose of forcing people to where them is social psychology I.e to remove the fear of opening up again that the government did so much to ramp up.

    In that sense it is a very effective policy. They don’t feel that they can admit that the risks of COVID were exaggerated so they need a pretext to go back to normal and that pretext is “it will be ok if you wear a mask”. That way the narrative is sustained.

  • I went shopping this morning. Everyone I saw inside shops was wearing a mask. Surprisingly, most of the people I saw on the streets in the open air, were also wearing masks. Perhaps they decided not to bother removing and replacing the masks because at the end of the day, wearing a mask is not a big deal.

    Why are people making such a big fuss about it?

  • Paul, I’m going to put you on the spot.

    It’s your post. You thought that getting a majority of people to wear a mask was a dead duck and that was the basis of your article. Were you right or wrong?

    To be fair, perhaps you wish to wait to see some official data. There are so many people incensed about this non event that I’m sure twits are in meltdown or whatever they do, facebook is in conflagration and sensible people have forgotten about it.

    I’m sure you can find the appropriate way to inform us of your jubilation or embarrassment without resorting to cheating.

  • For the duration of the crisis all ministers should take a deep wage cut and be required to wear a plain brown paper bag over their heads during public engagements. This would bring home the level of damage to society they are in charge of and render them as anonymous as the people they are supposed to represent. We do not need “stars” in government.

  • David Sheppard 25th Jul '20 - 9:19am

    I hate being told to wear a face mask that does nothing good and worst of all is creating more waste that is going to end up in the sea.Its utter madness and needless.

  • John Marriott 25th Jul '20 - 5:13pm

    “Masks probably don’t prevent the spread of COVID”. But what if they do? I prefer what ‘Peter’ said. What’s the big deal?
    “It’s not about saving lives. It’s about giving in to a society wrecking fad”. That hole is getting deeper every time you press ‘Send’.

  • John Marriott.
    I don’t think so. But then again I don’t have the luxury of being retired and I actually liked the country before the “New Normal”. I really resent it and will not pretend otherwise. I thing you chaps are digging deeper holes than I am.

  • John Marriott 25th Jul '20 - 7:24pm

    Yes, I’m retired. Is that a crime? Hopefully you will get there in the end. The problem is that I’ve not long to go. But I’d like a few more years so I’m prepared to do as I am told, because wearing a mask won’t really do me any harm and indeed might do me and the rest of my fellow citizens some good. I think that’s all I have to say on the subject……honestly.

  • John Marriott
    No it’s not a crime. I just don’t like being made poorer and having all the things I like destroyed. As I’ve said before I comply with the “health measures”, but I will not pretend I agree with them or that it is through anything other than duress.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Jul '20 - 10:31am

    Glenn, I am with you. I deeply resent being told to wear a mask, which has such dubious effectiveness. It prevents seeing people’s smiles, and we normally smile at people we encounter on the street in Cockermouth. So far from encouraging me to shop, I am now more disinclined to go out into usually enjoyable town centres, forever being reminded of the virus. The last straw for me is today reading my vicar’s letter in email. I had already stopped going to church services because we aren’t allowed to sing any more. Now I read that we are recommended to wear masks in the services! Well, goodbye churches, goodbye big stores. I’ll stay at home mostly, and just welcome in like-minded friends, and visit them. Been enjoyable though to see and hear Ed and Layla several times on line, bless them both.

  • Can I say two things
    Just gor back from Asda. This a is a middle of the road sort of town: I was amazed to see 80%, no probably 90%+ of us were wearing masks. Glenn and Katherine take note, please come to your senses, all you do is spread your germs. Sometime the need to think of others is what counts and as good Liberal Democrats I would have thought that was paramount.i

  • Peter Martin 26th Jul '20 - 11:35am

    @ Katharine,

    I agree with ‘theakes.’ Unlike in the EU countries, you don’t have to wear a mask on the streets at the moment! Just in shops, some workplaces and on public transport.

    Masks are more effective in preventing transmission from an infected person but there is some benefit the other way too. The figures I’ve seen are 80% to 20%. So you aren’t being entirely selfless in wearing a mask. We should have all been doing it months ago! If we can keep the transmission of the virus to a minimum this summer we’ll be better placed to survive the Winter without further large outbreaks and lockdowns.

    So don’t forget that 20%! The Lib Dems can’t afford to lose their more enlightened left wing members!

  • Well I don’t like having to wear a face mask either.

    And, as someone who has had to shield since March – can now go out again and had a hair cut last Friday – it is not the aesthetic highlight of my life to wear a face mask looking like the Lone Ranger and his politically incorrect sidekick Tonto. Furthermore, I can certainly understand why some people in England don’t like being told what to do by such an ill disciplined egocentric character as Johnson A.d-P.B.

    Equally I’m old enough to remember the joy of the Blackout being lifted in 1945… BUT …. and it’s a very big BUT….I do accept that being part of a Civilised liberal society entails responsibilities and obligations as well as rights. I am no scientist but I am willing to accept the following :

    Oxford COVID-19 study: face masks and coverings work – act now
    Cloth face coverings, even homemade masks made of the correct material, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 – for the wearer and those around them – according to a new study from Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science.

    I am willing to accept a minor inconvenience and irritation as a price worth paying to contribute towards minimising the possible impact of what has been a terrible few months for so many …. especially the most vulnerable in society…… and which has so far killed over eight times as many people as the V1 and V2 rockets did in 1944/45 before that blackout was lifted.

  • PS Can’t say I’m especially enlightened, but Peter can count me into his 20%.

  • Phil Beesley 26th Jul '20 - 12:12pm

    The science about mask effectiveness is uncertain. Lab results about aerosol effects are unlikely to translate into the real world, and there is something of a coincidence about availability of consumer grade disposable masks and the UK government requirement for their use. But get over it. The inconvenience is trivial, although people should be asking about price gouging — disposable masks which cost 15-20 pence to manufacture retail at £6 for a pack of ten.

    Masks may eventually be determined to be part of ‘security theatre’ where actions are taken irrespective of whether they make a real difference. They are acts supposed to make the majority of people feel safer. Somebody associated with HM Gov sprayed disinfectant on the trunk road close to my house at the start of lockdown — What was the point? Do they think that people lick tarmac? But if a bit of theatre makes people more comfortable doing their jobs, we should wear masks.

