Sunday Blog 20: One Metre Or Two?

One metre is essential and soon.

We are losing sight of what we are trying to do. We cannot give absolute priority to saving life until we have the power to do so. It is right to lock everybody up and shut everything down for a short period when, in an unforeseen emergency, that gives the state space to take remedial action to deal with the threat. We did not spend the whole of WWII in air raid shelters, only when the threat was extreme with bombs and missiles overhead. We all took considerable risks going about our daily business. 67,000 civilians died, many in or near their homes.

Locking down for Covid 19 was necessary because the state had failed to prepare, taken wrong decisions and had lost control. It was necessary when the risk was extreme. But it cannot last until the danger is over. The state now has a  pretty impressive arsenal of remedial measures which enable risk management at an acceptable level and provide for special restrictions  to suppress regional or local spikes. There will certainly be many more cases and sadly more deaths but, until there is a vaccine, that cannot be stopped. We have to take precautions and accept risk, but understand that life cannot be lived six feet apart in all circumstances and the economy itself will essentially collapse if it continues to be imposed, as will vital services which define the difference between civilisation and mayhem.

The government  has no option but to lift the two metre rule and reduce to one quite soon.  Hygiene measures and cleansing of public spaces and facilities will have to be ramped up, track and trace and all the other faltering pieces of pandemic infrastructure and planning must run like clockwork, masks should be worn in public. There is quite a list of unfamiliar behaviours and disciplines which will become the norm, until a vaccine either zaps the virus altogether, or reduces the risk to everyday levels. We have to face the facts that not only has the economy got to be restarted pronto, but we there follows the daunting task of rebuilding a new one.

Because the old model with its greedy and selfish values is entirely shot to ribbons.


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