Coronavirus - Strange times

james2001
Posts: 672
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

cwathen wrote: Wed 12 Jan, 2022 17.35 He's a restriction obsessed lunatic
But they're not restrictions, they're "protections" 🙄
james2001
Posts: 672
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

I'm thinking with cases and hospitalisations coming down, and below even the "best case" modelled scenarios (who could have predicted that the modelling would be way off... again?) that it probably won't be too long until we see restrictions start to be lifted in England (Scotland and especially Wales on the other hand though...), I can't imagine there'll be many, if any, restrictions still in force in England by the end of February as long as things don't change direction.

I'm sure the usual suspects will moan when restrictions are lifted though (they're still not tight enough for many of them, even in Wales) and belittle the people who take their masks off again. If some people had their way we'd never have left lockdown after March 2020, we'd have to wear masks outdoors and we'd still be fining people for sitting on park benches or driving more than a couple of miles from home. I see the zero-coviders are pointing to China now as how we should be handling it, seeing as they're basically the only country left now even Australia's given up trying to contain it, as if a country locking people up in quarantine camps is something we should be trying to emulate (not to mention the numbers coming out of there are likely false anyway).

Cases exploding in most of Europe too despite tighter restrictions than we have (France have three times as many cases as we do despite a slightly lower population! Even Ireland have over double the per capita case rate of the UK), which I think really is vindicating our decision to basically let it spread over the summer and autumn. Hopefully more countries look at this when formulating their covid policies going forward. In an ideal world pretty much all restrictions should be gone in most countries by spring so it can circulate through the year and there's high levels of immunity by winter, but I can't see that happening sadly.
Joe
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed 31 Mar, 2021 20.15

I have to wonder about the purpose of complaining about these ‘usual suspects’. Who even are they? Certainly nobody I’ve ever met. On any issue there will be extremes, why trouble yourself with it?
cwathen
Posts: 1242
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

james2001 wrote:I'm thinking with cases and hospitalisations coming down, and below even the "best case" modelled scenarios (who could have predicted that the modelling would be way off... again?) that it probably won't be too long until we see restrictions start to be lifted in England (Scotland and especially Wales on the other hand though...), I can't imagine there'll be many, if any, restrictions still in force in England by the end of February as long as things don't change direction.
We have ended up in a truly bizarre position here. We only opened up as much as we did in the summer and held on to that opening right through autumn and into the start of winter because of pressure from Tory backbenchers - but it turned out to have been the right thing to do. We only avoided moving beyond plan B over Christmas and New Year because of the Tory rebellion on Covid passes - but it has turned out to have been the right thing to do. And we've only avoided pretty much any thought of going beyond plan B ever because of the destruction of Boris Johnson's authority over partygate - but it has turned out to have been the right thing to do.

The opposition parties and devolved administrations have expended a lot of political capital to continue a pro-restriction policy and calling the Tories out for their not doing so during the autumn and winter. However it is now clear that, just as some predicted, the modelling exceeded reality (again), the additional restrictions introduced elsewhere haven't made a significant difference, and several European countries which never opened up as much as the UK did are now in a worse position, whilst within the UK no nation opened up as much as England did yet the devolved nations have nothing to show for keeping additional restrictions.

It may well have been through chronic mismanagement of their own internal affairs rather than competence, but the UK government has accidentally shown the world that continuing to reach for restrictions every time Covid kicks off may not be the right thing to do and doesn't necessarily lead to better results.

Up until now we have only had a model promoted by the CCP in use - introduce restrictions up to and including lockdowns which curtail civil liberties and damage economies whilst claiming to be protecting the societies that are being damaged in the process. This should always have had far more thought put into it than has happened before any democratic country started using a model they borrowed from a totalitarian state as a means of dealing with this crisis. But this time England didn't do that and we've lived to tell the tale despite the dire predictions of doom which were knocking around in late November.