  • Whilst we are talking about the Virus.
    Can I complement the Government or the individuals concerned who have organised the testing regime. My example, Essential Worker, went on Government web site Noon on Thursday. Answered all the questions, asked for an appointment between 14.00 and 14.30 the same day. All approved by 12.20. Wow. Went to the Testing Site 4 miles away, all a bit surreal, masks, coats, windows up messages by cards etc, had the Test, told get result tomorrow, wow it arrived by Text next morning at 06.30.
    My daughter and grandson had symptoms, went the same day, got their results 6.30 as well. Fortunately all negative, but Hey come on pats on the back to those who are responsible for it. Very good I say.

  • Phil Beesley
    The inconvenience might be trivial to you, but to me it is a symbol of a destructive dip into police state tactics and conformity. There is nothing trivial about their drive to social destruction. Let’s be honest this about people with lives that are barely any different in lockdown talking about the sacrifice everyone else should make so they feel a bit safer.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Jul '20 - 3:05pm

    “Let’s be honest this about people with lives that are barely any different in lockdown talking about the sacrifice everyone else should make so they feel a bit safer.”

    Can I be absolutely sure about this – are you saying that everyone should be free to wander round wherever they please, without taking any precautions,, even though they may unknowingly be carrying Covid-19 and in a position to infect others around them?

    Are you able to work – if so is your workplace safe?

  • Very unusual for me to agree with someone like Boris Johnson, but in the words of trhe American Conmmmander at Bastogne you are “N…”!

  • Nonconformistradical.
    I’m saying that they mostly appeal to people who don’t do much anyway and as is pretty obvious I’ve never supported the policies. Please show me evidence that countries that have not followed this political fad have worse results. I know people want to believe it’s all been worth it, but I see a lot of faith and no proof.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Jul '20 - 4:35pm

    I think we can all agree that, as with all these measures, if a preventative measure was needed it should have been brought in months ago. I suppose in this case the hesitation has been a good deal because the evidence of efficacy isn’t certain.

    Theakes, I don’t like your patronising tone – and in return may I point out that to write ‘come to your senses, all you do is spread your germs’ is nonsense, that you spell my name wrongly, and the word you thought you were using in your last paragraph is spelled correctly ‘compliment’ not ‘complement’. Glad that your testing went well, but I agree with Glenn that there has been unnecessary and unpleasant limitation of harmless freedoms in much that has been imposed on the populace, in spite of which we have a worse infection rate than most of Europe. And since most of us won’t be wearing masks made of ‘the ‘correct material’, David, whatever that is, isn’t there a danger of a false sense of security arising from just wearing any old mask or face covering?

    Cheered by just having made a visit to Keswick, the town centre thronged with hundreds of people enjoying themselves without noticeable social distancing, hardly any of them wearing face masks, and finding my favourite cafe remembered my usual order perfectly after all these weeks away. I only wore a face mask myself when buying a paper. There is hope yet for reasonable and sane behaviour spreading, Glenn!

  • @Glenn

    “Let’s be honest this about people with lives that are barely any different in lockdown talking about the sacrifice everyone else should make so they feel a bit safer”

    I have not posted in a while as I become so sick of the deniers and libertarians pretending to be liberals, puting their own selfish agenda above the needs of their fellow citizens and especially the vulnerable “those we are supposed to do our utomst to protect and feel inclusive”

    Glenn just when I thought your ramblings could not stoop any lower, you come out with a inconsiderate comment like that.

    I think the elderly, infirm and vulnerable lives are extremely different regardless of the amount of social activity “outside the home” they used to able to partake in before the pandemic. be that contact with friends, loved ones or even carers, a simplte touch of the hand, a warm embrace or a kiss on the cheek (All gone because of this pandemic)

    So dont you dare sit by your keyboard and talk utter tosh just because it makes you feel better because you are so hard done by, by being asked to make a few sacrifices for the greater good until we can come through these difficult times.

    It’s a good job I can not post what I want to say what with it being a Sunday and all

  • @Glenn

    “Let’s be honest this about people with lives that are barely any different in lockdown talking about the sacrifice everyone else should make so they feel a bit safer”

    I have not posted in a while as I become so sick of the deniers and libertarians pretending to be liberals, puting their own selfish agenda above the needs of their fellow citizens and especially the vulnerable “those we are supposed to do our utomst to protect and feel inclusive”

    Glenn just when I thought your ramblings could not stoop any lower, you come out with a inconsiderate comment like that.

    I think the elderly, infirm and vulnerable lives are extremely different regardless of the amount of social activity “outside the home” they used to able to partake in before the pandemic. be that contact with friends, loved ones or even carers, a simplte touch of the hand, a warm embrace or a kiss on the cheek (All gone because of this pandemic)

    So dont you dare sit by your keyboard and talk utter tosh just because it makes you feel better because you are so hard done by, by being asked to make a few sacrifices for the greater good until we can come through these difficult times.

  • @John Marriott – It might work but fining people because they failed to do something that probably doesn’t work just strikes me as a bit authoritarian that is all.

    @ all the people claiming anyone with whom they disagree is a libertarian- this is tedious so please stop

    “None shall be enslaved by poverty ignorance or conformity”

    Well a lot of people here seem to love conformity.

  • @Matt one of the arguments is that masks create a false feeling of safety and lead to people ignoring the other measures that are recommended. Nothing to do with selfish libertarianism.

  • Matt
    I was talking about people wrecking public transport they don’t use, the arts they’re not involved or interested in, shops they don’t frequent, events the wouldn’t attend under any circumstance and talking about sacrifice they expect others to make. And as I will keep pointing out with not a shred of evidence that it works. I don’t think it’s about protecting the vulnerable. I thinks it’s about people laying down the law on things they’ve never really liked and don’t really want to return. In short I think a lot of it is petty rule making and a desire for control posing as a public good.

  • @ Katharine, you and I usually agree on things, but I’m afraid we differ strongly on this.

    Face masks became compulsory in shops in Scotland on 10 July and our respected Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director of Healthcare Quality and Strategy, has stated that the science has changed in line with the Oxford Covid-19 working group. I wear a face mask in shops to protect others not for myself.

    You say, “isn’t there a danger of a false sense of security arising from just wearing any old mask or face covering ?”. It’s not about a sense of security, Katharine, it’s about not spreading the virus to other people.

