Lib Dems say “Give firms right to require face masks worn by customers”

Following the Government’s update on plans to ease restrictions on 19th July, the Liberal Democrats have called on businesses to be given the legal right to require customers to wear face masks on their premises.

Sarah Olney MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, has heard from businesses who want to protect young staff who have not received their second jab, and those who are clinically vulnerable, by ensuring face masks are worn by customers.

Writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sarah Olney MP said:

Since the Secretary of State for Health and the Prime Minister updated the country on plans to ease restrictions, business owners have watched as different Ministers give a different answer each day on guidance for face masks in public spaces.

Giving firms the right to require customers to wear face masks in confined indoor spaces is vital to protect staff, in particular the millions of young people who have not received their second jab, and the clinically vulnerable who have been shielded from the virus.

It is right that people with medical conditions stay exempt from wearing masks, and it is also right that businesses are safe for staff to work and customers to shop in.

I therefore ask that the Government gives business the legal right to require customers to wear face masks on their premises, whilst continuing to allow those with medical conditions to be exempt.

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73 Comments

  • John Marriott 12th Jul '21 - 4:28pm

    Yes. Several airlines, including Ryanair and EasyJet, have said that face masks must be worn on all of their flights. I’m a library volunteer and we have now reopened to browsing after only operating a ‘click and collect’. I’ve proposed that, if legally possible, we should insist that all customers, unless they carry an exemption, should be required to wear a face covering if they choose to enter the building. We volunteers will continue to wear masks whatever happens on ‘Freedom Day’.

    I’m still hoping that the government will u turn on the rescinding of this particular lockdown requirement.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th Jul '21 - 5:46pm

    The sort of sensible and definite suggestion necessary.

    The new easing is absurd. The govt is ludicrous.

    Glad this party and Labour making sense!

  • John Marriott 12th Jul '21 - 6:17pm

    I see that the government is now ‘recommending’ the wearing of face masks in confined spaces. That’s just not good enough! It’s a massive gamble.

  • The ending of mask use on public transport and shops is ludicrous.

    The Governments predictions of 100,000 Daily infections, 1000-2000 daily hospital admissions and 100-200 daily deaths is based on relying on people to take a “slowly approach” to the ending of restrictions, I.e they do not all stop the work from home in vast numbers, they do not all increase social contact and people do not abandon mask use……..Well good luck with that.

    This is absurd, wearing masks reduces the spread of covid, it doesn’t stop you from catching covid, we will now have not only vulnerable and immune supressed people trying to navigate this world by avoiding covid-spreaders, but we also have essential medical staff who we are relying on to get through the back log of all those cancelled NHS procedures but also to treat new covid infections also trying to navigate public transport and shops without getting themselves infected.

    Just when you thought this Government could not get anymore incompetent, they come out with this…..

  • Face masks as they a worn by ordinary people are germ magnets. The idea that a damp rag you take in and out of your pocket umpteen times a day or walk fro place with draped under your sweaty chin is a protecting anyone is comical. Surgical masks are designed for short term use and are to be disposed of after use. They are not to designed to wear for hours on end or for shopping . But whatever, once people have adopted a propaganda and irrational fear driven social habit there is nothing much you can do. Personally, I’ll wear one as an excuse not to talk to people and so it’s hard to read my feelings when I do.

  • Jayne mansfield 12th Jul '21 - 7:17pm

    @Glenn,
    ‘ordinary people’, do you mean people who are not aware of the science.

    If so, wouldn’t widespread public information over multi media solve the problem?

  • James Fowler 12th Jul '21 - 8:53pm

    @Glenn. It’s good to see you back. Personally, I’m willing to make concessions about the masks, provided that the hyperactive and damaging isolation system is wound down – especially in schools. However, I think the visibility of this measure means this is going to become the equivalent of the Montagues and the Capulets. Sadly, there’s probably going to be physical trouble where people without masks become determined to exercise their rights, and people determined that everyone must continue to wear them dig in stop them.

  • jane mansfield 12th Jul '21 - 9:23pm

    @ James Fowler,
    Please could you expand on what you mean by a hyperactive, damaging isolation policy? You are of course under no obligation to do so.

  • Jayne Mansfield
    Wearing masks properly would be uncomfortable, create a massive disposal problem and get expensive. The requirement does not and never did specify surgical standard masks. It simply ask for a face covering. Most of the masks people wear are simple clothes, but you could just wrap scarf around your face, or put a couple of eye holes in a pillow case and stick that on your head. I’ve got an old Russian miners mask, I often thought of wearing that. But it is very heavy and uncomfortable. Technically you could wear a Halloween mask. I suspect that the purpose of the mask mandates, which were introduced late, was more to create a visible sense of compliance with government orders than as a means of controlling infection.

  • Anyone who has ever turned up at a nightclub and did not meet the dress code will know that businesses already have this right. “House rules” have always existed and will remain so; they are only constrained by anti-discrimination legislation, for instance people with medical exemptions.

  • So the guidance has been updated for the clinically vulnerable https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/19-july-guidance-on-protecting-people-who-are-clinically-extremely-vulnerable-from-covid-19

    “Individuals may choose to limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, particularly if they are clinically extremely vulnerable and when COVID-19 disease levels in the general community are high.”

    “limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with” and “consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated “

    “no vaccine is 100% effective and there is emerging evidence that suggests that some immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals may not respond as well to COVID-19 vaccines as others”

    So I take it vulnerable people who have no choice but to use public transport should ask the driver to ask all fellow passengers if they have all been jabbed before getting on the bus in order to evaluate the risk???? Or ask Tesco Customer service to put out a customer announcement and ask anyone who has not been vaccinated to put their hands up

    There are millions of people on the clinically vulnerable list (and their immediate families) who have now been abandoned by this Government, and whilst liberty and freedom has been returned to vast majority who are now free to go about life as normal, the most vulnerable section of society has been told you’re on your own but free to make a choice, this is not freedom, it’s Russian Roulette

  • John Marriott 12th Jul '21 - 10:33pm

    Oh dear, Glenn, how sad that you feel the way you do. I shall continue to wear a mask in confined spaces and I can assure you that my fear is certainly not irrational. Judging by reactions so far it would appear that it is your reaction that is irrational.

    Now, if you lived in Wales you might have a chance to make your point. However, if you live in England you can throw your mask away if you choose. So, why are you still planning to wear one. That’s bizarre.

