It’s leave or remain take 2. Not Brexit this time but those who want to stay indoors and those happy to go out.
We seem to have a battle between those who feel that we should stay locked down and take no chances with the virus and others who now feel that the economy should come first and just want to get on with normal life but still protect the vulnerable.
The former is understandable for those in the vulnerable category or with vulnerable relatives, but those in the ‘leaver’ camp generally argue that the damage to the economy coupled with lockdown restrictions (such as the lack of cancer treatment), will cause worse health issues in the longer-term.
Some facts are clear. COVID is a very nasty virus to those with a vulnerability. However, to most the virus will only cause mild, if any, symptoms, and the vast majority of those who have died are the very elderly and those with underlying (usually multiple) health conditions.
What is less clear is the success (or otherwise) of testing, the effectiveness of facemasks and the official death figures. The death figures have always appeared suspect and Matt Hancock has finally ordered a review following confirmation that they have included anyone who tested positive even if they recovered and died from another cause. It is surprising they have not really been questioned to any extent in the media before, but they have given the opposition parties and left-leaning sections of the media the opportunity to highlight the inflated death rate to make the Government look as bad as possible.
And we have seen the hypocrisy of those who have campaigned so strongly for a ‘no risk’ response to COVID, happy to support the likes of mass demonstrations, drug legalisation and the human rights of terrorists over public safety.
Many consider that the Government set out to scare the population into compliance with the lockdown. The strategy has been highly successful but is now the problem as the Government tries to get people out of their homes, back to work and back to spending to support the economy.
One measure is to try to make shops ‘safe’ by forcing everyone (bizarrely except shop staff) to wear facemasks but many ‘leavers’ are not convinced that the Government are still ‘following the science’, given the lack of evidence that facemasks are effective and to some it has become an issue of civil liberty, with threats to buy on line rather than be ‘muzzled’.
The knock-on effect of the ‘fear factor’ is certainly evident in the insurance industry with insurers worried that everyone is going to be suing everyone and they are being scared off providing COVID cover in the short and possibly longer term. There is still talk of a national ‘I won’t sue scheme’ or possibly the Government limiting liability for COVID related claims which would help, but we seem set to be a divided nation again for a while longer.