    Others must decide whether one single Covid death in Scotland in the last sixteen days is a coincidence….. but certainly the view from here is that with Johnson A.deP.B. it’s always too little too late… when he bothers to turn up that is….. although Dominic C. did manage to whizz him in and out of Orkney in a few minutes and to adopt an heroic Churchillian pose in front of a preserved Spitfire at Lossiemouth on Thursday.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Jul '20 - 9:01pm

    I was thinking of the possibility of people neglecting social distancing, which I believe is still expected of us, by assuming their mask to be sufficient protection for both themselves and those they are in contact with, David, when there is the likelihood of few people having access to the scientists’ optimal protective masks. Always sorry to differ from you, but I don’t think you understood me there. Do keep well and safe.

  • “Do keep well and safe”. And to you too, good friend.

  • If you’re past your mid 40s- and I suspect that quite a few comment contributors to this are- don’t believe for a minute that Covid19 can’t get you seriously ill, just because you’re now fit and healthy. The chances of being seriously affected, towards actually dying, start to progressively ramp up past the early 40s.
    A 43yo will have a greater chance of being affected than someone in their 30s or younger. My understanding is that for every 7 years of age beyond 40, the level of the body’s immunity halves.
    The virus isn’t just a threat for octogenarians in care homes. You might not know anyone who’s had it, especially if living in a more sparsely populated area or away from hubs where people visit, or work amongt many like hospitals.
    But once you’re over 40, you’re game, increasingly a prime target for a serious bout-
    attack of the lungs, reducing your ability to breath- which is never a good place to be.

    Taking actions that reduce chances in breathing in a large viral load into your lungs, or inadvertently being an unaware ‘silent’ carrier passing to someone who will be affected- is plain, simple social common sense. Understanding of the Virus is evolving, and in case some want to stay loyal to earlier dismissal of masks haven’t noticed, lockdown and more social distancing was then in place- and the benefit of reducing inhalation risk as many return to closer proximetry is now understood to be real.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Jul '20 - 12:31am

    Terrific from Matt, good you are here , no libertarian dominance , present, some of us Liberals, social democrats, holding our own, dear chum!

    David vs Katharine is not a fight of Liberal against libertarian, but, here, as ever two good people, but I can agree with David totally on this, cannot fathom the stance of Katharine at all!

    We are being asked to wear a bit of cloth! I suffer from skin problems, cannot wear other than cotton, so nothing especially on my face, most things, even harsh cotton, bring me issues, reaction. How many here have reasons other than pure dislike of doing what is needed? Why does every country think we carry umbrellas, when in Winter I am often the only one seen with an umbrella, people in t shirts, drenched, spreading flu?

    Glenn, you think it is Liberal, to avoid personal , social responsibility?

    It is , sorry, amico, Marco, libertarian self indulgence bordering on complete irresponsibility.

    If it were Liberalism, I would call myself something else, Glenn, read the Harm principle, the Greatest Happiness principle, of Mill, society has the right to limit liberty if it causes ….harm…the desire for happiness is …pleasure…but not…..pain!

    A virus is harm…pain!

  • Peter Martin 27th Jul '20 - 7:53am

    Going back to the original point in the OP which was:

    “100% face masks in English shops on Friday? They’re having a laugh…..”

    For a start, no-one has ever said there would be a 100% compliance. I can’t think of a single law that is obeyed all of the time by all of the people.

    But from my own observation we’re pretty close to full compliance.

    “To expect a sudden pivot on Friday is just ridiculous.”

    Again, only from my own observations, “a sudden pivot” is exactly what we got. The were lots of people not wearing masks on Thursday but that all changed on Friday with hardly anyone not wearing one.

  • No Lorenzo
    I think it is illiberal to turn the country into a police state, for government to tel be people where to stand, how to dress, who they can see and to walk around like a bunch of pod pointing and yelling at the non pod people, I especially believe this when there is not a shred of evidence that it has worked. I think it is a damaging political and social fad driven by a desire for control and is amongst the biggest self inflicted disasters in history. It has wrecked almost everything about the country I like and I will not pretend to support it or that I don’t think less of people who do . You do not have a monopoly on moral indignation or what constitutes harm. Nothing is going to change my mind on that.

  • In Tesco this morning, very large store, one of their biggest variety. Nearly every customer, and there wereplenty for the time of the morning, masked up and obviously the company has changed its stance as well, half, maybe 70% of the staff fully masked as well! Think you folk who seemingly, like to always show your face, are on a loser here, people have got the message the mask is to catch your germs so they do not go to others, so all masked up, chances of it spreading a down, down, down.
    Boris seems to have a word for you folk! Come on, put those masks on and stop wittering.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Jul '20 - 12:24pm


    My father lived under the Duce in Italy. My mother in law lived under Nazi occupation and Communism as a youth in Poland.

    You think this totalitarian! And you and some wonder , as to the reason we who are Liberal think you are libertarian and your view irresponsible?

    You are asked to wear cloth in a shop. Not one race or ethnic group. No camps. Nor violence. Everyone. Together. As responsible people caring about one another.

    “All for one and one for all,” was the cry of the musketeers, not the fascists, or c communists!!

  • https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8563941/Wearing-facemask-does-not-instil-false-sense-security-against-coronavirus.html

    “The World Health Organization warned in April that masks may make people think they didn’t need to wash their hands as much or stick to other disease-fighting measures.
    However, researchers led by University of Cambridge have found no evidence this ‘risk compensation’ behaviour occurs.
    They looked at evidence from 22 studies on wearing masks to control the spread of respiratory viruses.
    In some cases, groups allocated to wear masks washed their hands more often than those who did not.”

  • Lorenzo
    My ancestry is Jewish. I don’t care what you think of me. I think if you are willing to condone ordering others what wear, where to stand, when they can hug a relative, bans on dancing, bans on singing in churches, dictate how many people you can meet and want every one to learn to love it, then whatever your intentions are, I don’t see any good coming from it. As I’ve said multiple times I am not going to change my mind.

  • I’m not feeling oppressed. The country, the world, has been overtaken by a disasterous pandemic which may well kill millions before it’s done. Least we can do is pull together, show solidarity, wear the mask and socially distance if that is what the situation call for. I can be as contrary as the next person (as some here will conform) but this is not the time to argue the toss. And it’s good to see that in my neck of the woods just about everybody is doing as asked. We can have the discussion about which measure were efficacious and which a waste of time when this whole thing is over. Good luck to you all, masked or not !