So when the inevitable next variant comes along, are we going to remember Omicron in England, keep a cool head and presume not to restrict (and are the devolved administrations going to do that, and are other countries going to do that), or are we going to rush straight back to restrictions and talk of closures and lockdowns? I would hope a lesson has finally been learned here, but not holding my breath.
bilky asko
Posts: 1274
Joined: Sat 08 Nov, 2008 19.48

cwathen wrote: Thu 13 Jan, 2022 14.12Up until now we have only had a model promoted by the CCP in use
China's strategy has been, and still is, strict No Covid. Recent restrictions in Xi'an meant that one person per household could leave home every 2 days to buy essential goods, and that leaving the city required approval from officials for extenuating circumstances.

China was the place where people were welded inside their homes, to the criticism of organisations like Amnesty International - and it's still going on now to prevent people leaving their homes. Chinese officials are punished if a single coronavirus case is found in their area. Lockdowns can be instituted with a handful of asymptomatic cases being found.

Locking down in China, especially at the very start of the pandemic, involved locking people down as well as information. People were punished for whistleblowing on the matter.

But sure, do continue making the comparison with China as if anything that has gone on has been remotely similar to the human rights abuses in China.
Image
james2001
Posts: 672
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 23.10

I have read that the Plan B measures expire later this month (I think the 26th) and they need parliament to vote to extend them- I wonder in the current situation just how likely such a vote would be to pass? If he could even get as far as getting to a vote in the first place, I could see the threat of a few more letters to the 1922 committee if Boris even suggests extending them, his authority's shot right now.
cwathen
Posts: 1242
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

james2001 wrote: Thu 13 Jan, 2022 21.54 I have read that the Plan B measures expire later this month (I think the 26th) and they need parliament to vote to extend them- I wonder in the current situation just how likely such a vote would be to pass? If he could even get as far as getting to a vote in the first place, I could see the threat of a few more letters to the 1922 committee if Boris even suggests extending them, his authority's shot right now.
Boris' departure will be confirmed now. He is done. He can't curry favour with his MPs in an attempt to save his skin, it's already far too late for that. It's just that this isn't a particularly good time for him to go and so I can see him surviving another few months before going in the Spring. I wouldn't be surprised if his claimed 'self isolation due to a family member being infected with Covid' which miraculously happened today and prevented him from going on his planned engagement has actually seen him spending today in Zoom meetings with the 1922 negotiating his departure on mutually acceptable terms rather than being seen to be publically pushed out on letters and a leadership challenge.

As for the plan B rules extension, any such vote if it goes ahead will pass because the combination of the SNP abstaining citing it as an 'England matter' and many Tory MPs who don't want to keep plan B but are also not ready to vote against their own party also abstaining will reduce the number of votes needed to pass. Labour will definitely vote for an extension to the restrictions (although TBF to the Westminster Labour Party, at least they aren't yet calling them 'protections') and whilst there would be a huge Tory rebellion (possibly a larger one than on plan B given any shred of fear Tory backbenchers had of defying Johnson will now have gone since he is a dead man walking), the combination of abstentions, Labour votes and the Tory faithful will still see any extension to plan B voted through.

In the circumstances though I think it unlikely such a vote will be called given what happened last time and given the only dignity Johnson can retain is to be able to be seen to be going on his own accord. I don't see many backbenchers having any appetite to extend the restrictions and as such I think it's more likely than not that plan B will be allowed to time out at the the end of January and we'll be back to plan A in February.

This will cause predictions of impending doom given this will mean a removal of the mask mandate as yet it again somehow the future of the world will somehow all boil down to masks. Many MSM outlets will produce polls showing 85% of the public think masks should be kept even though on the street less than 25% of the public will actually be seen wearing them. Starmer, Sturgeon and Drakeford will brand the move irresponsible and predict the end of the world. Whilst in reality absolutely nothing will happen as a result, just like it didn't last time masks were removed from England, but next time Covid kicks off the great mask debate will come around again and this thread will get another dusting down.

