Restricting Social Interaction: “Lockdowns and Tiers”
The UK government is fond of telling us, when steadily stripping away our personal liberties
“We know Lockdowns are a blunt tool”, or occasionally “Tiers are a blunt tool”.
Yet they never make any attempt to refine them.
If you completely isolate people from each other, you will stop the spread of a virus.
Pretty obvious. Unarguable.
If you have a certain amount of social interaction, expect the virus to spread to some degree, if you have the interaction we are used to as a society in the UK, a very infectious virus will spread very easily.
“It’s not rocket science”.
If your health system is in danger of being overwhelmed, there is a justification for trying to reduce social interaction.
As a libertarian, I would like to see this attempted in the first instance by issuing advice and voluntary measures, asking people to change their behaviour for a period of time, in certain key ways.
I accept that this may not work rapidly enough sometimes, and so it may be justifiable, in extreme circumstances, to “forcibly restrict” certain social interactions.
However I expect the removal of our personal freedoms to be limited to the ones which make a real difference. At the moment they are clearly “a hodge podge” of some which do, and many which clearly don’t.
And I expect them to be imposed for the shortest possible time.
The government has a variety of tools available to it to attempt to limit our social interaction, laws, guidelines, rules, restrictions, “shaming people”, and fear.
It likes to group these together and call them Tiers when used locally, or Lockdowns when applied to a whole nation.
After almost a year of doing this, it still appears to have no real idea which social interactions are spreading the virus the most, and which hardly at all.
Equally, it seems extremely reluctant to calculate the cost, to the economy, and to the mental and physical health of the population, of restricting each social interaction.
“Lockdowns and Tiers” consist of a variety of measures, which aim to restrict a variety of different social interactions, almost certainly some of these interactions are incredibly damaging to certain groups within our population, yet are contributing very little in slowing virus spread,
– whilst others are not particularly damaging to anyine, but making quite a big difference.
Yet there is no effort to find out “which is which”.
This must never be allowed to continue.
Before measures are taken locally or nationally in future, each measure needs to have a “Cost Based Analysis” performed.
Each and every measure needs to be properly assessed as to how much it helps prevent virus spread, and how much damage it results in to the population, and our economy.
There must no more of this “blunt tool” nonsense.
Here are a few examples….
We know young children neither suffer from Covid-19 to any significant degree, nor spread it to anyone else. There was therefore never any justification to close Primary schools.
Young people attending universities and colleges, unfortunately, very likely spread it a great a deal. Secondary schools, somewhere in between.
Yet we open and close them “en masse”, as if there is no difference. It’s a nonsense. It’s not “blunt”. It’s plain stupid.
The closure of schools for an extended period has led to a huge rise in mental illness in young children, and massive problems for families who have to try to educate young children at home. All for pretty much no reason.
We have closed golf clubs and prevented people from taking part in “distanced” outdoors activities like fishing, when we know there is little or no chance in people taking part in these outdoor pastimes contributing to the spread of the virus.
Privately, almost no one would deny any of the above it obviously true. But if they try to point it out in public, they will immediately be labelled “a Covid denier”.
No, they are simply trying to prevent pointless, damaging stupidity from continuing.
The government has closed “non-essential shops”, resulting in more people packing into our supermarkets to buy so called “non-essential items” (like clothes, toys, books…)
This could well be leading to more spread, not less, if they were momentarily honest, the government would admit they don’t really know. Perhaps more disturbingly, they appear not to care.
Meanwhile unemployment rises inexorably, as smaller stores gradually disappear from our Hugh Streets.
And of course people get into the habit of ordering everything online. Great News for online retailers.
You may have heard the phrase: “The cure is now worse than the disease”, when referring to Lockdowns.
Meaning more people’s lives are likely to be lost because of them, than are being saved by them.
I don’t like this phrase personally for one big reason:
– Lockdowns, imposing Tiers, restricting social interaction in various ways, is not “a cure” for Covid-19.
They are simply delays. “Sticking plasters” at best.
The most that can be hoped for is that they delay the spread of the virus until vaccines can take the place of social isolation.
But social isolation has a huge cost.
To the economy of the nation, and because the government feels it has to use fear as a key way of maintaining compliance to restrictions,
– to the nation’s physical and mental health.
We are now in “Lockdown 3”, with no end date being even offered, and have also endured “various Tiers” for many more months.
The evidence indicates each successive lockdown is reducing virus spread a little slower than the last, because after nearly a year, and with no end date in sight at the time of writing (Jan 2021), people have simply had enough.
We do not (yet) live in a totalitarian state, so heavy fines can be imposed on those who don’t comply, if they are caught, and financial incentives can be made available to encourage compliance,
– but the government doesn’t have sufficient army or police to strictly enforce all the new laws.