  • Why do people keep saying it’s going to kill millions in order to spread panic and fear? It has turned out be milder than predicted a bit worse than seasonal flu but not by many orders of magnitude. Most people with health conditions are probably not as vulnerable to it as first thought.

    “Taking actions that reduce chances in breathing in a large viral load into your lungs, or inadvertently being an unaware ‘silent’ carrier passing to someone who will be affected- is plain, simple social common sense. “

    This is what irritates me – advocates of masks are following their own gut instinct rather then science. They had nothing to say when masks weren’t recommended but now they are they have seized on it to pretend they were recommended all along.

    And btw you can find a Daily Mail article to support almost any proposition you want.

  • @Marco.
    Well I said it’s going to kill millions across the world because I did a little research and the official stats say the global death toll is now 654,181. So, I figured that the chances of it breaking 1 million are pretty high. Just facts. Not scare mongering, just horrible, inconvenient facts. And btw, I can honestly say I have never bought I copy of the Daily Mail, so you have the advantage over me there.

  • Malcolm Todd 27th Jul '20 - 8:31pm

    Marco 27th Jul ’20 – 7:27pm
    “Why do people keep saying it’s going to kill millions …?”

    Perhaps because it’s already killed 650,000 worldwide and the death rate continues to increase?

  • Its largely on the way out for the moment and long past the peak. You would need to have the same another 400k in a second wave just to break 1 million let alone millions plural. And thats assuming that these are all genuinely caused by Covid rather than another underlying condition.

  • @Marco

    “Its largely on the way out for the moment”
    You should get a job as Trumps Speech writer, you would fit in well 😉

  • If a Brexiteer says: “Net immigration to the UK going to be in the millions in a year or two”

    “How do you know”

    “Duh look it up Remoaner it’s already at 270k”

    Are they thinking rationally?

  • @ Marco “Its largely on the way out for the moment and long past the peak”.

    As professor Jason Leitch once said, I’m not sure where your Masters in Public Health came from, Marco….. and maybe it might be a tad inconvenient just now to plan a holiday in Spain, the USA, Brazil or India etc.,….. and please don’t give it to your cat…

  • The predictions were for 100, 000 in Sweden by August, actual number 5700. See also death rates for Japan, Belarus and other countries that have not followed the UK path to destruction. There models were wildly alarmist, wrong at every step of the way and the fear pushers of our press are now reduced to counting cats. At this point it’s not even really about the pretence of saving lives, it’s about a desperate attempt to avoid admitting the damage has been pointless. The Beloved Leader, having all but exhausted one political fad, has decided the next one will be health bikes, probably because people will told to get on them to find a job and public transport has been wrecked.

  • Glenn

    The Uk figure is awful and that is with lock-down and social distancing measures and mitigations that were put in place, without those measures the figures would be even worse and yet people like you still harp on about the measures being an assault on your civil liberties.
    You only have to look at the united states to see how bad things can get when to much of the population is in denial and behaving irresponsibity.

    Quite frankly I am getting bored with hearing the rants and complaints from people like yourself, I don’t empathise with you as you appear to have little empathy for the elderly and clinically vulnerable at risk who have just as much right to live in a world that can be made as “safe as possible” during these pressing times which could be made possible should we all play our part and accept a few sacrifices and changes to our way of life until a more permanant safer solution could be found.

    Nearly 50% of NHS staff have reported mental health problems through dealing with the first wave of covid, christ knows how they are going to cope with wave 2 and 3.
    Without the NHS staff to function, you have no precious economy or a functioning society.
    Your opinion is not going to change, I think we all got that weeks ago, so why not just get on with what your doing or not doing and let everybody else get on with supporting with another through this horrid time, im sure were all tired of your bleating hard done by rants

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Jul '20 - 12:51am


    I understand that response on your ancestry. I respect why you might add this in reaction to my explanation of what tyranny really looks like. You need really not worry about my view of you, as a person you are not my enemy, nor as a colleague here. Your opinion you are strong in expression of . I see it this way, none of this would feel like lockdown or top down, if we all supported it! It is because those with the views you express do so with such over the top analogy we are accused of advocating tyranny?! I am advocating we social distance, meet online, wear a bit of cloth and close the pubs again for a few months! Hardly even a hint of Cromwell in me, definitely on the liberal wing of the Kings men, Cavalier , but never cavalier!!!!

  • Peter Watson 28th Jul '20 - 8:58am

    @Chris Cory “I said it’s going to kill millions across the world because I did a little research and the official stats say the global death toll is now 654,181. So, I figured that the chances of it breaking 1 million are pretty high.”
    But “it’s going to kill millions” and “I figured that the chances of it breaking 1 million are pretty high” are very different things.

    @Malcolm Todd “Perhaps because it’s already killed 650,000 worldwide and the death rate continues to increase?”
    Similarly, what is the basis for extrapolating from 650000 to millions. And is the “death rate” increasing, suggesting an acceleration in the number of deaths, or do you mean the death toll?

    “Millions” is quite an emotive and imprecise term. I saw that one model predicted 1.9 million deaths. Technically that is probably “millions”, but a phrase like “millions of deaths” evokes even greater numbers.

    I don’t particularly agree with Marco and Glenn but I do sympathise with the position they are taking. Generally, I think people on both sides of this debate want the “greater good”, but it’s such a complicated issue with so many factors and competing priorities that it is very difficult to see what that “greater good” really is, especially when it is a matter of life and death. The social, economic, and perhaps even environmental, consequences of this catastrophe will inevitably lead to deaths, perhaps more or perhaps fewer than are directly due to contacting covid, and I don’t think it’s easy to see the best way to minimise that. I don’t think it helps the debate when language on both sides gets too imprecise and emotive or claims become inflated. We saw that in the Brexit debate and look where that got us!

  • Peter Martin 28th Jul '20 - 11:48am

    There’s been various suggestions along the lines that the Swedish experience shows that lockdowns don’t have any significant effect by making a direct comparison with the UK’s. But Sweden has a much lower population density than the UK, and the average occupancy level per household is much lower. The Swedes have a natural tendency to be socially distanced from each other. It takes over 5 hours hours to drive from Stockholm (pop 980,000) to Gothenburg.(500,000)

    The only realistic comparision has to be with other similar low population density countries such as Finland, Norway, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand which did have lockdowns.

