by Freddie Sayers
Saturday, 27
November 2021
Reaction
18:40

Why the change to masking rules will make people angry

Introducing arbitrary rules that won't be effective has a cost
by Freddie Sayers
Boris Johnson at Number Ten Downing Street earlier today

A new variant has been identified that we don’t know a lot about. It seems to be significantly more transmissible than other variants; there is no evidence yet that it is any worse in terms of symptoms; and there is no evidence yet that it escapes existing vaccines, but scientists are more concerned that it might because of the large degree of mutations on the ‘protein spike.’ One connected cluster consisting of two people has been identified within the UK.

That, at the moment, is the sum total of information the Government has to respond to.

Most people, although they will be disappointed, will understand the temporary additional controls for people arriving from overseas and in particular from the affected countries in Southern Africa, while we discover more. They will also at least understand the logic of stringent requirements for people who come into direct contact with one of these so-called “Omicron” cases.

But some of the other measures talked about today at the Prime Minister’s briefing are so arbitrary and illogical that they will make people angry.

First, journalists queued up to ask the Prime Minister why he is not doing “more” and introducing vaccine passports. It hasn’t yet happened, but it is important to address the logic right away. The fear about this new variant is that it will substantially evade protection from vaccines; Chris Whitty has already confirmed that it can pass from one double-vaccinated person to another. Further vaccine escape would be bad news precisely because it would put vaccinated and unvaccinated people back in the same boat. Along the way, it would destroy the rationale for any form of segregation of the population by vaccine status, such as vaccine passports. To their credit, neither Whitty nor Vallance even bothered to respond to the idea.

By contrast, the decision to reimpose mandatory facemasks in shops is effective immediately. Is there a single scientist that believes upgrading the advice on reusable cloth facemasks in shops from recommended to mandatory for the entire population is a meaningful response to two new cases of a new variant on our shores? As Boris Johnson himself said, the protocols we had in place already were adequate for the previous variants, so any new strategy for the “Omicron” variant is, in theory, all about containment.

But what percentage of Covid transmission events have ever happened in shops? What percentage of those would be cases of the “Omicron” variant? And what percentage of those would be prevented by the return of mandatory advice? We are into a very small fraction of 1 percent at this point.

Meanwhile, masks are not mandatory in hospitality settings, or public events — or, obviously, homes and workplaces, where most transmission actually occurs after prolonged exposure.

So it’s utterly tokenistic. But worse, it suggests the return of restrictions as a form of gesture politics. In exchange for a theoretical gain so marginal as to be entirely irrelevant, the Government is choosing to impose a daily inconvenience that is a notorious source of division on its entire population. This is a bad bargain, and a continuation of a blinkered policy mindset that has bedevilled this pandemic.

Millions of people’s reaction to this news about facemasks will now be to say :“ah, they’re just warming us up for further restrictions down the road” or “they’re trying to make people afraid again” or “they’re just doing something to pacify the pro-lockdown lobby” or “it’s just to defend the Government from accusations of not having done enough” — sadly, it not possible with this measure to say that they are wrong.

Those, by contrast, who say, “facemasks are such a minor thing why would anyone complain about it?” miss the point. The introduction of restrictive policies that nobody thinks will be effective increases the atmosphere of distrust, amplifies the conspiracies, and widens the divisions in society. This in itself is a serious negative effect, and should be taken into account before casually introducing restrictions on a ‘might as well’ basis.

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David Slade
David Slade
8 months ago

Excellent article and a good summary at the end of why facemasks are not a small thing, especially as the arbitrary way that such an imposition can be imposed with no evidence is symptomatic of wider government over each and mission creep.

If there is a new, more transmissible variant we should use its emergence as an opportunity to do what we should have done last year in March – let the thing go on its natural trajectory whilst devoting resources to shielding the vulnerable. The rest of us could then keep our physical and mental health in tact.

Yet they never learn, instead we get more restrictions that prolong and exacerbate the pandemic whilst destroying everything else.

This whole 21st century Covid 19 response will go down as the most ridiculous thing humanity has ever done since our ancestors shouted at the sky in order to scare away the giant wolf that had obviously swallowed the sun during a solar eclipse.

And, I can confirm the article title, I am f*cking furious and want these public health na*is to take their jackboots off of my neck.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

One hates to use this comparison; as it trivializes one of histories greatest evils, but the mask does correlate with the Yellow Star in ways.

