I don’t want this blogsite to sound like I have a hate complex about Matt Hancock the Health Secretary but he’s doing his damnedest to make me react against his policies. This time he’s threatened an exercise ban if people continue to flout his directions. Whoa Mr H, can we just take a time out here to reflect on this pronouncement.
As I understand it the cv-19 virus is primarily spread by people with the contagion coughing, sneezing and spluttering directly on others, hence the need to say apart at least 2m. Secondly it’s passed on by the same people having the virus on their hands etc and passing it to surfaces which other people can touch and become contaminated. Hence the need to wash hands fastidiously. However it is not considered to be an airborne virus which is why the Govt’s health advisers here don’t advocate we need to wear face masks. Being apart 2m is sufficient protection. If I’m wrong tell me.
And for weeks we’ve been told that to go out and exercise is ok and welcomed. But now Hancock is threatening us with police sanctions if we ignore his instruction to stay indoors. I perfectly understand and support the ‘do not spread’ policy. For heavens sake I have a Down’s Syndrome daughter R who lives in London with 3 colleagues who we’ve been requested not to visit for fear of viral transmission. That’s very hard for us but even harder for my daughter who is struggling to get her head round the issue. Plus my other daughter E had her birthday this last week and we had to pass on love, hugs, best wishes, presents and cards at a distance. And that was it. That was equally very hard for us. And my third daughter S is marooned in New York with my youngest grandchildren currently and we are worried shitless about their situation. And as you know I missed a true friend’s funeral just recently because of the no-travel directives. So nobody needs to lecture me about safe-distancing; Carol and I are following them to a T and feeling and hoping that these sacrifices will be justified and worthwhile.
That said Carol and I spend time every day walking out, weather permitting, especially because Carol has had a fairly recent knee replacement operation (thank god) and needs the exercise. And don’t we all? But after 2-3 weeks of doing the same lap around the block/round the local lake I’d like to explore wider.
But am I alone in thinking that stopping us from going outside is an instruction too far? Is the virus being used to limit our basic rights? Walking outside is one of life’s great freedoms, delivering physical and emotional goodness. I know some people are fuckwits but getting the police to stop people in their cars or require them not to sit on benches in parks is going to achieve what?
As I understand it the trains are still running (mostly empty except on the London underground), planes are still landing from places like Teheran, Italy, Spain and the Far East with no quarantine restrictions, and the Eurostar is still operating to Paris I think. Doesn’t this strike you as incoherent policy Mr H? I wouldn’t get so uppity but the leadings politicians and health experts issuing these guidelines plainly didn’t bother to follow them as the key players all got infected with the PM admitted to hospital today and the Scottish main health advisor having to resign, having being caught travelling to her second home. I mean, come on. Why should I pay good heed to what these people say?
But look I’m not trying to be irresponsible. And I don’t have the virus (so far as I know) but if we took a car ride to somewhere 2-3 miles away and took a stroll along a nature pathway with no other people around, is that a bad thing? I have to tell you that most days I pop to the supermarkets locally to top up on stuff and despite all the precautions etc it’s still almost impossible not to pass people within a few inches/feet passing down the aisles or stacking shelves etc. Yet that’s ok. But staying apart 2 metres or more in the countryside can be wrong somehow. The parks are necessary to all of us and need light policing, please.
I was reading over the weekend that Sweden has put its faith in its own experts and the people have bought into the concept of herd immunity not lockdown to win the fight against cv-19. They are allowing people to go about and businesses to stay open in the expectation that 60% of the population could be infected by mid-May, reaching herd immunity and that things can then go back to normal. They are taking care to look after the most vulnerable. So far (Sunday stats) they’d had around 6000 confirmed cases and 373 deaths. We’ve had over 50,000 tested positive and over 5000 deaths. I don’t know which direction is right; I just raise it.
I have a serious theory that early on Boris was tempted to follow this more liberal but careful policy but got dissuaded from it by medical advisors, with the effect that the lockdown strategy was imposed before equipment, facilities and processes were properly in place. So we are left with an increasingly ill and detached PM having to leave huge societal decisions to a Health Secretary grandstanding about footballers’ earnings and the ultimate stay indoors sanction, threatening us with ever tighter controls by the police. What strange times.
I’m just going to live my life sensibly.