  • Jayne mansfield 12th Jul '21 - 11:02pm

    @ Glenn,
    As I have already stated, it was beholden of the government to make available the need for effective masks and effective usage, I absolutely agree with you on some of the points that you make.

    Did the government make available effective face masks or inform the public of how the needed to be handled, worn, etc,?

  • John Marriot
    I’m not planning to wear one. I was making a point about the nature of the mask rules. I’ve actually had Covid. Got the symptoms and tested positive back in early March. If anything it hardened my belief that the panic was not warranted. I’m in the medically vulnerable group myself. I just do not believe that copying the actions of a totalitarian communist police state like China was ever a good idea. There is still not a shred of evidence that countries that did faired better than those that didn’t or even that states in the US that didn’t impose lockdowns, mandatory face coverings etc. faired worse than those that did. I think the pandemic measure are being quietly put to bed in a way that avoids anyone having to admit to them being a huge mistake.

  • Jayne mansfield 12th Jul '21 - 11:14pm

    @ Glenn,
    May I say that since childhood, I have had a heart complaint thanks to rheumatic fever, I don’t find masks uncomfortable, so why do healthy members of society find them so?

  • I intend to keep wearing a mask for the time being. Not because I think they’re effective but because they seem to reassure people. This time last year the government wanted to get people to go back to work and go out again so they introduced masks as a way of encouraging people to do that.

    The best argument against masks was always that they encourage a false sense of security. For example immunocompromised people would be safer getting shopping delivered rather than going to shops, whether or not masks were required.

  • Jayne mansfield 12th Jul '21 - 11:42pm

    @ Marco,
    I am not so sure that masks reassure people as opposed to them reminding people that there is an invisible threat to health, which is a positive thing. Do you have any research evidence to back your argument. I have nothing to back mine,.

  • @Marco

    And yet it is scientifically proven that masks reduce the amount of viral load that a person exhales if they are infected with covid.

    “For example immunocompromised people would be safer getting shopping delivered rather than going to shops, whether or not masks were required.”
    So you think the Immunocompromised should make a choice and stay indoors or play Russian roulette?? They shouldn’t be able to enjoy some “basic freedoms” like taking a bus to reach the countryside for a walk, or a walk along the beach? or using public transport to be able to go to a medical appointment, or be able to visit a supermarket in as safe a manor as possible?
    Not forgetting that some of these immunosuppressed people are reliant on welfare and possibly cannot afford the added costs of having their shopping delivered, Tesco’s now charge £4.50 for a delivery slot including for those who were on the shielding “priority slots” list

    Covid is not like flu season where immunocompromised people have to take extra precautions for a couple of months a year. Covid is a far more transmissible and virulent virus that is with us 52 weeks of the year, so what you are basically saying is these vulnerable people and their immediate family members who live with them have to make a choice, isolate indefinitely, or play Russian roulette, because the majority of the “healthy population” want their full freedoms and liberties back and are not prepared to allow you to have ANY.

    Open the economy fully Yes, but keep the mask use on public transport and shops and for ANY workers that require them to enter a clinically vulnerable persons home to carry out works as these are the bare minimum liberties that clinically vulnerable person and their families should also be entitled too

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Jul '21 - 12:47am

    Matt, as you are here, can honestly say, absolutely terrific as usual!

  • @Lorenzo

    Thank you dear friend 🙂 I try to give a voice to those not feeling heard

  • Masks help to reduce transmission although their efficacy varies greatly depending on their quality and how well they are worn. In an enclosed shared space, such as a shop or library, good ventilation is likely to be more important. Transmission is primarily due to small aerosols which can accumulate and linger in the air for hours. Fresh air helps to dilute and disperse these. Western politicians and advisors have only recently woken up to the importance of ventilation and advice on this is still poor.

    John Marriott 12th Jul ’21 – 4:28pm:
    I’m a library volunteer and we have now reopened to browsing after only operating a ‘click and collect’.

    The level of exhaled CO2 in the air is a good proxy for the potential virus load. Use a CO2 monitor to measure this and keep the level below 800ppm. All public enclosed spaces should be using these.

    ‘Ventilation a key to controlling Covid spread, expert says’ [July 2021]:
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/ventilation-a-key-to-controlling-covid-spread-expert-says-1.4617424

    Increasing airflow in buildings and using CO2 monitors recommended to curb spread.

    ‘Covid-19 has redefined airborne transmission’ [14th. April 2021]:
    https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n913

    …governments and health leaders should heed the science and focus their efforts on airborne transmission. Safer indoor environments are required, not only to protect unvaccinated people and those for whom vaccines fail, but also to deter vaccine resistant variants or novel airborne threats that may appear at any time. Improving indoor ventilation and air quality, particularly in healthcare, work, and educational environments, will help all of us to stay safe, now and in the future.

    ‘The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill’ [May 2021]:
    https://www.wired.com/story/the-teeny-tiny-scientific-screwup-that-helped-covid-kill/

    On Friday, April 30, the WHO quietly updated a page on its website. In a section on how the coronavirus gets transmitted, the text now states that the virus can spread via aerosols as well as larger droplets. As Zeynep Tufekci noted in The New York Times, perhaps the biggest news of the pandemic passed with no news conference, no big declaration. If you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Jul '21 - 8:04am

    I will keep using my face mask for as long as I feel its needed. At a lower level in my wheelchair it does feel more open to others, distancing, seems to be less now.
    The lack of real information, and just the continued news, that I personally felt, very negative for those struggling with mental health and the working environment.

  • James Fowler 13th Jul '21 - 8:58am

    @Jayne. Happy to elaborate here. The isolation system has always been wide open to abuse by the authorities and is also far too easily triggered to have ever made practical sense for working people in insecure work or school children who need to learn to read/write in a consistent, stable environment. Worse still, think about parents in insecure work with children. The idea that anyone can just stay at home for 10 days at the ping of a text at any moment is an adult, middle class fantasy.

  • jayne mansfield 13th Jul '21 - 9:45am

    @ jeff,
    Thank you for focussing attention on the need for better ventilation and air quality in buildings. The government by its inaction appears to be as immune to advice from experts from the ventilation industry as it it from experts in other important fields.

    The government of the time had ample warning about our national lack of preparedness for a major vial pandemic with flu being the focus at that time, Important weaknesses were highlighted. Had the report led to action, forward planning and funding, a half competent government would have avoided the current chaotic, illogical , contradictory and in my view unethical response that has cost so many lives, in particular the deaths of people in care homes.

