back to article Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

Police and anti-lockdown protesters are clashing outside the Houses of Parliament with tempers boiling over in Westminster just as "Freedom Day" in England hits the half-day mark. And according to the ONS, their concerns seem to be shared by those less likely to chuck a bottle too. The Reg has seen reports of a road being …

  1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well?

      Very, thanks for asking. Yourself?

      (By the way, it's kind of you to ask, but you posted this on an IT news site, rather than Facebook. It's a little off-topic.)

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: Well?

        If this was Facebook it would have been posted as a selfie with the OP next to a well, in imminent danger of falling down said well. Cliffs, bridges, high buildings, aircraft are also available.

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Well?

          If this *were* Facebook. I hang my head in shame!

          1. Cereberus

            Re: Well?

            If this were Facebook I wouldn't be here.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Well?

        It definitely isn't a /redditor, No fucks, dumb or ass

  2. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    SNAFU

    If you don't know the military acronym, look it up. With "Freedom Day" our venereal leaders are once again trying to force "Herd Immunity". It may even work, but if they've opened up too early, then in 2-3 weeks time the NHS will be swamped. I hope not, but I fear that it's too soon. They seem to listen to the scientific advice when they feel like it, and ignore it when they don't. Well, from what I am seeing on Farcebook they do seem to represent their electoral demographic with their selfish greed and inability to empathise with any other human being. And for the downvoters,... bring it on. <LOL>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SNAFU

      "They seem to listen to the scientific advice when they feel like it, and ignore it when they don't."

      That'll be Boris and his 'I'll continue to shake hands' mantra that worked fine until a week after visiting St Thomas's and shaking hands with the covid patients and doctors treating them.

      The big problem was setting a date and promising 'no u-turns'... then doing a u-turn back in June and announcing July... then having to ignore the warnings from just about everyone except the airline/holiday industry and Wetherspoons Tim and having to plough ahead regardless because they can't be seen to do another u-turn

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        And are ever knowledgeable tabloid media that have been on a frenzy pushing the 19th July.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        The big problem is that Bojo doesn't give a gnat's fart.

    2. John Riddoch
      FAIL

      Re: SNAFU

      At least part of the rush to open up is allowing the NHS to be swamped in Summer rather than Winter when it's likely to be dealing with the usual seasonal flu & other bugs as well. I can see the logic of that, but it's going to be very, very hard for the ICU beds very soon, I fear.

      In any case, their wishy-washy advice on masks is going to cause problems. Not only in terms of spreading COVID but also for the poor sods in retail/hospitality/transport who have to try and enforce it in their shops or whatever in the face of those who refuse to wear them.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        allowing the NHS to be swamped in Summer rather than Winter

        That's partly as a result of a choice not to vaccinate the under-18s and partly as a result of a choice to end all social distancing which will result in more non-Covid respiratory diseases.

        There's nothing inevitable about this, but it's being framed as inevitable to avoid any consequent responsibility. I'd have more confidence if there were a grown-up debate, but it's just another battle in the culture war and I'm sick of everything been framed as unicorns v marxists.

      2. Jeffrey Nonken

        Re: SNAFU

        Last year the seasonal flu was all but non-existent. Funny, that: when you're taking precautions against contracting a respiratory illness, other respiratory illnesses are prevented, too. Relaxing the precautions for one, in order to get it over with early, means dealing with more of the other.

        It also means more deaths and suffering. The numbers don't work for me.

    3. MrBanana Silver badge

      Re: SNAFU

      A not unreasonable post, until "And for the downvoters,... bring it on. <LOL>". Kinda invites, well downvotes, don't you think? <Lord Of Losers>

    4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: SNAFU

      but I fear that it's too soon.

      But what's the "right" date, though? The longer the country stays locked down the more economic and psychological harm is done, this has to be a balancing act.

      It's clear now that COVID isn't going to fizzle & vanish like SARS, so we're going to have to learn to live with it as we do with flu. That means vaccination, sensible precautions, and not spending the rest of our lives hiding under the bed in case the nasty bogeyvirus gets us.

      The current upsurge in serious hospital cases (in all countries, not just the UK) is almost entirely among non-vaccinated people, so continuing to push the need for vaccination is essential, including making it mandatory for people in situations where they come into contact with many others. Apart from that, we have to come out of this sometime and doing it now when people are spending time outdoors, hospitals aren't overloaded, and we still have some hope of saving the hospitality industry, is probably the best option.

      I will still wear a mask in crowded places, will probably avoid airports for a while, and will of course continue to practice the basic sensible hygiene precautions, but I will do it because I know it's right, not because I need a state nanny to tell me to.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        The problem with removing the legal requirement is that there's no instant pain felt when not doing the sensible thing*, and this tends to embolden the less socially responsible parts of society.

        To push an absurd comparison, there is and has never been any regulation making it illegal to walk barefoot on broken glass (as far a I know) because why would you need it.

        *masks, distance, hand cleaning etc.

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          In some countries if it's not illegal then it must be compulsory, or is it the other way round?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            I still recall the furore around seatbelts becoming law.

          2. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            In the UK it seems that if it's not illegal then it must be compulsory. Same with the USA.