    As the graph on the linked article below shows, the comparison is not good. It says:

    “Today, the Swedes have double the number of confirmed cases as Denmark, Norway and Finland combined.”

    The Swedes can possibly get away with having a relatively relaxed policy. It doesn’t follow that we, here in the UK can, too.


  • Covid-19 is worldwide and unless you are living on a small Pacific island you need to be concerned about it.
    In East Asia wearing a face-covering seems to have helped limit the spread. I won’t go out without one. Covid is still spreading in many countries and there are threats of second and third waves.

  • Matt – it is simply wrong to accuse people who question lockdowns and enforced mask wearing of having “ little empathy for the elderly and clinically vulnerable at risk“. People who questioned the lockdown were saying that it should be possible to shield the vulnerable without the entire population needing to be quarantined. We could have done what Sweden did and focus on measures likely to have the biggest effect eg ban very large gatherings but not draconian measures like banning people from sitting down in a park.

    Furthermore the original purpose of the lockdown that everyone seems to have forgotten was that annoying saying of “flattening the curve” ie to spread out infections to avoid the health service being overwhelmed. Therefore the only lives the lockdown was designed to save were theoretical lives that could have been lost due to hospitals being overwhelmed. As there was in the end plenty of spare capacity it is possible that this figure is 0.

    Meanwhile the lockdown policies that Matt and others advocated for will have deepened the mental health crisis causing lives to be lost as well as the very negative public health effect of rising unemployment. Is Matt and others indifferent to this misery? I suspect not but it is more the case that you struggle to comprehend trade offs, side effects and unintended consequences.

  • Peter Martin – The population density of Sweden is irrelevant. The Stockholm metropolitan area is densely populated and more comparable to many large European cities whilst many Swedish regions had a much lower infection rate which was more comparable to Norway and Denmark.

  • @Marco

    ” People who questioned the lockdown were saying that it should be possible to shield the vulnerable without the entire population needing to be quarantined.”

    Since you have all the answers Marco.
    Please tell us how you shield the vulnerable for long periods of time 12-18 months maybe without confing them to their homes entirely for the entire period or only allowing them to shop for 1 hour a day and denying them the opportunity to spend time with loved ones?
    You tell me how it is done without distributing the pain and suffering disporoportinatly upon the most vulnerable people in society.

    And Marco, you barking at the wrong person with you accusations about mental health, most people who know me from these forums know I sufferer from mental health disabilities.
    And as for mental health, as I mentioned in a previous comment, almost 50 of NHS staff are reporting mental health difficulties in dealing with Covid. That has been the affect of the first wave covid, its frightening to think what a 2nd and 3rd spike will do to them and as I keep reminding people, without a functioning NHS, you have no economy, or are you prepared to “trade off” the health of front line NHS and care staff??????

  • The first thing our and many other governments did in the early days of the panic was transfer as many vulnerable people from hospitals to care homes as possible. They did not do this because care homes are better at delivering treatment than hospitals. They did it to free up wards to treat an expected massive influx of otherwise healthy patients who would require priority care. They built Nightingale Hospitals for the same reason. The vulnerable were actually deprioritised, hence they were moved from hospitals to care homes with lower levels of medical expertise, lower levels of training and lower levels of funding. This is because the models were suggesting something much more dangerous to the general population than it has turned out to be. The result is that we have wrecked centuries of social trust and turned large numbers of people into irrational germophobes, who will not be shaken from their belief that their fellow men and women are disgusting disease ridden threats to their existence. It is in fact driven by lack of empathy and the horror of human contact. There is nothing good about any of it and it has nothing to do with protecting the vulnerable. People are compliant because they are scared and what they are scared of is other people. The reckoning for this mess will come when the furloughs stop, public transport is massively down scaled to reflect drastically reduced usage, when service industries are going bust and all with not a shred of evidence that it has saved lives.

  • Some facts rather than opinions ….

    Cumulative number of coronavirus deaths in the Nordics 2020
    Published by F. Norrestad, Jul 27, 2020

    The highest number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in the Nordic countries as of July 27, 2020 was in Sweden, where the number amounted to 5,700. Denmark followed with 613 corona-related deaths, Finland with 329, and Norway with 255. Sweden was also the Nordic country with the highest number of people confirmed infected with the coronavirus, reaching a total of 79,395 cases as of July 27, 2020.

    END OF

    King Canute… King of Denmark, England and Norway…tried to point out the obvious, to his courtiers, Marco & Glenn. He found it a bit tiresome…. and very occasionally, when my kids were about two and a half, I remember having a similar exchange of opinions. Fortunately, my kids quickly grew out of it, and if we have a disagreement nowadays (such as the general credibility and competence of the Liberal Democrats) it’s based on evidence.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jul '20 - 2:57pm

    @ Marco,

    You are contradicting yourself with your own argument. Firstly, you say population density is irrelevant but then go on to say the infection rate is lower in the Swedish regions where the population density is lower. This is just what we’d expect – given that it’s not irrelevant!

    The population density of Stockholm (Sweden) is 4,800 per sq km. The population density of Copenhagen (Denmark) is 6,800 per sq km. Yet at the link I previously supplied shows that Sweden has twice the number Covid cases as Denmark, Finland, Norway combined and 5 times the number of deaths per million of population as Denmark and ten times the number of Norway and Finland.

  • @ Glenn Actually, Glenn, as a former Convenor of Social Care, and as someone with a 93 year old father-in-law in a care home, I happen to agree with you on the question of how badly people in care homes (and their carers) have been dealt with.

    But that’s down to Government and NHS management incompetence (something this Johnson government specialises in) rather than intrinsically from lock down in itself. Social Care is badly in need of reform and funding for the benefit of both users and the staff who care for them. A financially fragile for profit system based in offshore tax havens is no basis on which to run it….. although I don’t see much evidence that politicians (including Lib Dems) get this.

  • Glenn
    How many died of Spanish flu?

  • And where’s Grant Shapps (aka Michael Green, aka Sebastian Fox), rumoured to be Minister of Transport in charge of air corridors , when you don’t need him ?