    The past is past, but one has to ask why the government continues to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
    We have a dates not data government programme that has been tried before. The government’s idiotically named ‘Freedom Day,’ is utterly reckless.

    There has not, as far as I know been any attempt to make workplaces safer by making the air in them safer, but the political Right have nevertheless filled the air with arguments that people should return to them. Why are opposition parties not picking up and arguing strongly for immediate improvements that will make life safer not only for this generation but future ones? You must have a theory.

  • Glenn, wearing a mask does reduce transmission…As for wearing them for hours??? I put one on in supermarkets, shops, etc. and remove it on exit..

    I visit such indoor venues about once a week and my pub visits are outside with table service..My weekly wearing lasts 1-2 hous at most…If Jayne mansfield (12th Jul ’21 – 11:14pm) can amnage, why all the fuss?

  • Expats
    You might want to live in a world full of faceless people living in fear of each other, I don’t. I believe you are perfectly entitled to continue to wear what you like for as long as you like. That is your choice. What I will never do is demand others be forced to do so. Unfashionable, I know, but I believe in personal responsibility. If someone ask me to wear a mask, I will put one on, just to shut them up or increasingly I find that I avoid them altogether and avoid their businesses whenever possible. I’m perfectly happy not to spend money on or time with people I do not need to.

  • Jayne Mansfield @You said it all, this government is a complete nightmare , why anyone can trust what it says and does is beyond me.

  • Jayne mansfield 13th Jul '21 - 10:59am

    @ James Fowler,
    I am undeniably middle class James, but unfortunately I don’t live in a middle class fantasy land. I live in a land where at least 51 bus drivers in our capital city have died since the pandemic began.

    It is not only the elderly who are vulnerable. and I refer you to the work of Professor Sir Michael Marmot . There is nothing clever about ignoring the science, instead putting reliance that many of those providing transport are from vulnerable groups, the reason for their increased vulnerability not yet determined but possibly multifactorial.

    I sense an underlying but unacknowledged acceptance of the in the ideas and concepts of eugenics from some of those who have from the beginning of the pandemic argued for
    a herd immunity approach when herd immunity is achieved by ethical, reliable vaccination of the herd, not letting a dangerous virus let rip and mutate. I cannot think of any other underlying rationale for the promotion of reckless behaviour that continues to deny the science , relying instead on a ‘common sense’ that endangers others.

    In my world , viewed from the media and now judicious trips out in the open air and to supermarkets after our two vaccinations, ( having first checked and avoided the busy times which are on view on the supermarket website), the only thing one can say about common sense is that it is an all too common approach to the varied and changing challenges of our complicated lives. Common sense, all often poses a danger to others and restricts the freedom of others to choose whose’ ‘common sense’ is at variance to theirs.

    Those living in John Marriott’s county of Lincolnshire might once have looked out at their local topography and reached the common sense view that the world is flat.

  • Ordinary masks – or home-made substitutes as Glenn suggests – are not effective in stopping incoming infection. They are quite effective (depending on the tightness of the weave or size of any holes, so old scarves may not be such a good idea) in stopping you spreading infection. This is because the infected droplets get smaller as they travel. They are, of course, ineffective if you pull them down from your nose, as some Premiership footballers not on the field have been seen doing, but “ordinary” people from my observations don’t do this. So voluntary encouragement of mask-wearing is not enough: you choose to wear a mask, someone else doesn’t, and they infect you. There is evidence that ventilation systems can do a lot to spread the infection. Trains have such systems and you can’t now open windows – but the ventilation also stops the misting up of spectacles which otherwise the masks tend to cause. So wearing a mask on a train is no great bother.

  • As a clinically extremely vulnerable person I should give consideration to only associating with people who have had both jabs and I should only see them outside? What happens if I go to hospital (an indoor situation) and the healthcare professional has decided that he/she does not wish to take their vaccine? Do I have a right to demand to see another person? I am also “advised” (weasel words meaning that the Government does not intend to take responsibility) that I should go to shops and pharmacies at quiet times. Shops and pharmacies are, like hospitals, indoor settings.

    I get the feeling that this advice and subsequent recommendations were scrawled on the back of an envelope after an evening watching the England game!

  • Nigel Jones 13th Jul '21 - 1:13pm

    @Jayne “The government’s idiotically named Freedom Day is utterly reckless.
    I agree, but unfortunately Boris is extremely clever at using language to emotionally stir up popular support for himself. For that purpose calling it Freedom Day is really good since like an entertaining show, it starts with building up people’s hopes and excitement, tells them their life is unpleasant but soon his plan will give them what they want and all will be so much better. Unfortunately also, Keir Starmer does not have the character or strength to challenge Boris in a way that appeals to most people and we are not taken any notice of by the media. So there is no coordinated opposition to this government.
    Thus on the wearing of masks, even as Boris seems to be changing his mind, so many groups have been calling for a different approach that it can be said he changed his mind because of the general public reaction, not the efforts of so-called opposition parties. Our politics is in a bad way, just when we needed it to be good.

  • @Glenn

    People who refuse to wear a mask on public transport or in shops could be Asymptomatic and spreading the virus.
    An immune compromised person could be on that same bus, having to travel to a medical appointment, to buy food, or even just to get a little respite and travel to the countryside in order to enjoy some fresh air and go for a walk.
    That person who reuses to wear that mask and was unknowingly infected could then potentially have caused severe covid or even death in that immune compromised person.
    But I guess, if you dont know that you did it and dont have to to think about it, then your conscience is clear, ignorance is bliss…….

  • James Fowler 13th Jul '21 - 1:22pm

    @Jayne. You’re right, I shouldn’t have said fantasy, I should have said privilege. Some people have the privilege of being able to withdraw into their homes for 10 days, repeatedly, at moments notice, without severe detriment. Others do not have that good fortune.

  • jayne mansfiekd 13th Jul '21 - 8:15pm

    @ James Fowler,
    I find the thrust of your argument confusing.

    If you are concerned about the less privileged in society, the answer would be to make policies that remove their disadvantage. Social inequalities that lead to health inequalities are well documented. What has not been pursued vigorously has been the political will to reduce them.

    Health inequalities widened in the decade 2010 to 2020. Covid has highlighted them because it has been the same disadvantaged groups who have suffered disproportionately.

    Testing , contact tracing and isolation are the basic tools of public health to prevent onward transmission of the virus. It was successful in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak in 2014-16, and again during the MERS outbreak in the Republic of Korea in 2015.

    Public Health is not just the prevention of onward spread of infection it is also about reducing heath inequalities. Research data is important for this so that inequalities can be tackled. if politicians have the will, fairer systems can be developed.