        2. Fonant

          Re: SNAFU

          Especially since "the sensible thing" is all about benefiting others, not ourselves. We're a nation of very selfish people.

          Compare with the Far East, where society is more important than individuals, where mask-wearing is common even when people just have a cold.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            It's a balancing act between the individual and society* where enlightened self interest should be understood by the majority, I don’t ‘have’ to do all the things I was required to do yesterday but if most of us keep doing them most of the time it’s better for everyone.

            When society is deemed more important than the individual you frequently end up with authoritarian regimes, you don't need to look very hard to find those.

            *personified in the state.

          2. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            "We're a nation of very selfish people." We didn't used to be, it seemed to start on the 4th May 1979 and the introduction of MeMeMe.

            1. genghis_uk Silver badge

              Re: SNAFU

              Why can't people stop with the Thatcher thing?

              Like people were wonderful and everyone lived in a utopian society in the 60's / 70's?

              The 70's started with the 3 day week and ended with the Winter of Discontent - both were in part people being selfish!

              1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                Re: SNAFU

                "Why can't people stop with the Thatcher thing?" You mean the endless adoration and the slavish acts of the Tories to continue with her disastrous policies?

                "Like people were wonderful" No of course not you despicable disingenuous person. But far, far more people cared about the community, each other and the environment etc., there was little of MeMeMe and a strident demand for divisiveness.

                In the early 70s Thatcher was in the gov - a cabinet member. It was when she earned the title "Milk Snatcher" which she said hardened determination, yet Cabinet papers revealed she opposed the policy but had been forced into it by the Treasury. So much for her claims to be caring and prove a total lack of principles.

                1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: SNAFU

                  her disastrous policies?

                  You mean the ones that broke the control of the unions and put the country on the path to recovery and prosperity after the economically disastrous policies of the 60's and 70's you mean? My whole generation is in good shape thanks to those "disastrous" policies.

                  But far, far more people cared about the community, each other and the environment etc., there was little of MeMeMe and a strident demand for divisiveness.

                  The past viewed through rose-tinted glasses, eh?

                  No-one back then gave a damn about the environment, it was the "white heat of technology", burn more resources, build, build, build. Thatcher was one of the last UK prime ministers with a scientific background, who actually understood the science of the issues.

                  Milk Snatcher

                  You might at least credit wikipedia when you copy/paste from it.

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: SNAFU

                    "Thatcher was one of the last UK prime ministers with a scientific background,"

                    There were others?

                    1. ABehrens

                      Re: SNAFU

                      Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour PM, studied science, botany, agriculture, mathematics, and physics at Birkbeck College.

                  2. Paul 195
                    FAIL

                    Re: SNAFU

                    "Breaking the power of the unions" - which is another way of saying "boosting the power of capital". Ever since then our society has become less equal each year, and more and more wealth has been locked away by the rentier class who own the capital and the assets.

                    The 60s and 70s were not perfect, but we didn't have a large precariat of people who were both in employment, but unable to feed themselves or access decent accommodation.

                2. genghis_uk Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: SNAFU

                  <quote>No of course not you despicable disingenuous person</quote>

                  You really are a people person aren't you?

                  A slight bit of disagreement and you decide to attack personally. Remember, this is opinion, mine happens to differ. That does not make me despicable. It just makes you look a little silly for not being open to the fact that my memory of the 70's/80's are different to yours. There are no real measures for how much more socially aware people were back then - my neighbourhood was probably quite different to yours so in what way am I being disingenuous?

        3. Shalghar

          Re: SNAFU

          Too bad those doing the harm with lockdown fetishes, absurd restrictions and other cruelties "for protection" do not adhere to the enforced standards.

          Like Matt Hancock as so recently discussed here or germanies Jens Spahn, same ministry here, who on the day of telling everybody to not go into restaurents, went with some donators in ... a place where you can buy things to eat ... did not track and trace them, refused to tell their names and kept the donations under the magical barrier of 10.000 Euros so they did not need to be reported legally. Funny enough, while proclaiming that everyone - even those recovered from CoViD - needed to be vaccinated, he himself refuses to accept the needle as he already recovered and thus is immune. Merkel refuses to be vaccinated, Laschet (candidate for chancellor) also.

          Politicians do not endure any kinds of damage from what they do to others, neither loss of job nor loss of money if "self isolating" (in case they do), no fourlough/"Kurzarbeit" (being out of job without contractually losing the job and getting around 60% net income as gross income paid).

          Not experiencing the damage done first hand, they cannot understand why some people have severe issues with the so called "protective measures".

          And so there will be no chance of any "balance" of "protection" versus oppressive measures.

          So its not just the assumed stubbornness or stupidity, when those on top do not lead by example, when more than 10 members of the Bundestag profited by shady deals with enforced "protective gear", any "necessary measures" are discredited.

          Much more so if you close 20 hospitals in year one of the panicdemic era and sack over 1000 medical and hospital staff in year two. And even more if the proclaimed "experts" are not even medical practitioners nor people with the relevant competencies.