  • David Raw, Peter Martin
    The predictions for Sweden were 100,000 deaths by Augusts. It has a lower death per million than Spain, Italy, Belgium and Britain. Then there are Belarus, Japan, Taiwan, and Iceland. You chaps just do not want admit you have supported wrecking the country, making millions unemployed, ruining public transports, mass house arrest, banning teenagers from dancing and the rest of it based on alarmist models, fear of other people, in some cases a desire for state control and panic.

  • Matt – Your arguments are confused and lacking coherence to say the least

    In terms of how to shield the vulnerable it surely doesn’t take much imagination – people who live with someone vulnerable needed to stay at home and their carers needed to have very regular testing and as Glenn said they should or have discharged so many hospital patients into care homes.

    No one has explained to me why a healthy young person who does not live with an elderly or vulnerable person could not have carried on with relative normality. If they caught the virus this would have helped to build immunity.

    Peter Martin – There is no contradiction in what I said. Put simply, Sweden’s overall population density is not relevant to the argument. Saying that Sweden’s relatively successful containment of the virus (which is the subtle undertone to what you said) is due to their low population density is intellectually mediocre.

  • Peter Martin 28th Jul '20 - 4:13pm

    @ Glenn,

    “The predictions for Sweden were 100,000 deaths by Augusts”

    Not by me. Do you have a reference?

    The question we have been discussing is whether lockdowns have been effective and justified. We can answer the first part of that question by comparing Sweden with similar and neighbouring countries. The answer to that is obviously yes -according to the available evidence.

    The second part is more difficult. You’re on surer ground there. Lockdowns don’t come without cost. We don’t close down the road networks to save lives lost in RTAs. Probably, for example, the number of cancer related deaths will rise because of them. So how do we strike a sensible balance?

  • Peter Martin 28th Jul '20 - 4:32pm

    @ Marco,

    Relatively successful to what? The only meaningful comparison is to neighbouring and similar countries. Relative to them, it wasn’t successful at all.

    But, as I was saying to Glenn, it could be argued that the loss of lives was a worthwhile price to pay for keeping the economy open. It all depends on what value you place on human life.

    The only experience we had to draw on at the start of the epidemic, was that of Spanish flu some 100 years ago. That was left to run its course unchecked. News of the virus was suppressed. There was no attempt to close cinemas, theatres, shops, pubs or workplaces. The death toll ended up being at least 200,000 possibly double that. Life was considered cheaper then,

    So we could have done the same. Rightly though, IMO, we didn’t.

  • “The only meaningful comparison is to neighbouring and similar countries”


    Why not compare them to Belgium, UK etc (more demographically similar)

    Sweden Denmark and Norway are not really comparable but the regions of Sweden that border those countries have similar death tolls to the regions they border, despite the lack of lockdown.

  • @Marco

    Nothing makes sense to you because quite frankly, you do not want it too.

    What you and your like is basically arguing for is that all vulnerable people to this virus should be shut away indoors indefinatly (if that is what they chose to do through fear) and allow everyone else to get on with their lives.
    Where is the fairness in that?

    Whereas what more liberal and humantarian thinking people are asking for is that we all accept some changes to our civil liberties for as short a time as possible in order to reduce the risk of transmission, get on top of this virus and allow us all to live as closer to normal life as possible during this crisis until a time that it has been beaten.

    But people like you refuse to see or acknowledge that, you put your own civil liberties and freedoms above anyone else despite the costs, which is in no way Liberal.

    I note your failure to comment on my points about 50% of NHS staff reporting suffering from mental health during this pandemic and the consequences of staff becoming burnt out.
    Your previous comments seemed to show you were concerned about peoples mental health and yet you appear to wish to overlook the fact that their is a huge mental health crisis looming within the NHS and frontline care staff in dealing with covid and the reprucussions that this could have for us all and the economy.
    You can not pick and chose when to use “mental health” as an argument to suit your point of view and need to look at the entire picture

  • John Marriott 28th Jul '20 - 6:07pm

    It’s nearly a week since Paul Walter started this ball rolling and here it is still going strong, aided and abetted by a relatively few people, who seem incapable of leaving it alone. Is there REALLY anything new to say on the matter? There’s an interesting article on Federalism in the UK that’s just appeared. Why not have a go at that, folks? Then there’s always the leadership contest and what to do about finding a Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London.

    Paul, what’s the record for ‘comments’? Usually when they approach 100 you shut the thread down. Have we reached that point in this current saga?

  • Tesco this afternoon, all the customers I saw in the 45 minutes there, were wearing masks! Unless this medium sized town is an aberration, the country appears to have acted very responsibly, ignoring those who for some strange reason, seem willing to infect other people.

  • David Allen 28th Jul '20 - 6:55pm


    “Why do people keep saying it’s going to kill millions in order to spread panic and fear? It has turned out be milder than predicted a bit worse than seasonal flu but not by many orders of magnitude. … Its largely on the way out for the moment and long past the peak. You would need to have the same another 400k in a second wave just to break 1 million let alone millions plural.”

    As I have argued elsewhere, “free speech” can be overrated. We don’t allow Holocaust deniers to make a ludicrous mockery of their mathematics, and we shouldn’t allow CoVID deniers that liberty either. Holocaust denial raises mortal threats to Jews today. CoVID denialism raises mortal threats to everyone today.

  • “What you and your like is basically arguing for is that all vulnerable people to this virus should be shut away indoors indefinatly”

    No I didn’t – never said any such thing. Why do you assume that is what I was saying?

    “you put your own civil liberties and freedoms above anyone else despite the costs,”

    No I don’t that is just an assumption you are making. My main concern is about people with insecure jobs and who are vulnerable to the effects of isolation.

    “I note your failure to comment on my points about 50% of NHS staff reporting suffering from mental health during this pandemic”

    Because you didn’t explain how it is directly relevant to the argument. I sympathise and admire healthcare workers but the potential strain on the NHS was exaggerated and the effect on mental health the same regardless. If you go to war then some soldiers will suffer PTSD but there is not much that can be done. Actually the tone of this debate reminds me of the Iraq war a bit ie anyone dissenting is disloyal to their country undermining our brave boys and girls etc. We know how that turned out.