It symbolizes the insider and the outcast. It reminds all they are Subject People, not Free People, and it keeps Fear High.

The mask may give some modest benefit, but the symbolic imposition of it is Hugely out of proportion to its benefit. If the mask was free choice, well and good. Top quality ones could be provided to those who chose. Instead the mask is merely justified because the message it sends, it is not about health.

Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Absolutely agree.
I live in Spain, where we were forced to wear facemasks everywhere and at all times, including outdoors and when walking alone, for a whole year between July 2020 and June 2021 (now they are no longer mandatory outdoors but mask use is still massively prevalent in the streets).
And yet, we had three severe epidemic waves, with higher incidence and death rates than in countries where mask use was not mandatory. There may be a modest benefit, but clearly there are other very important factors at play (very possibly the way we socialise and live, the tiny crowded flats, the densly populated cities, etc.).
Wearing face masks has become not just virtue signalling, a symbol of good citizenship, but a form of superstition, especially in environments where it is clearly not needed. Spanish people have gone from carrying pictures of the Virgin Mary to wearing masks at all times. Evidence for protection is more or less the same.
If this virus is here to stay forever, what is the way out? How and when will they tell the population it is safe to take them off?

Last edited 8 months ago by Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
8 months ago

Feliz de ver que hay otras personas en España que también se dan cuenta de lo ilógicas que son estas medidas!

Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
Lorenzo Gallego Borghini
8 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Lamentablemente, muy pocas. Y si se dan cuenta, callan y agachan la cabeza.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago

The whole Narrative is based on superstition as any religion is. I’m surprised there’s not a shortage of chickens or tea leaves,
Personally I prefer rain dances. They are useless but at least fun and good exercise.

Brad Elliott
Brad Elliott
8 months ago

Great article Freddie, you’re one of the main reasons I subscribe to UnHerd.
All I can say is stop looking for logic when there is none. I live in Kenya. From 21st December entry to public transport, buildings, restaurants, internal flights & trains, shopping malls etc. will be restricted to the double vaccinated.
Most recent stats are that about 8% of Kenyans (mainly the elite & expats) are ‘fully’ vaccinated. This in an economy ravaged by 18 months of lockdown and business closure. To think that these measures are anything but ‘virtue signalling’ to the west is to deny any knowledge of how Kenya works at all.
The UK just seems to be more mired in the BS than we are here.

Stephen Lodziak
Stephen Lodziak
8 months ago
Reply to  Brad Elliott

‘Virtue signalling to the west’ is an excellent way to put it. I’m in Sri Lanka where restrictions seem to be more about showing rich tourists that Sri Lankans are more virtuous than they are (wearing face masks outside has been mandatory for over a year) and therefore a safe place to come on holiday.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago

I would consider that it must be a dangerous place if everyone needs to wear a mask. I’ll holiday somewhere more relaxing, thanks!
Is shooting yourself in the foot considered virtuous? Just asking.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
8 months ago

Only just spotted this. I’m also in Sri Lanka (I live here) and couldn’t agree more. In fact the crassness of this country’s government on masks amo0ng a host of other things is making me decide to return to the UK – and I’m not exactly enamoured of Boris’s lot either.

Mark Burbidge
Mark Burbidge
8 months ago

Spot on Freddie. Every right minded person should resist this. Enough !

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark Burbidge

Bret Weinstein has been on here about three times, and does a wildly successful Youtube called Dark Horse, and yesterday’s referenced Unherd – as I do not watch ‘Entertainment Streaming’ (I think the industry degenerate and pretty evil in its output) I watch Youtube shows like Bret’s, there are many worth it, and entertaining as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5pxFfNmVmU pretty much a ‘must watch’ as the world slides into totalitarianism, and by the bottom index track you can skip around.

But what is good of this one is he finally tackles the premise that the vax helps. His simple position is 2020 had less covid deaths than 2021. That 2020 was mostly unvaxed, that many super vulnerable were taken out of the equation in 2020 so were not there for the 2021 numbers, that 30% of the people going into 2021 had Natural Immunity, and the populations going into 2021 were largely vaxed in general, and almost ALL the vulnerable…….

Yet numbers of cases and deaths increased!

Naturally the Delta card is played – but that card does not take the hand really – too many parts of this puzzle.

So look at results: 2020, Less deaths than 2021, Yet the gov did so much to the people and world and economies, and this failed to help, and thus – the Response Result is so fatally flawed that one must wonder what they are really up to..

