Unlocked

I’ve been thinking a bit recently about how we get ourselves out of this, and the media are starting to talk about it too.

It seems to me that, purely thinking in terms of not contracting COVID-19, the best plan is just to have people isolate for as long as possible.

But I don’t think that can be the only priority. People are going stir crazy in their own houses. It is variable, it is definitely affecting some more than others, but it is there. I have also had some of my clients say to me why should I isolate when so-and-so clearly isn’t? And, I’ve seen that with my own neighbours, so I can understand their frustration. People like to say we’re all in the same boat, but I don’t think that is particularly true.

Then, of course, there is the economic impact of most people being unable to work.

So I think if you are a government, you have to strike a balance. I think you need to look at what you want to achieve, and act accordingly. I think in the first instance, you want to try and foster an environment where people will willingly stay home. Discourage gatherings – so pubs, restaurants, coffee shops stay closed, but at the same time allow things like DIY stores and garden centres to open up, just so that people have something to do while remaining at home.

I saw a news clip from Italy, I think, which talked about book stores being opened. That sounds reasonable – give people the means to go out and purchase a book, which they can then take home to read. Same goes for CDs and DVDs. I’d also look sector by sector, and start opening things up, provided a safe distance can be maintained from other people. HMRC (our state’s tax collectors) already has a list of sectors, because you need to choose one from the list when you start up a company, so I don’t think it’s too big an ask for (elected) politicians to go through that list one-by-one.

Things like schools don’t come top of my list – I don’t really see a big difference between a child matriculating at 16 or at 17 (it seems utterly selfish that some people complain about losing a year, when other people’s whole lives are at stake), but I am aware that putting younger children into school will free up their parents from childcare duties, and allow them to return to work. Places like doctors’ surgeries I’d leave as long as possible – after all which of us wants to sit in a Waiting Room at the moment?

But there’s a kicker here. If you’re going to open any business, you have to make sure you’re able to test the workers, at the very least, so you know when something has started and are able to stamp it out. These people will maybe come into contact with hundreds of other people each day, so will remain at high risk. And, I’m not just talking about, say, health workers, here. We should also recognise that even people like supermarket workers are exposing themselves to risk every time they go to work. And have done so for the duration. I don’t want to get into nonsense about who is the most vital, but it covers several sectors. The common thread is that these people are helping other people, not just helping themselves. These people need to know asap if they become infected, if the aim is to safely reignite our economies again.

Which brings me to… testing in the UK. I presume we’re pretty typical, we are all competing in the same marketplace after all. I’ve already posted about this, at the start of the crisis the Prime Minister put a number of desired tests at 25,000 per day. We couldn’t even get halfway there before his health minister raise the stakes to 100,000 per day, by the end of April. It is arguable whether we got there, but it was just a conjured-up number anyway. We’re pretty much headed in the right direction, but even that number means it will be almost 3 years before everybody gets a test. But not so long ago, it was 18 years!

But I don’t particularly want to knock our government. I do feel that in general, BoJo has always had this groundless optimism – optimism is the one thing he has going for him, but there don’t really seem to be any concrete ideas behind him. Things will get better but I’m not quite sure how – and so it is no surprise that, having now been elected, his government echoes him. But… the media are already asking uncomfoprtable questions, making comparisons with how other countries have fared, so these things will doubtless come out as time goes by. And, we can bypass the govenrment filters and find out our own information, if we feel they’re not fully transparent.

My gut feel is that the next steps might well be resignations. I believe that politicians (not just in the UK) value their economies more than anything, so they will be wanting to lift things, when the scientists still feel it is unsafe. I think that’s going to be inevitable, whether it is a week or a year. It is already happening in some places. And the scientists will have to choose whether to say fuck this and walk away, or to stay and be quiet. But my experience has been that workers in the public sector are nowhere near as sharp as their private sector counterparts, however, so they might be worried just because if they lose their job, they might struggle to find another. We will see.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Formerly Stroke Survivor UK. Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

19 thoughts on “Unlocked”

  1. I actually think that apart from the few idiots the public has dealt very well with the lockdown. I think that most people are so afraid of catching this horrible virus that they are willing to comply with what the government has asked us to do. I read yesterday that a certain percentage of people, and I can’t quite remember the number but it was quite a few, were not happy with going out too much again, even once restrictions are lifted. So in a sense people are making their own decisions and the way I see it is that they are making the right ones in order to try and contain this virus. I believe that people will continue to make their own decisions but it is sad that some are spoiling it for others by being absolutely stupid. I personally do not mind the lockdown as long as I can at least get out in the car for a little while each day. In my own particular position there is very little that I can do at home and so the hours stretch endlessly in front of me in complete darkness. I think that as long as we can have things to do at home we are able to bear the lockdown for the sake of limiting the effects of this virus. I agree with you that as long as rules are rigidly adhered to, some places could open again soon. Though personally I would be too afraid to go, but then I am in the shielded group and so have a slightly different perspective on it. I presume that being in that group would mean that we would not actually be included in the people who are allowed out but I am happy with that to preserve my own life. The decisions that have to be made Are plagued with ifs buts and maybes because there is so much that we do not know about this virus and even the scientists don’t always agree with each other. We are in an unknown land, unknown territory and that can feel quite frightening. I would not like to be the government having to make all these decisions whilst not knowing very much about this virus at the present moment