    A major problem for the socially disadvantaged is that they cannot afford to take time off work. Are you saying this is a solution that cannot be solved politically? How much is sick pay in this country? How does it compare with other countries? What about zero hours contracts? Why are there pockets of deprivation in particular parts of the country and amongst different social groups? If there is no political will to make isolation affordable, there will be poor compliance as far as infection control methods are concerned, and in some cases people going to work when they know they have mild symptoms , because they feel that they cannot afford not to. Where are the policies that support those at risk to act and behave in ways that keeps them and others safe?

    Blaming an important public health tool rather than putting pressure on government to dig deep and solve the reasons for health inequalities which are being worsened during the pandemic.

    The data revealed when an effective test, trace and isolate policy is in place provides important information that allows the tracking of spread, any development of mutations of concern, any particular characteristics, areas or behaviours where clusters are developing etc. This data is important if one is to develop policies that make Britain fairer .

    The poor and disadvantaged are once again suffering disproportionately world wide.

  • Glenn 13th Jul ’21 – 10:39am…Expats,You might want to live in a world full of faceless people living in fear of each other, I don’t………………

    I post that I wear a mask for 1 or 2 hours a week and you translate that into “a world full of faceless people”..
    I assume that you live in a universe different to mine. I’m old enough to remember when compulsory wearing of seatbelts was considered ‘an infringement of liberty’; the DOT estimate that 2000 deaths were saved last year by that ‘infringement’..The government estimate is that, even following the ‘freedom guidelines’ on masks, 200 deaths a day are acceptable; unless my maths are out that equates to 72,000 deaths pa. I don’t know how many lives wearing a mask for a few hours will save but, at least to me, that’s an inconvenience worth ‘suffering’.
    For you, and those like you, the old expression, “I’m all right Jack,,,,” seems to apply..

  • @expats

    Actually expats, my understanding of reading those latest sage documents was that the daily 100,000 infections, 1000 hospital admissions and 100 deaths a day was based on the analysis that the country takes a “slowly slowly” approach towards these new freedoms and that the vast majority of people would continue to wear masks, limit social contacts and there would no sudden rush to end WFH and the vast majority of clinically vulnerable would continue to “shield”, so of course, the Government chose to run with this figure as they feel it would be an “acceptable” level to the public.
    What the Government obviously does not want to acknowledge publicly, is that the sage models also state that if people return to “normal pre-pandemic” behaviours then we could be looking at 4,800 hospital admissions a day and 500 deaths.

    I am afraid I do not have the same faith that the Government seems to have in behavioural changes and the cynic in me does not believe the Government actually cares.

  • A thought just occurred to me. Does the Government have a Statutory Duty of Care to its citizens? If it does, then could not the Prime Minister’s latest move, which is being widely forecast to lead to more unnecessary deaths, not be interpreted as being the antithesis of the Duty of Care? @expats 13 Jul 9:46 pm mentions 72,000 deaths per annum, a lot of which could be prevented by the simple wearing of masks. The only “freedom” people seem to be getting is the freedom to infect others!

  • @ Jayne Mansfield – There is a lack of evidence to support or reject mask wearing as hardly any studies have been done in the context of a pandemic. However in the US Texas and South Dakota lifted their mask mandates and did not see a significant rise in cases compared with other states.

    @ Matt – “Covid is not like flu season… is with us 52 weeks of the year”

    And why is flu seasonal? It wouldn’t be because of herd immunity would it? COVID is already showing a seasonal pattern and that will continue as it settles into endemic status.

    I agree that the clinically vulnerable shouldn’t have to pay for shopping but couldn’t the government subsidise this as they have spent/wasted £bns on other initiatives? And provide high performing masks to vuln/imm comp people who want one?

  • Expats
    Seatbelts are precision engineered and vigorously tested. They are not simply a thing worn draped across your chest to fulfil a vaguely defined requirement to wear a strap of some sort.
    The masks people wear are not surgical masks. They are bits of cloth. They are not worn in a surgical setting or handled in a medically recommended way. They are crumpled up in pockets, stuck at the bottom of a bag or sit under the chin gathering spittle and sundry detritus.

  • @Marco

    “COVID is already showing a seasonal pattern and that will continue as it settles into endemic status”

    lol are you serious, if it was seasonal then explain how we are about to reach in excess of 100,000 cases a day in the peak of summer, the highest numbers yet, I do not think that argument bares out somehow.

    And as for the Government paying for the shopping slots of vulnerable people, that would be a start, but that is not really the point. The rest of the country is getting 99.9% of their freedoms back, being able to go to pubs, clubs, theatres, sporting events etc with no limits. What are the clinically vulnerable and their immediate family who live with them get back????? Nothing… If people like you are not prepared to wear a mask on transport and in shops, so that these people can enjoy very limited freedoms as in using transport to get to a shop, medical appointment or just reach wide open spaces for a day out, then what does it say about you and other anti-mask wearers and society????

  • Jayne mansfield 14th Jul '21 - 4:25pm

    @ Marco,
    Check your facts.

    For masks to be effective, everyone needs to wear one, they need to be mandatory.

    Masks protect others rather than the wearer.

  • @ Matt

    If you read my original comment I said I intend to continue wearing a mask for now.

    The uptick in cases is due to the release of suppression measures yet cases are still lower than Jan when there was a full lockdown. I expect the case levels to plateau as herd immunity reasserts itself then rise again in Autumn/Winter.

    I must say I don’t remember any campaign to protect the immunocompromised during flu season. Flu is around all year just much higher in winter and lower in summer due to herd immunity.

    @ Jayne Mansfield – which facts are you referring to?

  • I have no intention of wearing the mask ever again. I’ve had the virus and the vax. I’m standing with ravers, nightclubs, the arts, people trying to earn an honest crust and youngsters. The lockdowns and covid culture have been nothing more than a war on individualism and youth waged by spooked people my age and older. All in the delusional belief that government decrees will make them semi immortal.

  • @Marco

    Forgive me, I recalled a comment from Glenn about using masks in a “sarcastic” manor was written by you and so I had to check back through the comments section.

