I’m not a fan of lockdowns/social restrictions, although I understand the arguments made for them, and the obvious necessity for implementing them at a time of crisis. In February/March 2020, we could see the Chinese health system collapsing from a new virus and shortly after that the Italian army started carting away dead bodies by the truck load. A lockdown was entirely appropriate.
As I write this, the UK government is meeting to discuss how to react to rocketing infection rates courtesy of the Omicron variant. New restrictions are being considered. So I look at South Africa, which is surfing ahead of us on the Omicron wave. I do not see overrun hospitals and truckloads of corpses. I see shockingly high infection rates, which appear to be peaking already. And low, manageable hospitalisation and death rates. It’s almost as if vaccines/prior infection are doing what they were designed/expected to do – prevent serious illness.
The real issue here is a simple one – trust. No one trusts Boris, because he is a compulsive liar. Boris doesn’t trust his party, because he knows that they’re about to depose him. Joe Public do trust Chris Whitty, but they don’t trust the models he works with, largely because they do not understand them. The government seem not to trust vaccines anymore, mostly because of the potential consequences if it turns out they don’t work against Omicron.
Too many people trust what @Shazza65274947 says about the coronavirus on Twitter and Instagram, which is unfortunate because that’s the least trustworthy material out there. Equally, at the start of the last wave, the government held off from imposing restrictions, foolishly believing that the ‘Great British public could be trusted to behave appropriately ’.
The one group who I truly believe to be utterly undeserving of any trust whatsoever are the vaccine refusers. And if there is a further piece of evidence available from South African data, it is this – it’s still the antivaxxers who are clogging up hospitals. We don’t need lockdowns. The time has come, in my opinion, to utilise the vaccine passport. Not to prohibit entry to pubs and clubs. But to permit entry to the health care system.
No vaccine passport? Take a Covid test, at users own cost. And if it’s positive, they can jog on. This’ll keep hospitalisation numbers manageable. Yes, large numbers of antivaxxers may die in car parks outside A&E departments. Yes, the optics of certain highly unvaccinated ethnic minorities making up the majority in certain areas will make uncomfortable viewing. But thems the choices these folk have made.
I am not ok with imposing restrictions on a society because a small minority of village idiots believe that Bill Gates is trying to micro chip them. Not at all. But hopefully none of this will be necessary. Because I suspect that, actually, everything will be alright. Trust me…
Note: the government meeting is still ongoing. My hunch is that they will limit themselves to providing guidance. Anything else, and Boris will likely have a leadership challenge. I could be wrong. However, I’m very much with Lilico today.