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is some responsibility on us too, I think. Not all scientists agree on something like climate change either, and yet most of us have made our conclusions. As regards the government, I think the best government makes the thought process sufficiently transparent that people make the correct decision for themselves. It probably actually helps that this lot will lean naturally toward being libertarian. The other option, as I was discussing with my friend in South Africa, is a government which bans the sale of tobacco on the pretext of the virus. Go figure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh crikey. I had not heard of that. I agree with you entirely. We are not children, though I do think that in the beginning, some people did not realise the true serioysness of this virus, or they thought, as is often the case, even with getting cancer – it won’t be me. Problem is, it can be you, or anybody. I think people have got that message now, and making their own decisions. I believe that usually they are responsible ones. Like us – after becoming almost suicidal, mainly because of my own condition, making things tobdo at home impossible – we took the decision after a lot of heartache, to go for a drive each day. It is harming no one as we do not get out of the car and the windows are alwats closed. So yes, people will make their own decisions. We cannot have a police state, and it was beginning to get a bit like that, certainly around here. It will be interesting to see what happens next. I hope it is for the good.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a surreal experience yesterday when three by-law enforcement SUV’s drove on to our street and three black garbed, tough looking by-law officers jumped out and started walking the street before disappearing behind some walking trails in the back. It was a beautifully sunny day and our street comprises about 70% seniors who were respecting social/physical distancing. This seemed like an attempt at intimidation by the local municipality……it’s a beautiful spring day lets make sure people don’t start to enjoy themselves.

    Like

    1. This kind of thing fits my definition of terrorism. I must admit that I have no reason to go out, lockdown or not I spend most of my days on the sofa, but if I were more mobile it’d be worth testing it, letting the courts deal with it afterwards. The bottom line, the police have to obey the law just like I do. I am just watching the news and some of our politicians are starting to make those same illiberal noises, so I’m not sure this will go away quietly.
      There was news over the weekend that 9,000 on-the-spot fines have been issued because of the lockdown. They are just $15 or £30 or something, but you can elect to go to court if you disagree with it. They made a point of saying that just one person had been fined multiple times, for repeat “offences”. They did not release data on what any of these fines were for.

      Like

  3. No matter which country one governs you will always come into criticism from some quarter. Every government has made mistakes and given this set of circumstances it’s hardly surprising.

    Rightly or wrongly I think our government has done okay so far. As the ministers keep telling us they have followed the scientific advice. But you know what, I just wish someone would say thank you and acknowledge what a bloody awful job they have right now and how well they and the medical/scientific advisors have dealt with it.

    Oh, I don’t know about you but the journalists are driving me nuts with their repetitive and negative questioning.

    Oh, dear, sorry didn’t mean to go on and on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I think you’re right. I think they could have done a lot worse and, whether they could have done better, only time will tell. Well, I’m sure they *could * have done better, but that will be true of every country. I think air travel and people’s overall mobility have played a big part here and the most mobile countries have been hit the hardest.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It is so challenging when our “leader” is so inept. Our governor is doing his best, but I feel he is succumbing to complaints and opening things too quickly. As one who is older and compromised medically, I am in no hurry to go out and risk exposure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As businesses are opened, the number of cases will jump, if it is too early. It is whether out health services can cope with that jump. will be the issue. I certainly plan on staying home during the first month of openings, but again, that is a conclusion I came to on my own. Beyond that, whatever somebody like BoJo (or Trump, if I were in the US) says isn’t really relevant. I’m hopeful that a month will be long enough to see the fresh numbers or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Right on the nose, I would say!
    But – fighting a world pandemic, we all need to use our heads a bit and there will be things we just cannot do or participate in – like soccer matches, open air concerts and those things and it does apply to absolutely all of us for a limited time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you do what you can in terms of keeping society safe, so I would absolutely go along with you as regards public events. Beyond that, though, I think it is incumbent on the individual needs to assess the risks for themselves, and be savvy about them. For example, when Trump suggests injecting dettol – if anybody is silly enough to go and do that, they deserve everything coming to them. There’s a limit to what the state can do.

      Like

            1. I think if I were there, I’d be looking to vote for somebody wanting to change the system, so somebody could not become president on a minority vote. The thing I find scary is that when he was elected, he had more than 60 million people who supported him. (Who are presumably all shooting up as we speak 🙂)
              We had a funny here – we had an election in 2017 and one of the candidates, Corbyn, was the rank underdog. Possibly because of that, people voted for him, and we ended up, nobody won control. After that, Corbyn was in the limelight more and people started to not like what they saw. In 2019, we had another election and this guy got his ass totally kicked. I wonder if we will see history repeat itself with Trump?

              Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.