He also dances around (less he get kicked off the agenda Police Youtube) the issue that everything points to this all being Political – for some mysterious outcome we can only guess at -, by the medical/scientific research being so bogus, the statistics and numbers totally doctored, and the agenda being so all encompassing and oppressive, from Gov, MSM, Medical, and Social Media….

Anyway, give Bret and his wife Heather a watch. They are very important for getting the big picture. (who when they get off their Evolutionary Biology kick – which really is the softest of soft science and is pretty unwatchable; they do great discussions) (I have a biology background and ‘Sociobiology’ is all correlation proving causation and seems to the refuge of the very bright and scientific to find some secular belief system to fill their religious need vacuum. Dawkins being the main example)

Last edited 8 months ago by Galeti Tavas
Andrea X
Andrea X
8 months ago

I need more Freddie in my life!!

Say this variant does escape the vaccine, what then? We are in lockdown for 9 months until the existing “vaccine” is retrofitted and administered? Just in time for the Omega variant and start the circus again.

Last edited 8 months ago by Andrea X
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

‘The worst part of a two week lockdown is the first 4 months, then you sort of get used to it…’

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago

I’m beginning to suspect that we will never get back to ‘normal’. The Coronavirus has produced a mechanism by which governments and those they are beholden to can crank up or dial back the craziness depending on whatever agenda they wish to carry out.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

And in South Africa we are bemused by the stupidity surrounding us. The usual idiots in the community panicking.
In fact travel restrictions have no impact on what is going to unfold – the airborne virus is going to do what the airborne virus is going to do. Already this variant has spread – it is in Belgium (the case is not linked to South Africa but Egypt and Turkey), Hong Kong, Israel and who knows where else. ‘Travel bans are not evidence based and are a political move’ refer your local epidemiologist substack.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

I watched a Fauci and Walensky, (his goon, head of the CDC) being questioned in the Senate on mandates. Fauci said the unvaccinated need vax mandates – he was asked why the recovered, Natural Immunity, need it as well…

Fauci replied that when the Naturally immune get vaxed they get super immunity, so it is best to require it. Unfourtnately the weak guy asking the questions accepted that – But I was wishing him to to ask Fauci ‘Then why not mandate the vaxed get actual covid as well? Then they also can be super immune too….’ If that is what the mandates require in the Natural immune.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It’s believed that super immunity is only possible if you get natural immunity first, followed by the experimental jab – probably a result of Original Antigenic Sin

James Joyce
James Joyce
8 months ago

I would only add that the virus or the variant already IS everywhere–it just may not have been discovered “there” yet.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Yes, that is what we are so angry about… and the quantity of Covid infections in the Northern Hemisphere has dwarfed that of South Africa and travel was allowed.
Also remember that India was allowed to travel to the UK long before South Africa after the Delta variant. Beggared belief.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

I happen to have a past link with the Mennonite people and the Amish/Mennonite have had their story 100% kept out of the MSM because they are proof of so much which is apostasy to the wicked Secular/Liberal Lefty/Humanist PostModernists who have captured the MSM, the Social Media/Tech industrial Complex, Education, Corporatism agenda, and Global Elite driven agenda. And on the covid thing they are particularly notable.

But as always their fixed and resolute refusal to be pushed, and their self determination, and absolute will to stick to their convictions, religion, and morals meant they WOULD not be herded like Sheep by the corrupt mandates.

And so – here is a Must Watch video on their response to covid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1DgWYdukZU This is an important thing to watch from your lockdown sofa.

They all got covid, they have less deaths than the ones with the most extreme lockdowns. They kept working and producing and earning their own way. They are the fly in the covid soup that the agenda refuses to acknowledge.

J Bryant
J Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That’s a remarkable video. Thanks.
It speaks so much to what we’ve become as a society. As the Amish representative said, there are worse things than death including, for his community, being separated from family when sick and also being denied the right to work. Work and self-sufficiency are so much a part of their identity. We have simply forgotten that in the West. We are so removed from the concept of work as an expression of self-sufficiency. Most of us work for ‘the Man’ and hate it.
If the Amish have discovered a ‘secret’ to handling this pandemic it’s that death really isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Deprivation of a meaningful life is worse.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Just saw the video. Thank you.
But here, on this forum, all of us are singing from the same hymn sheet. We know and can’t prove what we intrinsically know. The time has come to deny the government the satisfaction of starting this new series of drama with the same rotten fear mongering scraps that they fed us with in 2020.