      2. Hawkeye Pierce

        Re: SNAFU

        But there is next to no "economic and psychological harm" caused by making it mandatory to wear masks in certain places. In fact given how that's only likely to cause more people to either have Covid or to self-isolate, there's a case to be made that removing that requirement will actually cause more of both of those.

        As to what the "right date" is, so why wasn't it last week? Cases weren't as bad then after all. The only change for the better is a relatively small uptick in the number of people being either single or double vacinated. Hmm, maybe schools finishing as well helps, to be fair. But at the moment, the situation is worsening day on day, and we have the fourth highest number of cases per head of population in the world. That doesn't sound to me like the ideal time to do away with factors which have a beneficial impact such as mask wearing,

        I agree with a lot of your post, but removing the legal requirement to wear masks has absolutely nothing to do with economic reasons and everything to do with politics and popularity within a certain group of people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SNAFU

          everything to do with politics and popularity within a certain group of people.

          I'm not sure that the 18-25 age group is really Boris's target demographic.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
            Holmes

            Re: SNAFU

            They'll become adults and start voting Conservative eventually. Boris is going to be PM long enough to see that age group grow out of their left wing childishness.

            1. Potemkine! Silver badge

              Re: SNAFU

              They'll become adults and start voting Conservative eventually

              Yep. Old age is a shipwreck.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SNAFU

          I read a piece from a professor of engineering yesterday (once the virus has left the body it becomes a physics problem not a biology one) who stated the use of face masks represented a comfort blanket for society given the gaps in the mask are around 1,000 times the size of the virus aerosol. His analogy was "it is like throwing marbles at scaffolding and expecting it to block them".

          So, enjoy your comforter by all means but vaccination and learning to live with it like the flu are the inevitable solution. Cases are irrelevant, it's deaths that matter - just like the flu.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            Are we allowed to throw professors of engineering down a scaffold tower instead? Because that's utter ballocks. Are they talking about a single layer of cheesecloth? Are they talking inelastic collisions rather than stuff that sticks and adsorps? Are they talking actual viral particle size or the size of exhalation droplets which can contain 1,000s of particles in a single droplet?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: SNAFU

              Go read the studies that have already been done on mask effectiveness. They don't f*cking work.

              The very fact that any spectacle wearer can easily demonstrate the air escaping the top, let alone the ill-fitting sides of a mask should give you a slight inkling they're shit. Then add that most aren't surgical standard, fitted properly, used once only, or put on using freshly scrubbed/sanitised hands and there's a bit more of a clue-bat you could hit yourself with as to their effectiveness.

              But hey, if your little comforter makes you feel all nice and safe then roll with it. Most people have gotten over that by double digits though.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: SNAFU

                I have. They do.

              2. TRT Silver badge

                Re: SNAFU

                As for the claim there's no evidence... you think the scientific community of the whole world hasn't been all over this like a rash?

                Try "An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19" Howard er al PNAS Jan 2021.

                I sincerely hope the misting of my glasses when I wear the surgical face masks required at work, which are actually worse fitting and lower grade than the ones I bought and use on the trains and tubes, isn't a result of spit droplets... that would be yuck. I'm hoping it's a result of condensation of water vapour which, as you know (don't obviously) is when water becomes a gas and then a liquid again. I sincerely hope my mask allows gas to penetrate, because I kind of need that to happen. Call me old fashioned but I'm rather in the habit of respiring now. Big fan of it really. Couldn't live without it. I suppose you'll be telling me perfume molecules are bigger than virus particles next - I've heard that one before. "Proof" that because you can smell perfume and fag smoke wearing a mask, viruses can get through. School must have been something that happened to other people.

                1. Mark 65 Silver badge

                  Re: SNAFU

                  Water vapour from your breath comes from your lungs and is in general 10 to 100 microns in droplet size and will, as far as I'm aware, be where the virus is carried (as would most respiratory viruses). The water in your breath is not (generally) from saliva and this is not what the mask is required to defeat. Saliva is easy to stop, water vapour is somewhat more difficult.

                  You in fact don't want that "gas" to penetrate the mask because it is carrying the virus when it is this "gas" escaping. N95 masks are effective in this regards. Other masks, especially when worn by the public - not so much.

                  I've seen another commenter on here note that masks reduced spread by 15% and only with a host of caveats. They didn't get down-voted to oblivion so I presume that either nobody witnessed that post or it is generally accepted to be ball-park accurate. I'd want a lot better than a 15% reduction to consider something effective. That, to me at least, puts them in the minimally effective if not largely ineffective bracket.

              3. hoola Silver badge

                Re: SNAFU

                In a basic face covering that the majority are using where exactly do you expect the air to come out?

                It is all about limiting the amount of aerosols that are expelled and reducing the velocity so that it does not travel a longer distance. If 90% stay on the wearer then that is vastly better than not using the mask.

              4. TheFifth

                Re: SNAFU

                "Go read the studies that have already been done on mask effectiveness. They don't f*cking work."

                I'm so fed up with hearing this line pedalled again and again.

                I think you need to catch up on your reading, because the majority of studies now suggest that they DO work. Not perfectly obviously, but they do have an effect.