If Lockdowns are considered “not to be working”, the other option immediately put forward is to make them tougher. Add extra restrictions, or try to enforce the existing ones more rigorously.
There are now so many new restrictions that most people don’t know what they are. If you keep introducing new ones, worse still, new ones that quite obviously will have very little effect on reducing the spread of Covid-19 (eg wearing masks outdoors in the open air)
– you are likely to create a school of thought amongst the public that “these restrictions are nonsense”,
– and they will start to ignore most of them, if not all of them.
The current restrictions on families meeting up outside, in a park, or their own garden, I suspect is actually causing greater spread. Not less.
Outdoors people can be seen, indoors they can’t.
So rather than meet up in complete safely outdoors, where they could potentially be seen, and fined, people are meeting up indoors instead. Where they definitely won’t be. But are far more likely to transmit Covid-19 between themselves.
I would suggest it would be much better to just tell people “meet your family outdoors whenever you like, just don’t go hugging and kissing them for the moment“.
Presumably the UK government believes this message is too complicated, and/or risks people ignoring the “please don’t hug and kiss each other” part.
So it tells them to Stay At Home instead.
“Insulting”. Is the word I would use. “Stupid and Insulting”, are three.
If you treat people like children, they will tend to act like them, and in the above case, start meeting up indoors instead.
Worried that compliance might be dropping, and not wanting to add even more restrictions, trying to to scare the population even more appears to be “the go to” move for this government.
They use selective, outdated or inflated statistics, and encourage our media outlets to transmit “live from the Intensive Care Unit”. Hoping that seeing someone struggle for breath will persuade them to obey all the existing guidelines, rules and laws.
All that happens is the people who are already extremely scared, get a little bit more scared, the people who are not complying with the rules, simply don’t watch these programs.
I see people almost every day now who are “scared stupid”. Petrified. I talk to them in my local park, Socially Distanced of course…
– today (29th January 2021), a lady whose 92 year old mother is so scared she hasn’t left her house for almost a year.
She’s had her “two jabs”, been vaccinated, but she spends her days reading about the pandemic, and watching scrolling death counts on News channels. And of course the “live from the Intensive Care Unit” feeds.
From what I was told, I very much doubt she will ever leave her house again. She now has an all-consuming fear which will likely never subside.
Many young people are equally petrified, they see no hope for any kind of “normal life” returning.
I see more young people walking around, alone, in parks, wearing masks, than older people.
Yesterday, a teenager, walking on her own, wearing a facemask, almost ran off the path I was walking on towards her, with what can only be described as “pure fear” in her eyes. She pinned herself against the fence, and I walked passed her with probably 3m at least between us.
I heard a story about a teacher who reprimanded a teenager in school for not wearing her mask, saying “do want to die next ?”
Statistically a fourteen year old has around the same chance of dying from Covid-19 as being hit by lightning,
Politicians, teachers, our mass media, all appear to believe that “the more fear they can generate in the population the better”. “No limits”.
No wonder suicide rates are rocketing, particularly amongst the young.
Sadly the stupidity, “the collective madness”, doesn’t end with endless fear generation.
The whole focus of the government since March 2020, has been to get people to stay at home, which during Winter months, means indoors.
Precisely where the virus spreads.
Outdoor spread, if people maintain a 2m so called “Social Distance”, basically doesn’t happen.
Consequently, in my opinion ‘Stay At Home’ was the stupidest advice any government has ever given.
Study after scientific study has shown that Covid-19 transmits very easily indoors, particular where ventilation is poor, but with great difficulty, if at all, outdoors. If people stay 2m apart they will not contract it.
This is the reason why we saw no infection spikes from packed beaches over the Summer of 2020, or from the huge BLM marches.
I suggest a far better message would be the exact opposite of the government’s current message in the UK,
– ‘get outdoors, stay outdoors’.
Particularly if you are sharing your living spaces with one or more people who work in a hospital, or a Care Home, or anywhere where there is a lot of Covid-19 circulating…. and you are perhaps “not in the first flush of youth”, or have underlying health issues,
– the least time you can spend indoors the better.
Socially Distances outdoors you will be completely safe from the virus. Being outdoors helps build up your immune system, crucial when you have a virus like Covid-19 around which attacks people with weak ones.
Indoors we are mostly inactive, we tend to eat and drink too much. As a result we are becoming, inevitably, more and more obese, something we know is a major factor in getting seriously ill and potentially dying if we do contract Covid-19.
Yet still the government tells us all to Stay At Home, at almost “all costs”.
Get outdoors, stay outdoors. As much as you can, as long as you can.