Whitty had commented earlier that he is not sure the people have the appetite for such measures any more. Now they are testing our will again. No more of the 2 weeks to “buy some time” nonsense. We have now to unify against the government. Sweden is not alone, Switzerland has chosen for no restrictions, India and Bangladesh have proven herd immunity with case number and choice of available drugs. There are other countries going down that route. If the government won’t show it, we the people will have to show some leadership. Otherwise we have ourselves to blame.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
8 months ago

Not true re Switzerland. You can’t even go to a restaurant without a vax pass around Gstaad.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

Today the Swiss had a vote on the covid pass. Preliminary results say that the advocates won.
https://www.thelocal.ch/20211128/swiss-voters-back-covid-pass-law-projected-results/

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I saw the video a while ago and it’s well worth a watch.

Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson
8 months ago

Well said, Freddie!

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

A shallow, lazy and supercilious comment that borders on the ad hominem and does absolutely nothing to engage with the points raised in the article but rather, merely seeks to dismiss and belittle.

Last edited 8 months ago by andrew harman
Julie Blinde
Julie Blinde
8 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Stuck-record megaphone journalism Andrew
aren’t you bored of it after 18 months ?

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago
Reply to  Julie Blinde

I am bored of an approach that has clearly failed and those who will not learn the lesson that if the same approach fails repeatedly, then that is the very definition of insanity. And again you offer no arguments Julie. If there has been any stuck record, it has been on the other side.

Last edited 8 months ago by andrew harman
andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

This is symptomatic of the lazy way politicians govern. It is all about being seen to be doing something and the pretence that they are managing the news agenda when in fact it is managing them. The capacity of politicians to delude themselves never ceases to amaze me.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

A single word sums them up: Hubris

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
8 months ago

I’ve noticed in conversations when I voice scepticism or disagreement on the official Covid narrative that it moves very quickly to low level hostility. ‘What about protecting others.. You’re selfish’ etc. I read somewhere once that if people get very upset about something they believe in, it is most likely not their own belief but one the have taken in from outside – a type if brainwashing I guess.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago

I think you may be on to something here Dermot. I have seen it implicitly myself, both in the anonymous internet world and in personal interactions. It seems to me there is an increasing tendency towards simplistic dichotomising and emotive, puerile approaches that seek to place any disagreement into a realm of selfish, callous devilry. The word “selfish” is thrown about far too readily. Ayn Rand would be very amused I think.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Taking the moral high ground in that way is their way to assume superiority and shut down debate. Just tell them about the 250 million pushed into poverty during Covid to rub their snouts up against the real moral argument.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
8 months ago

‘Your selfish’, surely?!
My response is, ‘Yes, I am’.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

The Unherd family engages in plenty of debates, but trolling is a very new and unwelcome addition to the mix.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
8 months ago

Indeed. May I suggest that we simply don’t feed the troll?

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

I’ve run out of goats anyway!

James Joyce
James Joyce
8 months ago

“So it’s utterly tokenistic. But worse, it suggests the return of restrictions as a form of gesture politics. In exchange for a theoretical gain so marginal as to be entirely irrelevant, the Government is choosing to impose a daily inconvenience that is a notorious source of division on its entire population.” 
May I suggest that, in the US at least, this is not a “bad bargain,” but entirely the point? The elites in the US, perhaps elsewhere, love to divide the population so that they will stay in power. It’s often Tweedledum v. Tweedledee. The elites don’t follow their own guidance–virtually every day there is a photo of some leader–the Mayor of San Francisco, more recently Biden shopping–violating their own mask mandates. They utterly don’t care. Rules for thee but not for me.
This is all performance art, theater of the absurd. But it serves the elites because it is a divide and conquer strategy, and now it is used as an opportunity by the hard left to seize more power and control.
As Freddie said previously–and I can’t improve on this–
“The inconceivable has become the inevitable.”

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Exactly. I was at the Cape Town Waterfront mall and adjacent hotels today and the place was heaving with people eating, drinking, shopping, watching yachts, lying around in the sun and just getting on with their lives. No sign of fear.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago

At this point in the game, 20 months out from the start, everybody should realize that every intervention, other than natural immunity, has proved useless. The Swedes had it right all along. Masks and Lockdowns which at best offer a marginal gain whose only effect, and a negative one at that, is to prolong this whole business.