                From what I've read, previous research (which you seem to be relying on) wasn't testing the protection afforded during a pandemic, when there is a massive amount of the virus circulating. Many looked at the additional protection given during a normal flu year, where the difference is tiny because the probability of getting the flu in the first place is far lower. So even the 'masks don't protect the wearer' line is incorrect when there's a pandemic going on (that's my understanding of what I've read anyway).

                The CDC have been maintaining a page that summarises the most recent research here:

                https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html

                It currently summarises 65 separate research projects. However, as I'm sure you won't read it, here's an extract from their conclusion:

                "Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and wearer protection for the mask wearer. The relationship between source control and wearer protection is likely complementary and possibly synergistic, so that individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use."

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: SNAFU

                  Sort of related - these arguments remind me of a study few years ago about how healthy or not butter was.

                  There were two very conflicting reports - one was from the Butter Marketing Board saying it was good for you, and the other was sponsored by the Margarine Marketing Board that said butter was bad for you.

            2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

              Re: SNAFU

              There is zero scientific proof that masks make any difference when worn by general population.

            3. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Re: SNAFU

              (including vets)All these dim anti-maskers obviously believe all medical personnel should stop wearing masks as they are useless. Similarly when dealing with non-human animals.

              But they don't, i.e. they are selfish morons, to put it politely.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: SNAFU

                There's quite some difference between a medical professional wearing a mask and the general public who are wearing them because they're forced to. One is fully trained and experienced in their use and the other sees them as an inconvenience. I doubt they're doing so grand a job in the latter case.

                1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                  Re: SNAFU

                  Bless. Most people, at least those with working brains, do not view it as being a forced action they view it as sensible. But selfish numpties are totally incapable if understanding such obvious things. what you selfish idiots fail to realise is that with freedom comes responsibility and no responsible person would adopt your attitude.

                  I wasn;t aware ne needed to earn a Ph/D in mask wearing. In my experience the use of masks is pretty simple, although given the apparent intellect of anti-maskers they obviously have a problem with such simple things.

                  Interesting that the countries where the wearing of masks is considered desirable and sensible aren't 1st and 7th in the world for deaths isn't it.

                  Go and get an education and some real life experience. Do you know what empathy means? Obviously not

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: SNAFU

                    get an education and some real life experience. Do you know what empathy means? Obviously not

                    (s)he's apparently not the only one.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SNAFU

            "I read a piece from a professor of engineering yesterday "

            Citation welcome.

            (Yes I know the idea of quoting your sources is way past its "use by" date, these days any old bloggist or "influencer" will do just fine).

            Ah wait, it sounds like it may well have been a senior lecturer in engineering at Brunel University, quoted in the Telegraph?

            His comments were initially directed largely at cloth face coverings, not the disposable ones once widely seen, but he then widens them out to conclude that masks in general have no statistically significant effect.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: SNAFU

              There's a Danish study that fills in that particular gap.

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: SNAFU

                There's a Danish study that fills in that particular gap.

                I refuse to go out with an iced pastry covering my face.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: SNAFU

                  I dunno though - masks are provided here at work, and compulsory (hospital) - some have a very strong flowery smell that causes me to sneeze....... Mmmmm pastry....

              2. TheFifth

                Re: SNAFU

                Would that be the Danish study that the CDC summarised as this:

                "(the study has) been improperly characterized by some sources as showing that surgical or cloth masks offer no benefit. A community-based randomized control trial in Denmark during 2020 assessed whether the use of surgical masks reduced the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers (personal protection) by more than 50%. Findings were inconclusive, most likely because the actual reduction in infections was lower. The study was too small (i.e., enrolled about 0.1% of the population) to assess whether masks could decrease transmission from wearers to others (source control)."

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: SNAFU

                  Not quite the panacea that they're made out to be are they?

          3. An ominous cow heard

            Re: SNAFU

            "Cases are irrelevant, it's deaths that matter - just like the flu."

            So "Long CoVID" isn't a real thing then? I'm glad you've cleared that up for us.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: SNAFU

              Long COVID sounds like an advert for a future treatment. No doubt we'll see long flu in future.

          4. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            Engineers should stick to engineering and not spout drivel.

            1. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Re: SNAFU

              To the downvoters, Thanks for agreeing he spouted drivel.

          5. Shalghar

            Re: SNAFU

            While i agree for my own reasons that the mandatory masquerade in its current forms is mostly religious, the concentration on particle size is misguiding.

            Virus particles do not roam freely and isolated, the virus head is made from special fats (thats why alcohol based sanitizers , harsh dry conditions and UV kill them) and tends to cling to larger aerosoles/particles so the currently mandated dust filters could block the particle and its viral payload, as long as they are not too moist and the gas stream breathed through does not transport the particles we want to catch. Viral density can be reduced as long as the masks are dry enough. The issue here is the misbelief that those disposeable things can protect for longer amounts of time or that they somhow magically kill the nasties.

            Wearing a mandatory mask does not protect you significantly, masks that actually can protect you have active components that disable or destroy bacteria and virii, secure fit and other attributes that the paperbags simply cannot deliver.

            What the paperbags are good for is catching and slowing down anything you might exhale, but then the problem of too much collected moisture and particles arises.