    I now note that you have said that you would wear a mask, but, considering how much we have clashed over the issues on covid over the last 16 months, you have never given me any other reason to believe other than you are against ALL coronavirus restrictions and believe that the Clinically Vulnerable Should shield indefinitely ( if that is what they so wish) whilst everyone else goes about as normal. If I am wrong then I am happy to be corrected.
    The uptick in cases is due to the release of suppression measures yet cases are still lower than Jan when there was a full lockdown. ”
    Really??? Cases went up in January because Johnson and his Government told everyone it was safe to mix over xmas, look how that turned out
    The highest peak we had in January was on the 8th @ 67,000 cases, it then fell to 20,900 by the 31st January, it is accepted by the Government using the most conservative set of figures that we are going to start seeing 100,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks after unlocking fully and those figures are on the basis that there is no big “jubilee” mentality to unlocking and the majority of people continue to social distance WFH and wear masks etc. The modelling for what happens if those behaviours are not observed are far far worse.

    “I must say I don’t remember any campaign to protect the immunocompromised during flu season.”
    Several flaws to your argument
    (1) Many immune compromised people do take many more precautions in the winter, like avoiding public transport and crowed places. It is easier for them to do a couple of months in the year at the height of flu season.
    (2) Covid is far more transmissible and virulent than flu
    (3) Flu is much less prevalent in the summer months, I will use July 2018 as an example for comparison when Government reports state that there were 1.6 cases per 100,000 population, now compare those with covid infections per 100,000 and I am sure you can work out the difference

  • Jayne mansfield 15th Jul '21 - 8:38am

    @ Marco,
    The fact is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that masks are effective as part of a number of measure , vaccination, masks , hand washing etc. There is also plentiful scientif ievidence regarding the effectiveness of different types of masks from single layer masks up gto and including N95.

    I refer ypu to some of the earlier work in the pandemic, the work of a team at the Roslin Institute , University of Edinburg, led by Professor Paul Dingard chair of virology. published in 2020.

    Given that you refer to behaviour in and individualist America, may I also refer you to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , ‘ An evidence based review of against Covid-19. Jan 2019 ‘.

    Science regarding Covid has advanced at a pace during the pandemic, but an important point that needs making for those who argue that there is no consistent evidence regarding mask wearing , even if this were true, there is something called the Precautionary Principle, which means that when human activity may lead to morally unacceptable behaviour where such harm is scientifically plausible but uncertain , actions should be taken to avoid that harm. This was signed up to in an international treaty in the 1987 Montreal Protocol. I there fore object to those who say mandatory mask wearing is not ‘liberal’. or even Liberal given the harm principle.

  • Jayne mansfield 15th Jul '21 - 8:40am

    @ Marco,
    Forgive the typos. I think you can get the gist.

  • Peter Martin 15th Jul '21 - 9:40am

    The Tories are saying that the wearing of face masks should be the responsibility of the individual.

    The Labour Party is saying the legal requirement to wear them in public places should continue.

    The Lib Dems like the idea of personal responsibility. We can all be trusted to do the right thing with our proposed UBI for example. But you don’t want to agree with the Tories, or the Labour Party.

    So, you want to transfer the responsibility to individual businesses. We’ve probably all seen those reports and videos of shocking behaviour by some ‘customers’ when they’ve been required by retail staff to socially distance. Those same customers are still around. At least shop workers can now insist that the wearing of a face is a legal requirement. Taking that away is going to make their job so much more difficult.

  • John Marriott 15th Jul '21 - 10:29am

    @Peter Martin
    There you go again ….. the reason why, despite everything, the Tories are still apparently riding high in the polls is because the opposition is rubbish, included your beloved Labour Party.

    Isn’t it about time you put that big spoon away; or possibly tried a bit of stirring elsewhere?😀

  • Peter Martin 15th Jul '21 - 11:48am

    @ John Marriott,

    “……the reason why, despite everything, the Tories are still apparently riding high in the polls is because the opposition is rubbish, included your beloved Labour Party.”

    Yes, I agree with you. I’m not excluding the Labour Party. Possibly we could exclude the SNP, but in their case I would prefer them to be rubbish too and fail in their attempt to break up the UK.

  • matt 14th Jul ’21 – 10:27am
    …if it was seasonal then explain how we are about to reach in excess of 100,000 cases a day in the peak of summer, the highest numbers yet,…

    The currently dominant Delta variant is around twice as infectious as the original and we aren’t taking as many mitigating measures (even allowing for last year’s Eat Out To Spread It About scheme). This is masking the seasonality of the virus. As with other viruses, Covid isn’t transported as well in warm humid air, the virus is degraded by exposure to more intense UV light, more activities are outside or in better ventilated buildings with open windows, and many more people have adequate vitamin D levels due to exposure to UV-B that only penetrates the earth’s atmosphere around midday during summer.

    ‘Temperature and Latitude Correlate with SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiological Variables but not with Genomic Change Worldwide’ [January 2021]:
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1176934321989695

    The epidemiological trends we observed worldwide suggest a seasonal effect for the disease that is not directly controlled by the genomic makeup of the virus.

    ‘SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels’ [September 2020]:
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0239252

    SARS-CoV-2 positivity is strongly and inversely associated with circulating 25(OH)D levels, a relationship that persists across latitudes, races/ethnicities, both sexes, and age ranges.

  • @ Matt, Jayne Mansfield

    I read somewhere that SAGE believe masks reduce transmission by 6-15%. That is not a very high figure and therefore we should not see masks as the difference between it being safe or unsafe to go somewhere. It is potentially dangerous to promote mask wearing if it makes people believe they are safer than they are.

    Matt – the 100k cases per day is a projection not something that has actually happened. Many such projections have turned out to be wrong. Cases could stop growing soon due to herd immunity. Flu is not necessarily more virulent than COVID but it is kept in check by herd immunity.

    And no I don’t oppose all COVID measures I have said that I supported bans on very large gatherings for example.

  • @Jeff

    My understanding from readings has been that Covid is nowhere near as seasonal as flu.

    Although Flu is regarded as airborne, it is not as airborne as what covid particles are.

    Flu virus can only live on hands for about 5 minutes, whereas covid particles survive for much longer, it was because of this during 2020/21 with widespread use of mask use and frequent hand hygiene that countries across the globe had very low flu season.

    I am not denying the benefits of Vitamin D or that UV levels has an effect on covid, but what I am pointing out to Marco is that you cannot compare the seasonality of covid with flu due to the fact that covid is far more transmissible and virulent even in the summer months and he only has to look at the infection rates per 100,000 population for flu in previous years 2017/18 etc and compare them to the infection rates for covid.

