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Who and what to believe?

June 23, 2020 9:32 PM

kfds (Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash)The much trailed relaxation of lock-down rules were duly unveiled today by the Prime Minister who ditched the 2 metre rule replacing it with one meter plus provided other mitigating measures are in place such as screening.. It was also announced that the hospitality and service industries such as hairdressers can re-open on 4 July which with come as a huge boost to the millions who work in these industries. It has been estimated for example that the reduced distancing will allow pubs to get back to 70% of old capacity compared to 30% under the old 2 meter rule.

Pressure from business and backbench Tory MPs has therefore been met and assuaged

You are left however, with the feeling that the economic argument may have won over public health concerns. With the country currently experiencing up to 4,300 Covid-19 infections a day and had no effective digital track-and-trace system in place , and research showing transmission of the virus was more likely to happen indoors, a number of scientists on the Governments advisory Board (SAGE) have expressed concern about the easing of restrictions

Prof John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: Relaxing the 2-metre rule at the same time as opening bars and restaurants does run the risk of allowing the epidemic to start to regain a foothold. These changes will have to be very carefully monitored and the NHS track-and-trace system will have to be working properly to help keep us safe."

Prof Susan Michie, a psychologist, cited research suggesting 97% of super-spreading events, with five or more transmissions, have taken place indoors.
She said that while the government was entitled to make a political decision - as Downing Street has indicated it has - it was important to be fully transparent, so the public could fully understand the risks and see whose advice it was relying on.

Only last week the World Health Organization said last week that they thought the UK should not lift any more restrictions. Other countries have 1 metre because they have other precautions and other systems in place that we don't have.

At today's final Press Conference Chris Whitty England's Chief Medical Officer said that a second spike is inevitable if people ignore the conditions that are supposed to apply to the lock-down being relaxed.
If people hear a distorted version of what's being said, that says 'this is all fine now, it's gone away' and start behaving in ways that they normally would have before this virus happened, yes, we will get an uptick for sure.
It is absolutely critical people stick to the guidance that has been given, it's a changed guidance for there are still very significant restrictions socially and there are very significant restrictions on business of different sorts
Maybe that is why initially only England is make the change to the social distancing rules as the other countries think it is too early

Easement will be extremely popular amongst many even allowing for the risk.

The Prime Minister has taken a political decision and left it to the good common sense of the English people to behave correctly and not to create conditions for the disease to flare up again. As a Liberal there is something to applaud in getting out of peoples way and letting people decide whether they wish to accept greater risk as a consequence of the freedom but if we are to avoid damage to the wider society people must be given the facts they need to make informed decisions. It is not clear this is the case at present

A recent opinion poll suggested 60% would not go into a pub or restaurant when they opened so maybe common sense will prevail

For us the biggest worry about the decision was in answer to a question from BBC's Laura Kuenssberg "You are taking a risk. Will you take responsibility if it goes wrong?"

Mr Johnson said Yes, of course I take responsibility for these decisions,

History is littered with examples where he hasn't taken responsibility in his personal or political life for decisions he has made not least during this crisis Lets hope this isn't another example!