            Making the paperbags mandatory saved a lot of explaining but did not help much as badly explained (badly includes discredited preachers) enforced stuff is always mistrusted and opposed.

        3. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          “Johnson referred to the Telegraph as “my real boss” and was extremely concerned about the reaction of the right-wing press ….."

      3. Fonant

        Re: SNAFU

        But what's the "right" date, though?

        When we have some basic control over this deadly infection. That is, when people can be trusted to not spread this air-borne disease (when Hell freezes over) or when we have 90% of the whole population vaccinated (especially teenage children).

        My brother emigrated to New Zealand last year. His family had to undergo many COVID tests and 14 days of compulsory and strict hotel quarantine. The first week they weren't allowed to leave their (nice, en-suite) room. Food was delivered to their door. The second week, after negative tests, they were allowed to use the hotel grounds for fresh air.

        Now they have life as normal, no restrictions, no COVID in circulation. Yes, the restrictions on people coming into the country are strict and onerous. But, hey, no swamped medical system, no masks, no need for social distancing, everything is open as normal.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          Now they have life as normal, no restrictions, no COVID in circulation.

          New Zealand is twice the size of England, with only the population of Ireland, though. It's much easier to pull up the drawbridge and isolate itself from the world than it would be for the UK.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            Especially when practically the only place within 1,000 miles has similar rules.

          2. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            What about the fact that places with far higher population densities than the UK have lower rates?

            I see your problem by your use of England.

            Most of the rest of Europe has lower rates than the UK and has cities with similar densities.

            Lets look at Hong Kong which has a fsar, far higher population density than the UK or any city in it. It is also a region with a very high dependance on the movements of money, goods and people, even more so than the UK, and yet it is 174th against the UK's 7th.

            Facts are a bitch aren't they.

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

              Re: SNAFU

              > Most of the rest of Europe has lower rates than the UK and has cities with similar densities.

              Because England is actually testing for the virus ( eg: 4 times as many daily tests as France ).

              Normalised data puts England's infection rate as of when you posted at 10% lower than France.

              But don't let facts get in the way of a good talking point.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SNAFU

          They're not "out of it" yet though. They're in the "hide under the blankets when there's a case" bucket just like Australia. Which is all well and good until the money runs out. There's a large segment of society that cannot work from home who suffer every time, but politicians always pull the "greater good" card as it doesn't affect them.

          It would be interesting to see how suicide rates and bankruptcies have fared in this time. Someone I work with (in this region) noted that they new two people that killed themselves due to lockdowns and the financial ruin they brought, but nobody that had even got COVID let alone died from it. There's always a price to be paid.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        3. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          No BoJo. No Trump. Empathy and science rule.

      4. Pseudononymous Coward
        Trollface

        Re: SNAFU

        >But what's the "right" date, though? The longer the country stays locked down the more economic and psychological harm is done, this has to be a balancing act.

        This is a false dichotomy. It is not an "all or nothing" choice.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          It is not an "all or nothing" choice.

          No, as I said it's a balancing act. Balance is, obviously, not "all or nothing".

          1. Pseudononymous Coward
            Happy

            Re: SNAFU

            Thank you for the clarification. It was the idea that there might be a single date on which to remove all restrictions that I didn't like. Different measures can be relaxed or introduced on different dates.

            With, for instance 195 countries * 18 months = 300 country-years experience of different precautions against Covid in its various flavours, to feed into the mathematical models, it should be a straightforward technical exercise based on how many deaths/long term disabilities the country is prepared to accept versus how much economic damage is is prepared to accept.

            But, because this is the 21st Century United Kingdom we don't have that sort of discussion, instead we just have stupid slogans like "freedom day".

            Masks and barriers indoors seem a very cheap measure except e.g. for night club owners, and appear to have high effectiveness, whilst social distancing is economically more expensive, and so on. The measures clearly have a declining effect, and mortality/morbidity of the disease is reduced, as more of the population become properly vaccinated, so you might have expected that the lockdown reduction steps would be directly tied to proportions and demographics of the population that are vaccinated.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: SNAFU

              "freedom day"

              Want Freedom Fries with that?

      5. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        "not spending the rest of our lives hiding under the bed in case the nasty bogeyvirus gets us"

        According to today's Daily Telegraph, under the bed is the very worst place to hide.

        Matt - "The monster under your bed has tested positive for Covid..."

      6. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        "But what's the "right" date, though? The longer the country stays locked down the more economic and psychological harm is done, this has to be a balancing act." Wrong. U-turns and lies cause far more economic and psychological harm.

    5. Al Black

      Re: SNAFU

      FreeDumb Day is not SNAFU, it is TARFUN or FUBAR, possibly even BOHICA! With 40K new cases yesterday and 20 deaths from COVID, it seems a little reckless to be removing rules designed to slow the spread. If you let the Delta variant get out of control, you can't get it back. The UK will have several thousand more deaths before this is over.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SNAFU

        With 40K new cases yesterday and 20 deaths from COVID

        On average there are 1600 deaths in the UK every day. Is an additional 20 really an adequate reason to inflict further economic damage?