Call me Mr Cynical but we've been here before and we'll probably go there again next winter, and be worried about the Sigma variant in winter 2023 which yet again we will somehow beat with masks. I just want to know what happens when we get to Omega.
Jonwo
Posts: 159
Joined: Sat 26 Apr, 2008 02.05

Hopefully by next winter, the focus will be on boosters for those who need it and deploying antivirals ASAP for those who need it. I imagine we'll probably have 1-2 more antivirals drugs alongside the one that has already been approved.
cwathen
Posts: 1242
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

bilky asko wrote: Thu 13 Jan, 2022 15.15
cwathen wrote: Thu 13 Jan, 2022 14.12Up until now we have only had a model promoted by the CCP in use
But sure, do continue making the comparison with China as if anything that has gone on has been remotely similar to the human rights abuses in China.
Would have been nice if you'd quoted the entire paragraph which was '...model promoted by the CCP in use - introduce restrictions up to and including lockdowns which curtail civil liberties and damage economies whilst claiming to be protecting the societies that are being damaged in the process. This should always have had far more thought put into it than has happened before any democratic country started using a model they borrowed from a totalitarian state as a means of dealing with this crisis.'

Of course a Western country has not welded people into their homes. But nevertheless incredibly shocking things have been sanctioned during Covid which transcend anything that could ever have been contemplated before. And actually some of the things China still does - including an eradication policy and calling lockdowns over tiny numbers of cases, have in fact been implemented in Western countries. It is interesting that you mention human rights abuses but don't seem to think this has happened in a democratic country. I mean it has actually been established that the essentially unannounced Melbourne apartments lockdown of July 2020 where 3000 people were locked down for 5 days without even being allowed out to buy food and whether or not the residents had food before starting the lockdown was a secondary concern *did* constitute a human rights abuse by the Victoria ombudsman. And that's far from the only one.

I will admit that direct comparison with China is often clumsy, but what appears to be pretty obvious, is in January 2020 China was the only country on earth with any experience of dealing with a mass Covid outbreak, they pursued a restrict & lockdown policy which appeared to work (although as you acknowledge yourself, information can also be locked down in China so who knows how true their claims were), then Chinese advisors went into Italy whose healthcare system had been overwhelmed and restrict & lockdowns swiftly became the policy rolled out all over the world including in democratic countries.

Are you honestly saying that you believe if Covid-19 had originated in the West that the sorts of measures that have been deployed would even have been contemplated to protect healthcare systems? I'm not asking whether you think it was justified and necessary in the circumstances, I'm asking whether you believe it actually would have happened. Of course no one will ever know, we did do what we did and it is now acceptable to do the things we have done. But personally, I think that whilst there would have been some sort of measures introduced, a democratic country would never, ever, have gone as far as closing down their economy, closing down their education system and making it illegal for people to leave their homes. I believe that whilst of course protecting healthcare systems is of huge importance, the view taken in the West would be that there are limits as to what can credibly be done to protect them, and the types of measures we have seen would not have been deemed credibly viable action to take.

Unless you think it would (and again, I'm not asking whether you think it *should* have happened, but whether it *would*), then surely you must accept that, whilst the level of measures may not approach China's welding people into their homes, democratic countries have used totalitarian measures during the pandemic, and that model has come from China.
Jonwo
Posts: 159
Joined: Sat 26 Apr, 2008 02.05

In terms of restrictions, Ireland's restriction that nothing can be open after 8pm is rather daft although the NPHET actually wanted a 5pm curfew which the Irish Government resisted.
cwathen
Posts: 1242
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Jonwo wrote: Sat 15 Jan, 2022 01.51 In terms of restrictions, Ireland's restriction that nothing can be open after 8pm is rather daft although the NPHET actually wanted a 5pm curfew which the Irish Government resisted.
I think it will eventually be established that only lockdowns have had much of any effect on transmission, and as such if you aren't going to go that far then it's very questionable as to what the point of doing anything lower level is - unless it's about image. As has been noted in this thread, a lot of restrictions seem to be more about the image of being seen to be doing something to prevent transmission rather than being particularly bothered about whether there is much of any substance behind what the restriction will actually achieve. We are even seeing this play out for real now when you compare England with other parts of the UK and of Europe where the correlation between implementing sub-lockdown restrictions and reducing transmission just isn't there.

Hospitality curfews would seem to be the most extreme example of this, in that it is one of the few restrictions which could actually make things worse; if you're trying to reduce transmission I can't think of anything more daft than trading for limited hours and making everything close at exactly the same time. It will just increase the amount of people crammed together in the same places at once. Yet because it's a restriction, it's seen as being good.
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