    We are about to let this virus rip, with no mitigation measures at all, we are abandoning the Extremely clinically vulnerable Group for those who vaccines are not entirely effective or cannot have the vaccine at all, as well as their immediate family members who live with them…We are telling those people who have these conditions but do still have a job or are self-employed, to go back to work even though the risks are high as we are about to let this virus rip in your communities, chose life or livelihood we give you the liberty and freedom to chose…..I dont know why I am surprised when it is the same government who cuts financial support to the poorest to the bones and make them chose to eat or heat…

  • @Marco

    “I read somewhere that SAGE believe masks reduce transmission by 6-15%. That is not a very high figure and therefore we should not see masks as the difference between it being safe or unsafe to go somewhere. I”

    If transmission rates are low in the community, then of course mask use makes a huge amount of difference to the safety of someone who is immunosuppressant, not so much when all restrictions have ended and mask use has been abandoned by the majority.
    But to look at this from another perspective, if we take your 15% to be accurate, though many studies have suggested a far better efficacy than this when everyone is using masks.
    Going by the Governments expected 100,000 cases a day in the coming weeks.
    That is 15,000 less cases a day
    Some reports state long covid effecting around 5% of people, however, some believe this to be much higher, but going on the conservative level of 5% that is 750 people less a day going onto develop long covid complications with yet unknown longer term health complications,
    Reducing transmission by 15,000 people a day means 150 less people a day being admitted to hospital, freeing up more resources for elective surgery to go ahead,
    It also means 15 less deaths a day.

    Those are daily figures…. based on the Governments conservative figures which relies on people taking a slowly slowly approach to the easing of restrictions and there is no great “jubilee” attitude…

    Maybe our opinions on Public Health differ Marco, but even if your figure of 15% less transmission with mask use was correct, then in my opinion the evidence clearly shows it is the right thing to do for public health.

    “Matt – the 100k cases per day is a projection not something that has actually happened. Many such projections have turned out to be wrong. ”
    Which projections have been wrong Marco, because all the ones I have studied have been broadly correct, and, we actually already have higher hospital admissions than the model had forecast……

  • Other than having an opinion , I’m not sure what Mr Marco’s qualifications in public health are. I think I prefer the research at Oxford University by Professor Melinda Mills.

    Oxford COVID-19 study: face masks and coverings work – act …https://www.ox.ac.uk › news › 2020-07-08-oxford-cov… Cloth face coverings are effective in protecting the wearer and those around them​. ·

    “A comprehensive study, the report investigates the effectiveness of different face mask types and coverings, including an international comparison of policies and behavioural factors underlying usage. “Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Centre and author of the study, says, ‘The evidence is clear that people should wear masks to reduce virus transmission and protect themselves, with most countries recommending the public to wear them”.

  • Jayne mansfield 15th Jul '21 - 6:20pm

    @ Marco,
    One of my typos was unforgivable. The evidence review by the National Academy of Sciences of America that I referred you to undertook the evidence review on mask wearing and the covid pandemic in january 2021 not 2019.

    May I take up your point that mask wearing makes is potentially dangerous if it makes people feel safer than they should feel. Actually these arguments have been raised before , motor bike helmets, seat belts etc and studies found the fear of ‘risk compensatory ‘ behaviour’ thsta people would neglect other measures were unfounded Populations studies found that this was not the case . Useful harm prevention tools ned to be accompanied. Mask wearing with clear messaging ( something of which our government cannot be accused) Mask wearing is positively correlated with other preventative measures.

    All this is in the evidence review.

    I really don’t want to enter in a long debate with you Marco, I remember the painful dialogues we had when you were promoting the work of Professor Gupta and herd immunity, and my vision is just not up to staring at a computer screen for too long.

    All I will say, is that mask wearing appears to be related to a person’s estimation of risk, and it is the attempts by some to persuade others that the risk during this pandemic is neither great or enduing that I see as dangerous. I suggest you read the full report. including the sociological sections. Research often throws up results that are counter intuitive.

    @ Glenn,
    I have a uterus, but I am not prone to hysteria.

  • Jayne Mansfield
    I was using hysteria in the modern wider sense describing headless chicken panic and overreaction rather than in the old gender specific pseudoscientific one. Words change meaning overtime.

  • Marco 13th Jul ’21 – 11:06pm:
    There is a lack of evidence to support or reject mask wearing as hardly any studies have been done in the context of a pandemic.

    This research paper tabulates 11 of them…

    ‘Effectiveness of Mask Wearing to Control Community Spread of SARS-CoV-2’ [February 2021]:
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2776536

    During the pandemic, the scientific evidence has increased. Compelling data now demonstrate that community mask wearing is an effective nonpharmacologic intervention to reduce the spread of this infection, especially as source control to prevent spread from infected persons, but also as protection to reduce wearers’ exposure to infection. […]

    Epidemiological investigations have helped quantify the benefit of mask wearing to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (Table; Supplement). […]

    Similar to the principle of herd immunity for vaccination, the greater the extent to which the intervention—mask wearing in this case—is adopted by the community, the larger the benefit to each individual member. The prevalence of mask use in the community may be of greater importance than the type of mask worn. […]

    With the emergence of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants, it is even more important to adopt widespread mask wearing as well as to redouble efforts with use of all other nonpharmaceutical prevention measures until effective levels of vaccination are achieved nationally.

  • @ Jayne Mansfield

    “when you were promoting the work of Professor Gupta”

    You mean the Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at Oxford, author of numerous pieces of research, whose team is working on a universal flu vaccine who actually predicted a winter surge in COVID despite smears saying otherwise and who you would almost certainly hold up as a leading expert if she was telling you what you wanted to hear?

    @ David Raw, Jeff – Thank you for a link to actual research. I will look at it.

  • @ Matt – The incorrect predictions were the projections of likely COVID deaths by Imperial College in March 2020, the Whitty/Vallance graphs of winter cases/mortality and various predictions in a surge of cases/hospitalisations/deaths if schools were reopened.

    You mention “long COVID” but the symptoms of that are so broad is it not possible to say it definitely exists or is caused by COVID. Furthermore, 98% of sufferers recover after 12 weeks. Post viral syndrome is common with other viruses.

    The NHS should not base its non-COVID work on how many people are in hospital with COVID. The reason hospitals are under pressure is a backlog of people who didn’t get adequate heathcare during lockdown.

  • @Marco

    That is the biggest load of covid denial trash I have heard.

    Those models that you speak of where what would happen if we did not lock down, so lets not stretch the truth, the Government introduced many of the measures that were recommended to contain the spread.
    Considering how many fatalities the UK suffered in the first year alone from covid and non-covid with lockdowns and mitigation measures, I fail to see how even you can not acknowledge just how bad it would have been.