As for the current Omicron virus (anagram of moronic, so the joke is clearly on Public Health Officials such as Walensky and Fauci, and of course Collins who is so smart that he got duped by Ali G, aka Sasha Barron Cohen, in submitting himself to a prank interview and falling for it hook, line and sinker), the reports from South Africa indicate that all cases to date have been exceptionally mild with a couple of days of fatigues and muscle soreness, perhaps a cough, no anosmia, no deaths and no hospitalizations. So why the West has decided to panic on this new variant is beyond me. If anything, this variant may well be less stable and therefore a blessing in disguise.

Philip Hearn
Philip Hearn
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Thank you Johann, in my world it will, now and forever, be called the moronic mutant because that is exactly what the OTT response from government is.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
8 months ago

In Wales we have not stopped wearing masks indoors – officially. Unofficially, we gave up ages ago. When you go into Tesco there are signs saying you must wear a mask – unless you are exempt. About a half of their staff don’t wear masks and about a quarter of the customers don’t. Many wear masks under the nose. Many wear masks but take them off to make phone calls. No point at all unless everybody wears a mask – and they won’t.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Just no point.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

And look how well masks and passports have worked. Ummmm, sorry can’t find anything.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
8 months ago

Non-masker throughout the entire insanity here. If the politicians issued a law demanding that all Pisceans walk around with a d***o in their mouths on Tuesdays because the moon is in alignment with Mercury and their strongest argument is “what harm would it do”, I wouldn’t comply with that either.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jeffrey Chongsathien
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
8 months ago

Hi Freddy – you have done a great thing in bringing out this magazine – but a point above:

“Further vaccine escape would be bad news precisely because it would put vaccinated and unvaccinated people back in the same boat.”

There are 5 states to consider, Not 2.

1) Vax – (and who knows what it means) The Official Agenda

2) Natural Immunity from recovering – A forbidden topic

3) Prophylaxis and Medicine, Ivermectin, Fluvoxamine, Monoclonal antibodies, Querctin and Hydroxychloroquine, Vitamin D, Zink, Vit K, C….. and now the Pfizer $700 pack. All but the last a forbidden topic.

4) Natural immunity from genetic or environmental situations. Like China (69 deaths per million) UK, (2116 deaths per million) Taiwan (36) Singapore (117)

5) Unvaxed (and some must be exempted of medical necessity, and some by conviction, and all by human rights)

Three situations Forbidden to discussion on Social Media, on MSM, by Medical and science groups and researchers. One very weird and problamatic vax story is 100% the offical agenda in all the Western world. And one Demonized and made Illegal, and guilty of political and Thought Crime.

Last edited 8 months ago by Galeti Tavas
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
8 months ago

Having to wear a mask makes me angry, because I don’t want to look like one of those FBPE-type Remainers.

T Doyle
T Doyle
8 months ago

Spot on article.

John Tattersall
John Tattersall
8 months ago

Spot on article. I’ve had enough of masks, the boosters and all the other bits of rona theatre.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
8 months ago

Both the mask and the travel restrictions certainly make me angry. There’s no evidence that the new variant is more dangerous than previous versions, and some that it’s more benign, so being more transmittable is good not bad. Covid is now endemic and we should not panic on every new version that will appear every few months; we should accept it and return to normal life, as we do with flu. I used to think highly of Javid, but now…

Iris C
Iris C
8 months ago

The pros and cons of wearing masks can now be assessed because masks continued to be worn in Scotland and Wales during the months since July since restrictions were lifted in England and their instances of Covid continued to increase, while they remained steady or decreased in England.
No one has ever tried to assess how many people in the population are immune from Covid and yet immunity through having acquired T cells from past coronovirus infections (common cold?) is thought to be a large number. Unlike vaccines which only target the spikes on the virus, T.Cells latch on and destroy it giving complete protection.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
8 months ago

I bet that naturally acquired immunity will prove way more resilitent than vaccination against “o” and the next ones. The vaccine is targeted only to the spike protein while, we the ones that have recovered from it, will have immunity to the several (I think more than 8?) antigenic proteins present in Sars-cov-2.
Sooner or later everyone will catch covid (vaccinated or not). If people just realised that they would stop trying to postpone the inevitable.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
8 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Oooh but I’m scared.
Oh hang on, I’ve already had natural immunity but apparently I should still be afraid, very afraid!

Wanda Adach
Wanda Adach
8 months ago

An excellent article. Incidentally, has anyone spotted that Omicron is an anagram of moronic?