        1. Julz Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          If you factor in the fact that COVID deaths are measures as people dying within 28 days of a positive test; then 20 a day is basically the baseline as it's very close to the number you would expect to have died of other causes yet have tested positive in the last 28 days.

          Note to self. Write shorter sentences...

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          Bless. The situation is getting worse and the morons are mingling, therefore there will be yet another rapid increase in cases and deaths. There is also the long terms effects, a fact the morons don't seem to get.

          USA 1st. UK 7th. For deaths. That is the result of incompetent government and stupid people and nothing else.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SNAFU

            That is the result of incompetent government and stupid people and nothing else.

            Indeed, if only they had legislated against COVID, and people hadn't been so stupid as to catch it. Maybe we'd be like N. Korea, soooo much better.

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: SNAFU

            USA 1st. UK 7th. For deaths.

            The USA is big, of course it has more deaths, although still fewer than the EU. Looking at deaths per million population, which is the only sensible measure, the UK is 20th, the USA 21st. The EU as a whole is 29th. Given the different reporting and calculation measures, and the trustworthiness of those from places like China, Russia, N. Korea, etc., I doubt we'll be able to draw accurate conclusions for 5 years or more, when the true excess deaths figures become available. That will also allow us to look at the numbers for people who died due to directly COVID, but also due to side effects (hospitals reprogramming care, people scared to go to hospital, etc.).

            That is the result of incompetent government and stupid people and nothing else.

            It's way, way more complicated than that simplistic analysis.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          What do you understand by the term "lagging indicator"?

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        The frightening thing is that you get downvoted for telling the truth.

        1. TV nerd

          Re: SNAFU

          Which of your posts were truth?

          They seem mostly to be political statements from an extreme left point of view …

    6. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: SNAFU

      So many people here seems to be afraid of everything.

      All vulnerable categories who wanted are vaccinated, what else is there to wait?

      The bed wetters will be as afraid and complaining in 6 months as they are now.

      For how long we should live like this? Indefinitely?

      Grow some balls and stop be afraid.

      1. Pseudononymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: SNAFU

        >All vulnerable categories who wanted are vaccinated, what else is there to wait?

        You think? There is evidence that half of children aged 6-18 who have symptomatic Covid are left with at least one symptom that persists for at least six months.

        I personally know one child who has suffered apparently permanent total loss of all smell and taste.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        Bless. Your fillofersee resulted in the USA being top of the death league and the UK 7th. Didn't work, did it.

        Other countries, the ones not infested with greedy, selfish morons, seem to cope quite happily, but they aren't part of the traditional woke cancel culture like you, are they.

        "Grow some balls and stop be afraid." Balls are very fragile things you know. why don't you grow a vagina be strong rather than a whimpering numpty?

        1. TV nerd

          Re: SNAFU

          So tell, how is the method of recording Covid deaths in the U.K. comparable to any other country?

          Hint: Germany was recording way less compared to the U.K. simply because did how they fill their forms in …

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SNAFU

            Germany was recording way less compared to the U.K. simply because did how they fill their forms in …

            Or France, where the official figures only include deaths in hospitals or other state-run medical centers. Deaths at home or in private clinics are only counted when the death certificates are processed by a different organization, and the figures show up 4-5 months later.

    7. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: SNAFU

      “Johnson referred to the Telegraph as “my real boss” and was extremely concerned about the reaction of the right-wing press ….. “He then basically reverted and said, actually the whole thing was a disaster, we should never have done it, I was right in February, we should basically just ignore it and just let the thing wash through the country and not destroy the economy and move on,” he said.

      Cummings said Johnson had repeatedly ignored the advice of his chief scientific and medical advisers.

      A Number 10 spokesperson told the BBC: “Since the start of the pandemic, the prime minister has taken the necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice.“

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: SNAFU

        Cummings said Johnson had repeatedly ignored the advice of his chief scientific and medical advisers.

        Pot-kettle.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: SNAFU

          At least he was castigated for his stupidity, which Bojo hasn't been, his adoring fanbois still believe he is the new Churchill. it was probably a good thing Dom screwed up as he has now spilled the beans on your tin pot god.

          But Bojo isn't too good at reality, is he.

    8. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: SNAFU

      Border officials are no longer required to make basic Covid checks on people arriving in England from green and amber list countries, according to leaked instructions that have prompted claims that the government is turning a blind eye to the risk of importing Covid cases.

  3. Zebo-the-Fat

    Odd...

    Yesterday I could catch the virus if I went into a shop without a mask, today I won't. (probably) Not sure what has changed overnight, or maybe the politicians are more concerned about finance and votes than medical advice?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Odd...

      Masks were never about protecting the wearer - that's why the concept of leaving such measures (for wearing a mask is not a restriction) to "personal responsibility" doesn't make any sense at all.

      It's not a matter of personal responsibility, it's a matter of societal safety.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Odd...

        The communication around mask wearing is, I think, somewhat deliberately more than a little mixed. Initially, they were supposed protect those around a person but not the person themself, assuming the wearer is infectious. This was later extended to suggest that they do offer a degree of protection for the wearer. While the data does suggest that masks can help reduce the spread of infection, in some circumstances, it's marginal rather than advanced and there are all kind of caveats, especially over time. But what isn't in doubt is the visibility of them, which has made it easier to make them an item of faith.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Odd...