  • David Allen’s comments show that it is him who abuses his free speech

  • Marco
    The reason they only want to compare them to close neighbouring countries is because they’ve latched onto it as way to attack Sweden. They do not compare Belgium or anywhere else to their close neighbours. Personally, I think the measures they support have wrecked the country and I find them virtually impossible to sympathise with.

  • @Marco

    “Because you didn’t explain how it is directly relevant to the argument. ”

    It is relevant because a lot of people are making the argument that it is all about the economy, my argument is without the NHS, their is no economy.

    50% of NHS staff reporting a mental health condition is very worrying.
    It is simply not physically or mentally possible for NHS frontline workers to work under such conditions month on end with no end in sight, many would drop like flies.
    NHS ICU comes under intense pressure during the winter months for flu season and they are prepared for that, but they are not prepared for it, month in month out due to covid. ICU has only fallen because of the lock-down measures.
    WHEN we get the 2nd peak now it will be back to square one and that will put a huge strain on already dislusioned NHS staff, many nurses for whom have not even been recognised for their sacrifices in the recent payrises.
    If we end up with a severe shortage of NHS staff putting the system at risk, and people begin to fear that the NHS will not be sufficently run to treat them were they to get sick, people will not go out and spend in the economy (that is a problem the economy is already facing with so many people changing their habbits and the way that they spend)

    The shielding comes to an end on August 1st, it takes on average 1 month for people who are going to die from Covid, 1 week incubation, 2nd week become seriously ill and hospitalised and then a further 2 weeks to die. That is true reason why the Government and scientists talks of a 2nd wave in Autumn and winter, because it is going to be towards the end of September when we see the death rates start to soar again.

    Until a vaccine is found we are going to have to live with this Virus and thats why we ALL as a society has to play a part in minimising the risk and allowing everyone to live a life as normally and safely as possible, and as unfortunate as it is that means accepting some losses to our liberties and it is going to involve job losses, that is unavoidable unless you want to live in a country where the elderly and vulnerable are regarded as lesser human beings and have to be locked up indefinatly

  • At the start of the outbreak in Hong Kong, cross-border travel with China was sharply reduced, “track and trace” was introduced, and other restrictions were imposed.
    Earlier this year, the city went weeks without a locally transmitted case.
    But as life started to go back to normal, a rise in locally transmitted cases was recorded. The average number of new cases rose from single figures at the start of the month, to more than 120 now.
    One professor at the University of Hong Kong said the cases had probably emerged due to “flaws in border procedures in Hong Kong”.

  • I’ve read, and probably written, nonsense on LDV, but this thread must take the biscuit,,

    No-one likes to wear a face mask but to equate it to the edict of a totalitarian state is just stupid.
    It isn’t compulsory except in stores (some stores) and it makes me get ‘in and out’ faster than before so that’s a saving in time and money. I still social distance and, if someone ‘invades my space’, their mask helps to alleviate the risk to me.

    BTW..I don’t park in disabled spaces, and I pick up my dog’s mess, out of consideration to others.. Wearing a face mask is no different.

  • Lokks tyo me like a small number of people going on and on till boredom and yawning starts with the rst of us.

  • Phil Beesley 29th Jul '20 - 10:59am

    Returning to Paul Walter’s original argument…

    Here in Leicester more than 95% of people comply with — or should I say, respect — the mask rules. If respect runs at 95% plus, people will show a bit of give and take. We can allow some slack if somebody needs to pop into the shops in a hurry having left their mask at home. It’ll be different in other towns and cities, but at the moment it seems that people are largely getting on with the change.

    A local supermarket requires staff to wear a mask when serving customers so I asked the woman at the till how long her shift lasted. Eight hours, mostly but not always in a mask. And she’d have to wear a mask when she went shopping for herself.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 29th Jul '20 - 11:05am

    Expats, it is compulsory on public transport as well as in stores. It may not be too difficult wear one while doing a quick shop, but it can be difficult to wear one on a train journey lasting several hours. Not being able to take off the face covering on the train means you cannot really eat or drink on the train either. I can’t help feeling this is going rather too far, in few of the fact that the seating on trains is socially distanced anyway (some seats currently cannot be occupied). Perhaps we don’t fully understand the possible adverse effects on health that there may be for some people.
    The other week I began to feel rather unwell while on a train journey lasting a couple of hours – I began to find it rather difficult to breath, although I do not have any diagnosed condition that would make me exempt.
    Spare a thought for shop workers who have to wear one all day (the law does not require staff to wear one, but several stores have made this a rule). Some find it extremely difficult to wear one for an eight or ten hour shift.
    I can see the arguments for face coverings, but I feel it was going too far to make it compulsory, considering that there is still disagreement among experts about the benefits, and the risks may not be fully understood

  • Peter Martin 29th Jul '20 - 11:29am

    @ Glenn @ Marco,

    “The reason they only want to compare them to close neighbouring countries is because they’ve latched onto it as way to attack Sweden.”

    Not true. It’s possible that the Swedish policy will turn out to be better for Sweden than if they’d had a tighter policy of lockdown. There are costs associated with closing down the economy. Increased rates of mental illness. More murders. Less treatment of other diseases. Businesses failing. More unemployment. More suicides etc.

    The lock down was applied in the UK in late March. Cases were rising exponentially. A couple of weeks later, in early April, the death rate peaked and started to fall. That was as good a result as anyone could have hoped for and much better than many expected. The NHS came close to being overwhelmed but wasn’t. The Nightingale hospitals weren’t really needed. But its good they were there in case they had been. So there’s no evidence that the UK under-reacted. With the benefit of hindsight we should have reacted earlier.

    The point is that the UK is not Sweden and what might have worked there clearly wasn’t working here at the time.

    It will take quite a while to work out just exactly what everyone in different countries should have done for the best at the time. It was only because everyone took slightly different approaches that we’ll get the necessary data to know how to better handle the problem if it reoccurs.

  • Being a city boy, I used to get trains all the time. I thought it was better for the environment and liked the convenience. I like crowds, I like bustle and that kind of thing. I don’t go near them anymore, miserable, grim, and just a pointless pain. They’ve basically been killed off, which will be found out in the post panic budgets. There’s is no point in commuting to work if you can do it from home and that will also have a huge knock on effect on property prices as companies realise it’s cheaper to operate without paying rates and utility bills, which will make everywhere poorer. It will also mean maintaining city residences is less attractive because everything attractive about it has been destroyed. You don’t choose to live in a city so you can sit at home watching Netflix and ordering on Amazon. You do it because there are theatres, restaurants, shops, markets, gigs, events and exciting things to do and because it’s easy to get from A to B to do them. Everything I like about the country is being trashed top to bottom and I’m supposed to applaud it. I just cannot do it.