Warren T
Warren T
8 months ago

If we think these mandates are ridiculous and pose an inconvenience, just wait until the Green mandates get imposed to save the planet!

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
8 months ago

It seems that mask refuseniks will face a £200 fine every time they are caught without a mask in shops or on public transport.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

Good job I can afford it then. Not that anyone has had to pay a fine yet!

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
8 months ago

I agree with David Slade, a good summary. Nonetheless, what we are dealing with is old fashioned mass hysteria, public paranoia, not specifically about a pandemic, rather two things; people fear their immortality as a future estate and suspect it is a plandemic pandemic. This is not going to end well, because there are more of us who refuse to be sheeple.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
8 months ago

The 7 day average of new cases in South Africa is 14 times what it was two weeks ago. In the UK it is 1.2 times and in Europe it is mostly between 1 and 3 times. This gives strong support to the Omicron variant being much more transmissible than the other variants. 
A scatter of Omicron cases in the UK could spread very much faster than the other variants so in light of the forthcoming inquiry it is better for the Government to do something than nothing. A large portion of the population will be more comfortable with masks being required in shops. The vulnerable are mostly retired and can avoid work places, restaurants and bars but not shops. There is evidence that mask wearing does help, I suspect more by changing the dispersal patterns of others rather than filtering your own inhalation.
UnHerd readers will mostly oppose it but I think it likely that a survey will find it is considered by many as a sensible political action.
The transmissibility of each variant does seem to decline over time but not faster enough, without social distancing measures, to prevent health services being overwhelmed. The images of patients being left to die untreated triggered the social distancing measures and generated a lot of public support for them, particularly those with a greater risk of dying. Deaths in the UK appear low, 0.3% of cases down from 2% but this is because the cases are concentrated in younger people. The vaccine has reduced but not removed vulnerability. A dramatic increase in transmissibility will require action to help the vulnerable to social distance enough to protect themselves. It might be a token but it is needed.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

So says the man who talks with unerring “knowledge” despite ALL the evidence and observational information around him. You can deny it but just touting and regurgitating the poor rhetoric of the government does not make you right.

There are new drugs out now . Even Pfizer has one out to combat the bad outcomes. There are other drugs too. How to get & keep a population healthy? Is it masking ? Really? Maybe get the people to THINK about their health. The government can make a difference but it’s too contentious to do so . We can’t call fat people fat, can’t accept the old will die, can’t accept that each individual is responsible for themselves wrt health. It’s this guilt ridden, judgemental, toxic environment that is fuelling physical & mental health crisis. There is no kindness left to explore except the virtue signalling variety.

You are justifying a lazy measure that you did not think of. It is just you falling in step with governmental thinking. At least have your own idea as to what could be the best measure to take even if it is different from this group but at the moment you are simply defending the government, which is no position at all.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
8 months ago

As Andrea Re says my post is arguing why it is sensible for the Government, for political reasons, to mandate limited masking notwithstanding Freddie’s arguments. The numbers are calculated from public sources, Worldometer and UK Government heat maps for England. They evidence very high Omicron transmssibiity which supports political action now, before sufficient facts can be established to justify it. The report that 61 people tested positive on two flights to the Netherlands on Friday further supports this. It may be token and not needed, as Andrew Harman says, but politically it is sensible to anger some to pacify others. The current mortality in the UK is 3.2% for over 60’s testing positive compared with an average to date of 7.2% so the drugs available to reduce vulnerability but do not eliminate it. In the over 80’s the mortality has dropped less, from 19% to 12%.
You ask what I would do. In other posts I have advocated a radical change in research, promoting collaborative efforts rather than individual advancement, and focusing social distancing on protecting the vulnerable. A view I have held since writing on 7 March 2020 “You either isolate people who have it or people who must not get it. Since you cannot know who has it but you do know who must not get it then lets get on with it.”
I expected my post to be down voted so it is good to know why. I would like UnHerd to show both up and down votes as I suspect the majority view posted on Covid deters contrary views. I would also like a vote on adds to debate and hinders debate, independently from like and dislike.