          Pardon? "item of faith" Isn't that dogma?

          "The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence"

          "Faith in religion, or trust in science. Why? Because, trust is based on past experiences. faith is not, it is based on itself."

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Odd...

        "Masks were never about protecting the wearer"

        Ok, they are to protect others from me.

        Ok, I've been vaccinated, I've been tested and am uninfected, so I have no need to wear a mask as there is nothing I have to protect others from.

        1. LogicGate

          Re: Odd...

          I to am now fully vaccinated, and the 7 day incidence where I live is currently at 11 (up from 6).

          Still I test twice a week and wear a mask when I need to be in close proximity to strangers. Partially because a vaccine is no guarantee against becoming infected (and an infected vaccinated person is a more efficient incubator for resistant strains), and partially because strangers will not know that I am fully vaccinated. Wearing a mask will therefore put them more at ease . Common politeness and regards for others is something that many on the other side of the fence seem to have very little regard for.

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Odd...

          At the time or your test you were not infected.

          It is a snapshot in time of Covid status.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Odd...

            Some of the spread in Australia has fallen into this bucket. The Delta strain spread to Queensland from New South Wales was from a returned traveller (family) that quarantined in Sydney and tested negative before leaving quarantine (a requirement). On exit they then flew to Brisbane where they started to exhibit symptoms and tested positive causing a lockdown. It is believe by the authorities that they caught the virus in Sydney. At the time mask wearing was a requirement and they went from quarantine to the airport and on to Brisbane.

            Never a greater sign that the test result is merely a point in time.

        3. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Odd...

          Wrong. You can stil get infected and be a carrier.

      4. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Odd...

        Its both.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd...

      During the 2nd wave, everybody had been wearing masks for a year and the infection rate was still growing exponentially. If nothing else, we've conclusively proved that masks don't work.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Odd...

        >>>We've conclusively proved that masks don't work.<<<

        No we haven't, not until we try it again with another all new virus and no masks to compare the body count.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Odd...

          I think we can safely assume that the AC was referring to masks working in the case of COVID and not "for all things for all of time".

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

        Those masks and social distancing helped drop influenza deaths by 99% in the US last winter (few hundred deaths vs 20-50K in a normal flu season) and AFAIK most of the rest of the world saw something similar.

        If you want to claim masks don't work, you have to come up with a credible explanation for why the flu season was almost non existent last fall/winter. And no, it wasn't because people weren't tested for the flu or that flu deaths were categorized as covid deaths. Anyone admitted to the hospital with respiratory symptoms is tested, so they know who has covid and who has flu. There just weren't very many people admitted to the hospital with or dying from influenza. Masks and social distancing is the only possible explanation why.

        That means that not only is covid nearly 1000x more deadly than the flu (because it had over 10x the deaths of a normal flu season, under conditions where flu itself was 99% reduced) but that without masking and social distancing the US would have had many millions of deaths!

        1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

          Alternative explanation: those who would in the normal course of events catch flu and die caught covid19 and died thus reducing the flu death count.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

            Good point, but that accounts for AT MOST 10% of the 600K covid deaths in the US, as in a really bad flu year we see about 60K flu deaths. Covid still calculates out at hundreds of times worse than the flu, given how many it killed despite the masking and social distancing.

          2. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

            What an idiotic claim.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

              What an idiotic claim.

              In absolute terms perhaps so, but it has a grain of truth. No doubt a certain percentage of people who died "of COVID" were already ill and would have died of something, like flu, in the near future. Do we count them as "COVID deaths" or just "deaths"?

              It's a problem that doctors face all the time, technically we all die because our heart stops but identifying the actual cause of that failure is non-trivial. Does a person who already has severe breathing difficulties die "of COVID" or "of the flu", or simply "with" them?

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

                Spot on. But that's why the graphs showing death rates normally have a line showing the "expected" number of deaths based on previous years averages. The excess deaths above that line are the concerning ones. It has peaked, multiple times, at alarmingly high levels.

                For those still in denial, suppose a normal week you expect 1000 people die and that equivalent week during COVID, 9000 die, then yes, 1000 of them would have died anyway but there's still 8000 more people who dies who would not otherwise have dies that week. They may have underlying issues that would cause them to die next week, next month, next year, or maybe they'd just die at the "expected" average age. Once COVID is "over", we might expect the average death rate to drop because so many people ill with other things died much sooner than expected.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

          Sorry DS999 but it doesn't quite work like that. What you'll find is that one virus effectively displaces the other. It's a bit hard for flu to get a lookin once COVID has setup shop.

          In a typical winter season you see (and I may have the ordering wrong) coronaviruses (not C-19) spreading early in the season and they get displaced in the infection statistics towards the middle of the season when flu takes over. In this case it would seem that COVID has gotten a hold and flu can't catch a break.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

            It is quite possible to catch both at the same time as a few unlucky people did, so your displacement theory holds no water. If catching covid conferred immunity to the flu and most people caught covid last year then you might be on to something, but neither is the case.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: No we've proven that coronavirus is very virulent and deadly

              One of the things you learn as a biologist is that the outliers don't tell you about the general case. The general case here is that last winter was an abnormally low flu year.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Odd...