  • Peter Martin
    I think its a weak argument when I applied to something that is supposed be a global threat to life of unparalleled proportions. I think like a lot of lockdown supporters you’re trying to inflate thin slim pickings to justify supporting the destructive overreaction after the fact to save face.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 29th Jul '20 - 12:43pm

    Though I said above “I do not have any diagnosed condition…”, I do actually have a deviated septum, and possibly that is why I have difficulty wearing a mask? Possibly it would in fact make me exempt? I feel inclined to look into whether I could get exemption, but the intolerance on this subject means that it could be quite awkward to go round shops and use public transport without one. I just hope the government lifts the rule soon

  • Peter Martin 29th Jul '20 - 1:24pm

    @ Glenn,

    Not at all. There was no overreaction. If you look at the graph on this link you can see something had to be done in late March when cases were rising so rapidly. Apologies for the use of a Daily Mail link but I can’t see anything wrong with the graph in question.

    You’d have a similar mentality to a climate change denier to look at this sort of graph and think the decline would have happened anyway and without the lockdown.


  • Peter Martin
    I’m not going to argue with you or reply after this point. I replied because you addressed me,. I will not being doing so again. I don’t care what you think I’m like and you should make no mistake that what I think of you is equally unflattering.

  • Sadly, masks policy was another open goal which the Lib Dems blew. We could have pointed out the absurdity of mandating masks (sorry, face-coverings, including the nonsense cloth variety) in shops from midnight on the 23rd July after the massive decline in Covid-19 deaths since mid-April, several weeks now with an overall death rate below the five-year average, massive under-use of ICU for weeks, no effect from beach and protest crowds, among other indicators. But instead party leadership just had to follow the herd. Today I see that Ed Davey has been going on about a ‘second wave’; wouldn’t he have been better advised to draw attention to the worrying report from CEBM of the significant increase in deaths at home compared to other settings? Someone needs to drag the party back to evidence-based, liberal policy-making. Why don’t we follow Norway and Sweden and just get back to normal, fast.

  • @Geoffrey

    Sheilding ends on the 1st August. The Prime Minister, Scientists and health care managers are all concerned about a 2nd wave in 2 weeks time. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand where that 2nd wave is going to be coming from.

    I am hell bent on trying to stop my own parents becoming part of the guinea pig experiment, but its been a bit of a lossing battle of late as they are convinced that it is now safe to do everthing because the Government has said so, but when your dealing with elderly parents, one of whom with dementia and the other whose infamous for making poor choices at the best of time, I know I am in for a rough few months again when I have to bring them here again.

    But thats’s ok, you carry on convincing yourself and others that everything is safe out there again now and our elderly and vulnerable can return to normality with no nasty consequences 4 weeks later. I will be doing my utmost to advise them of the opposite

  • The problem with the logic of

    “masks aren’t proven to work but they might make a bit of a difference so why not try it”

    Is that the same logic would never be applied to Hydroxochloroquine or a rushed out vaccine. They have to be shown to work through randomised control trials. If they are considered to have the potential to save lives but with unacceptable harmful side effects they would not be mandated.

    A similar approach needs to be applied to non-medical interventions e.g lockdowns and mask wearing rather than “nothing to lose better safe than sorry if it saves one life it’s worth it” etc

  • Nonconformistradical 30th Jul '20 - 10:38am

    It appears that using Hydroxochloroquine might result in serious side effects.

    I’m struggling to think how wearing a mask when in a shop etc. might carry a similar risk

  • Phil Beesley 30th Jul '20 - 12:01pm

    When I go to the supermarket wearing a mask, the cold air from chilled cabinets causes my breath to steam up on my specs. That is the extent of discomfort for me and for most people; I acknowledge and appreciate that some people require an exemption for genuine medical reasons, and I would never kick up a fuss about anyone who wasn’t wearing a mask. It is not for me to intrude.

    Our understanding about how Covid-19 is spread is growing and changing. In six months time, we’ll know a bit more about masks, and maybe we have been wasting our time and money. But now, today, scientists recommend their use and we should wear them out of respect for our neighbours and shop workers.

    On the road, there are three types of regulation:
    * Absolute law: Speed limits, drunk driving, stop junctions etc.
    * Highway Code: A simple codification of absolute law and recommendations for best practice (where to park safely, what to do if you break down).
    * Road Manners: Letting a car from a side road to exit when you are stuck in a queue or giving wide space for an ambulance to pass.

    Wearing a mask is somewhere between Highway Code recommendations and Absolute Law, because the requirement is not enforced. But show some give and take.

  • Convincing myself? Just as I would not tell people whether to wear a face covering or not, I would not tell them where to get their news. I will continue to use those independent, dispassionate sources who seem to get it right; although I note that the CEBM report on excess deaths in the home in recent weeks has now been covered in at least one established outlet. I suspect most other media will ignore it just as they skated over the dodgy PHE method counting of deaths – where it seems that PHE are counting as a COVID-19 death any individual who has at any time tested positive, even if, say, they take an overdose months later after losing their job due to the lockdown. I would like, however to apologize and correct my comment above about “overall death rate below the five-year average” – ONS figures show this is quite true for England and Wales, but not only that: June 2020 was lower than June 2019. So the chances of dying in June this year were actually lower than last year, masks or no masks.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Jane Ann Liston
    Well said, Wendy - good advice....
  • Michael 1
    I don't think people should be members of legislative bodies ex officio such as mayors. But there is an argument to have a body like the US senate of around 100...
  • David Raw
    @ Jeff, "The abhorrent treatment of those Windrush arrivals is another argument against ID Cards. Once you require a licence to live from the state, you are no ...
  • Jeff
    Matt Wardman 30th Jul '21 - 1:42pm: There’s also the separate question about whether ID cards may in fact be sensible. Would the Windrush Generatio...
  • Joe Bourke
    I see William Keegan, an economics editor at the Guardian, is urging Labour to adopt a policy of reversing Brexit https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/...