    “You mention “long COVID” but the symptoms of that are so broad is it not possible to say it definitely exists or is caused by COVID. ”
    Right, so even though it is being reported by thousands of people globally and has been studied there’s no proof it exists lol, sounds like the same kind of waffle from those who deny covid exits in the first place and it is just the flu.

    “The NHS should not base its non-COVID work on how many people are in hospital with COVID. The reason hospitals are under pressure is a backlog of people who didn’t get adequate heathcare during lockdown.”

    Do you have any understanding of the workings of a hospital??? There are not an infinite number of ICU Beds, We had to expand the capacity of ICU wards by converting “Surgical wards” that means less elective surgery being carried out.
    Then there is the fact that more and more patients were requiring oxygen support, that put a huge amount of pressure on the hospitals infrastructure to deliver oxygen, they had to change protocols on what was an acceptable level of oxygen stats to keep people alive in order to keep up with demand…..so again, resulting in more elective surgery needing to be put off.
    And last, but not least, the most important that people like yourself just love to brush over. It is near on impossible to keep covid out of other hospital wards due to the high transmissibility and it being an airborne virus. This puts many vulnerable patients at risk, including those needing transplants and cancer treatment. Having high levels of covid in the community and in hospitals is what caused this procedures to be delayed, not because hospitals chose to treat covid over other diseases……but hey dont let facts get in the way of things.

    I suggest you do your research Marco, as it appears that you are relying on becoming informative from social media propaganda and the sun comments section

  • Furthermore, as for you Professor Gupta

    Scientists where pleading for a full lockdown in the Autumn, but Boris had a meeting with Professor Gupta and she tried to persuade them to change course – and to impose more targeted measures to contain the virus. , this was despite modelling showing that deaths would rise to 200 a day by mid November, these forecasts were out and we actually started to hit 500 deaths a day by mid November and we all know the tragic numbers we saw in January when they peaked at 1823.

    So, I think history speaks for itself and although this has been tragic the number of lives we have lost due to this incompetent government trying to get away with half baked measures, things would have been far far worse if we had of followed the likes of Professor Gupta’s recommendations

  • Marco 15th Jul ’21 – 8:06pm:
    You mean the Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at Oxford, author of numerous pieces of research, whose team is working on a universal flu vaccine who actually predicted a winter surge in COVID despite smears saying otherwise…

    Here’s what Professor Gupta said in May last year…

    ‘Sunetra Gupta: Covid-19 is on the way out’ [21st. May 2020]:
    https://unherd.com/2020/05/oxford-doubles-down-sunetra-gupta-interview/

    The author of the Oxford model defends her view that the virus has passed through the UK’s population. […]

    …in her first major interview since the Oxford study was published in March, Professor Gupta is only more convinced that her original opinion was correct. […]

    “In almost every context we’ve seen the epidemic grow, turn around and die away — almost like clockwork.” […]

    Asked what her updated estimate for the Infection Fatality Rate is, Professor Gupta says, “I think that the epidemic has largely come and is on its way out in this country so I think it would be definitely less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000.” That would be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01%.

  • @Marco
    March 2020
    Coronavirus may have infected half of UK population — Oxford study | Financial Times (ft.com)
    Professor Gupta claims uk has already reached herd immunity

    “The new coronavirus may already have infected far more people in the UK than scientists had previously estimated — perhaps as much as half the population — according to modelling by researchers at the University of Oxford.
    “We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys — antibody testing — to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,” Prof Gupta said. The research presents a very different view of the epidemic to the modelling at Imperial College London, which has strongly influenced government policy. “I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” said Prof Gupta.

    History has shown she was wrong then

    July 2020
    UK may have sufficient herd immunity to COVID-19, says Indian-origin academic’s study | World News,The Indian Express

    “The UK population may already have developed sufficient levels of herd immunity required to prevent a feared second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, notes an Oxford University study involving Indian-origin academic Professor Sunetra Gupta.
    In a paper titled ‘The impact of host resistance on cumulative mortality and the threshold of herd immunity for SARS-CoV-2’, Gupta along with three other Oxford University colleagues notes that the herd immunity threshold (HIT) required to prevent a resurgence of the deadly coronavirus may have already been built up due to exposure to seasonal coronaviruses, such as the common cold.”

    History has shown she was wrong yet again and we had a devastating 2nd wave worse than the 1st

    Johnson followed the advice of Gupta in the Autumn against the recommendations of Sage and the rest of the scientific community and instead of full lockdowns went for “targeted measures” and look where that got us in the Winter.

    So, I think I will give more credence and have more faith towards professor ferguson and the CMO and CSO for now Marco

  • Marco
    It’s pointless arguing. This is what happens when a great chunk of the population craves the dubious “protection” of Big Papa state. It’s presented as “selflessness” but really it’s just resentment and fear given vent. Better to campaign to remove furloughs and raise tax so people understand that it all comes with a price tag.

  • I will never stop thinking people like Glenn and Marco are wrong, as someone who identifies as liberal some of the most important things I hold to my core are, public health, poverty and our personal responsibilities to ourselves but ALSO to each other.

    It has become very clear that covid has already disproportionately affected the poorer sections of society and the Bame community, maybe because they have already have disproportionately more underlying health conditions or due to living in overcrowded accommodation and tend to live in multigenerational households.

    Disability and long term health conditions are one of the fastest routes into poverty and inequality. Having a parent with a disability or long term health condition can go on to affect the life chances of the children and generations to come.

    Covid is ticking time bomb for causing long term health conditions from lung, heart and kidney damage to neurological issues. The latest uk study has shown that 4 in 10 people between the ages of 19-49 developed problems with their kidneys lungs or other organs , this study looked at over 70,000 cases of people who suffered covid in the first wave.

    If we had have followed the path that some people advocated at the start of this pandemic “to allow this virus to rip through the population” The health system would have been at serious risk of collapse, Public health is already going to take decades to recover and that is with the mitigation measures that we took.

    So no, I will never stop calling for measures to protect public health and the most vulnerable people in society, because if I did that, I do not believe I could continue to call myself Liberal and should look to another party

  • Nonconformistradical 16th Jul '21 - 12:40pm

    “I will never stop thinking people like Glenn and Marco are wrong, as someone who identifies as liberal some of the most important things I hold to my core are, public health, poverty and our personal responsibilities to ourselves but ALSO to each other.”
    Seconded.