Last edited 8 months ago by Jon Hawksley
stephen archer
stephen archer
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

There’s always a risk of being downvoted when making assertions based on statistics or unproven or debatable information (eg. transmissability, effectiveness of face masks). One of the reasons why Anders Tegnell refused to advocate face masks as a preventative measure was that he believed people would no longer self distance since they believed they were obviously protected by these. I cannot believe how the planet’s population and leaders have become so dumbed down as to persist with this futile, divisive and totally meaningless measure. That Johnson’s knee-j**k response to Omicron is predictable can be attributed to his defectively functioning or absent brain cells, as in the introduction to the Peppa Pig rambling.

Last edited 8 months ago by stephen archer
Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

I am not marking you down. I just want an open dialogue.
In this post you write of people as if they are cattle. Isolate some, quarantine others. I think you forget that each one of is intelligent and capable of surviving without government almighty. That does not mean a government is not needed and is not serving any useful purpose. It’s the level of intervention has become unbearable in a country that prides its freedom. The government rules are now becoming a joke. It assumes it’s subjects are feeble and unfeeling and don’t have a capacity to make good choices. Some level of government control is necessary to harness the power of the public but this kind of nannying will only hurt the country in the long run.

Perhaps the media has certain strong opinions and has swayed the public in one direction. Do you not see that you may have become a victim of its deception? I have seen bbc report saying that South African doctors are clearly advising that the new strain is weak and mild but infectious & UK and Europe are over-reacting to this strain.

I have come here from overseas. Basically I respect the freedom this place has to offer above and beyond its health benefits. That is because I take full responsibility for my health. I understand that concept fully.

Also please understand that it is not conceivable for the 7.7 b people to be vaccinated before the virus mutates. Or for them to be masked or do the social distancing. It WILL come to UK. It WILL spread. It WILL cause some death. Is it so hard for the government to say that openly? It’s not a failure, it’s a reality check. We might lose a few but we will gain in immunity in the long run. We need to have a little courage to speak the truth about death .

We expect TOO much from our scientists and researchers. Let them work on problem slowly without mistakes otherwise we will have worse disasters. The foundations of science have to be strong and scientists free from pressure of time and corruption. We have no chance of success if we don’t foster that culture.

Last edited 8 months ago by Alka Hughes-Hallett
Michael Kellett
Michael Kellett
8 months ago

Well said!

Andrea X
Andrea X
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

“political action” being the key word here.

andrew harman
andrew harman
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

By definition something that is a “token” cannot be “needed”.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

The elderly and infirm can only ‘not avoid shops’ if nobody is willing to do the shopping for them. If in Sweden we go back to recommending that the eldery stay indoors and not see anybody, I will go back to delivering things for them.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

14 times coming off a low base. New infections today in the whole country – 2858, fatalities 6. That means if there are 12 deaths in the country tomorrow the fatalities will have DOUBLED!

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
8 months ago

The daily numbers fluctuate so much (10, 51, 22,114,12, 8 and 6) that you have to use seven day averages. Hopefully the high numbers in the last week are a late adjustment to the total deaths – otherwise the mortality, with a three week lag, is 12%. Cases numbers have some odd fluctuations as well. Better data collection would help everyone. Other Governments will act on what they see because they have been accused of reacting too slowly.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

The issue with the new variant, as with this entire Covid episode, is not number of cases, but number of deaths and hospitalizations. Yes cases have picked up in South Africa with the Omicron (anagram moronic) variant, but hospitalizations and deaths have not increased. Indeed, symptoms appear to be very benign so far. So with the current data at hand, I would consider the new South African variant to be a blessing in disguise. Would be helpful if people stopped panicking and started to think critically for a change, if only a little bit.

Last edited 8 months ago by Johann Strauss
Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
8 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Agreed. The point that most people seem to miss is that doing something is a sensible insurance by the Government. Not because it might actually help but because doing nothing will affect their prospects at the next election if there turns out to be a surge in hospitalisations. It is interesting to see how the messenger is attacked, not the message.

Art C
Art C
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

Nice speech: 100% adherence to the “correct” line! Twenty months ago I would probably have taken you seriously. Today, you’re just a tired old joke! It’s quite clear that county-wide lockdowns & travel bans don’t work. Masks don’t work. The vaccines don’t work and the boosters won’t work either. And the “new variant” mechanism which is used to trigger all the aforementioned restrictions is surely played out too. The real point is that by no stretch of the imagination is this a lethal virus which is going to wipe out upwards of 20% of the population.It’s time to stop panicking & start living again!

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

No. A highly infectious but mild variant needs to spread.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
8 months ago

Agreed – The Government will do better politically taking some action while this becomes evident and then dropping it than by the reverse.