    @Glenn
    I’m certainly not craving the “protection” of Big Papa state. I have no faith in the present version of it as operating in our country.

    I am making my own decision that I have a duty to protect others. Given that vaccination isn’t guaranteed 100% effective in preventing one from catching Covid I will wear a mask – the disposable sort – when anywhere where what I breath out might affect someone else, to try to minimise the risk to others.

  • I’ll never stop thinking that the advocates of lockdowns, heavy handed state control and authoritarianism copied 16 months ago in a blind panic and amid a social media hail storm from the one party, concentration/re-education slave labour camp using, repressive, totalitarian police state of Communist China have any right to claim the moral high ground. At best, you could put the drive down to the road to hell being paved with good intentions. As I said, anyone who supports it should be willing to pay the price of higher taxes, lower living standards, higher unemployment, worse services, damaged education and all the rest of it, including cuts to overseas aid, without complaint. You’ve got what you wanted.

  • @Glenn – your comparison of the Boris lockdown to what the Chinese government did in Wuhan, is laughable. Particularly since reports indicate the Chinese lockdown of Wuhan actually worked…

  • Glenn 16th Jul ’21 – 1:15pm:
    …anyone who supports [lockdowns, etc.] should be willing to pay the price of higher taxes, lower living standards, higher unemployment, worse services, damaged education and all the rest of it, including cuts to overseas aid, without complaint.

    The evidence shows that is a false dichotomy…

    ‘Which countries have protected both health and the economy in the pandemic?’ [September 2020]:
    https://ourworldindata.org/covid-health-economy

    Responses to the pandemic have often been framed in terms of striking a balance between protecting people’s health and protecting the economy. There is an assumption that countries face a trade-off between these two objectives. But is this assumption true? […]

    Comparing the COVID-19 death rate with the latest GDP data, we in fact see the opposite: countries that have managed to protect their population’s health in the pandemic have generally also protected their economy too. […]

    Contrary to the idea of a trade-off, we see that countries which suffered the most severe economic downturns – like Peru, Spain and the UK – are generally among the countries with the highest COVID-19 death rate.

    And the reverse is also true: countries where the economic impact has been modest – like Taiwan, South Korea, and Lithuania – have also managed to keep the death rate low. […]

    …among countries with available GDP data, we do not see any evidence of a trade-off between protecting people’s health and protecting the economy. Rather the relationship we see between the health and economic impacts of the pandemic goes in the opposite direction. As well as saving lives, countries controlling the outbreak effectively may have adopted the best economic strategy too.

    ‘Deloitte: More virus equals less GDP’ [September 2020]:
    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/09/deloitte-more-virus-equals-less-gdp/

    Deloitte Access Economics Senior Economist Sheraan Underwood noted: “The underlying equation is simple. The greater the success against the virus, the greater the success in protecting economies against the pandemic.

  • @ Matt – With respect I don’t have time to fully respond to all of your very lengthy posts so will just focus on the following:

    NHS – I would argue that the NHS gave over too much capacity to COVID based on worst case scenario modelling. For example the Nightingale hospitals were very under-used and they could have utilised far more for non-complex care.

    GP surgeries were also notoriously difficult to contact and it is not clear why as they were not being used as COVID wards.

    This was compounded by fear based messaging which discouraged patients from accessing care they needed.

    The result is that people didn’t receive the treatment they needed for example in the UK the number of people undergoing prostatectomies for prostate cancer fell by 43% whereas in Sweden they only fell by 3% as Professor Gordon Wishart explains: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/lockdown-didn-t-save-lives-from-cancer

  • Jayne mansfield 16th Jul '21 - 4:46pm

    @ Glenn,
    I know you didn’t mean it in a gender specific way. I just couldn’t resist.

    I just wonder if your frequent use of the term hysteria isn’t far below the surface of those who can’t face the dangers of the pandemic, and need to underestimate or even deny the dangers posed . There may be other explanations but I cannot understand why anyone would cling to, for example, discredited scientific theories.

    Hysteria is a derogatory term. I would only apply in the context of the pandemic to Mr Johnson and certain of his MPs , who announce knee jerk U turns when the stress of seeing the results of their sea saw policies becomes too much for them. Herd immunity, lockdown, herd immunity again until….

    There remains a blind spot when it comes to the the evidence that there is no dichotomy between dealing with the pandemic effectively, by robust and sustained methods, and an effective return to a healthy economy.

  • Hysteria is one of a number of words, other examples being moron, stupid, idiot, that used to have specific medical meanings. The latter examples have become common chides aimed at the incompetents and the foolish. Hysteria is used to describe inexplicable, erratic and irrational behaviour. Most obviously, as in mass hysteria. This is what I think we’re living through and it’s why I used it. I do not support the actions of our government and I will not pretend to think well of those who do support it. Put it this way, me thinking it is the result of hysteria prevents me from seeing it as the result of malicious and vindictive intent by an enraged mob. One is an excusable loss of control in the face of fear, the other is stirred up malevolence.

  • @Marco

    The nightingale hospitals were pointless gestures, it was the Governments way of trying to show that they were doing something and had things under control. T
    Problem is there were not infinite number of ICU staff who could divert from main hospitals to Nightingales.
    They would have been far better used to transfer elderly and convalescent patients too before sending them into care homes untested” or as rehabilitation centres for recovering covid patients who have been discharged from ICU but still requiring medical assistance as they have not recovered enough to be discharged entirely.

    But none of the changes the number of patients who were in hospitals in mechanical ventilation beds, that had an effective on the amount of elective surgery that can take place and Hospitals always need some capacity for accidents and life threatening emergencies.

    As for GP surgeries, I agree with you, I cannot understand why they stopped face to face appointments, they could and should have continued to do this as it could have been done relatively safely. Many thousands of people will have developed serious medical conditions that have been missed because of this policy. Face to face appointments are invaluable, I recall going to the Dr’s myself a few years back what for I cannot recall, however, there was a student Dr working alongside the GP at the time who noticed a red-mark and swelling on the back of one of my legs, I was not in pain and had not noticed it, I was sent straight to the Hospital DVT clinic where it was confirmed I had a clot and diagnosed with DVT. My partner had also been to the Dr’s for something else entirely, but the GP noticed something was not right and performed an ECG there and then, he was then sent straight to Hospital and a couple of days later fitted with a stent due to a blocked artery.
    So on GP’s, I am in entire agreement with you. But like I said that changes nothing with the position that Hospitals were in and are likely to be in again in the coming weeks if the latest forecasts are anything to go by

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