        Much as I dislike the masks, I'd have to disagree that their usefulness has been disproved. Their effect is marginal but not revolutionary, ie. symptomatic wearers are around 15% less infectious with them than without. In many situations this makes very little difference but in some it can be crucial, which is why they are standard practice in many hospital situations.

        Masks lose their effectiveness over time, particularly as they become damp. They're pretty much useless outdoors but, where good ventilation and distancing is not possible, then they can make sense for a limited time but if you're going to spend any time with someone indoors then don't bother. More importantly, however, avoid crowds and, if you've got symptons, stay home. It's a pity these simple instructions are not repeated more often and clearly.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Odd...

          As a quick look at my past posts will confirm, I am largely against the very concept of masks, for a number of reasons. Indeed, I have a condition fir which I have an exemption from wearing one. However, I have persevered and practiced until I can wear one for about 30 minutes at a time - long enough to go shopping. This is because the evidence does show some benefit *to others*, and, whether I like it or not, it is the new polite - like not wearing pyjamas to the supermarket. However, the outdoor venues that insist on masked really annoy me (not football grounds full of shouting, screaming people - definitely shown to be a risk), but, for example, the boat-trip I took to Staffa last week, or the outside spaces on the very large ferry from Mull to the mainland. There is absolutely no need for these to have such a requirement.

          1. DS999 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Odd...

            If everyone on all sides was as willing to compromise a bit as you appear to be, things would have gone a lot more smoothly in the past year. Have an upvote and a beer!

          2. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: Odd...

            I too have a condition but I have persevered and can wear a mask almost continuously for 7 hours. and there is a need outdoors, unless you are entirely isolated.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: Odd...

              The evidence says otherwise.

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Odd...

          Their effect is significant and not revolutionary, as their efficiency has been recognised for a long time.

          USA 1st. UK 7th. The no mask countries.

      4. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Odd...

        "everybody had been wearing masks for a year " Who told you that lie? And why are you repeating a lie?

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Odd...

      Border officials are no longer required to make basic Covid checks on people arriving in England from green and amber list countries, according to leaked instructions that have prompted claims that the government is turning a blind eye to the risk of importing Covid cases.

  4. Chris Miller

    Just back from the local supermarket - I'd say 99% of shoppers were wearing masks. The only exception I spotted was a MAMIL who'd popped in to buy a sandwich, he was very apologetic.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Gimp

      "he was very apologetic." ... for the lycra.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        For the sweaty stench probably.

    2. Plest Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Hooray! COVID has been vanquished forever!

      "I'm sorry for not giving a rat's crap about anyone else but I want a sandwich, so screw everyone else, I'm alright Jack!"

      I went into T**** yesterday morning and 4 people in front of me, no masks, no using the gel ejaculation machine, all hovering around the fresh fruit section! With my long hair, beard and Motorhead shirt I might look like a sack of crap tied up in the middle but I always wear my mask ( one with the sharp blood covered teeth print that scares old ladies! ) and I always use the gel ejaculation machine when I go in and leave.

      Who cares right? COVID was beaten at midnight last night! We're all free to jump on planes, breathe on each other again, fight like cretins for the last orange in supermarkets and touch, lick, spit where we like 'cos COVID was finally wiped off the face of the earth last night!

      FFS! Some days I just give up on humanity's more lower IQ cursed members, i really do.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Hooray! COVID has been vanquished forever!

        @Plest: Hoorah for you, your virtue signalling has been duly noted. If the rules are you don't have to wear a mask then don't expect people to.

        PS They don't work which is why it's running rampant in Sydney despite compulsory mask wearing.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Hooray! COVID has been vanquished forever!

          I would say I feel sorry for you, but I don't as you are a danger to humanity.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Hooray! COVID has been vanquished forever!

        "I just give up on humanity's more lower IQ cursed members, i really do." That's no way to talk about the government.

    3. yetanotheraoc

      99% of shoppers were wearing masks

      It's not like that here (USA). Currently the guidance is vaccinated may go unmasked, unvaccinated need to wear masks indoors. As one of the local infectious disease experts pointed out, at the shops 95% are _not_ wearing masks, but the rate of vaccinations is well below that (less than 50% hereabouts). In fact I would guess the 5% wearing masks are vaccinated -- count me in that group, as well as the infectious disease expert. I'm not at all weary of masks, but I'm pretty weary of human nature.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: 99% of shoppers were wearing masks

        Where I live we've got about 70% vaccinated so better than most areas, but I maybe see one or two people wearing a mask when I visit the grocery store.

        The people who are against vaccination for mostly political reasons are the same who were against masks for mostly political reasons, and since there is no requirement the unvaccinated wear masks or any way to check who is and is not vaccinated, they dropped masks the minute the mandate was lifted here a couple months ago.

        Whether that will come to bite them remains to be seen - they may rely on herd immunity from our 70% vaccination rate today, but when the college students come back in the fall things may be different. After students came back last year we peaked at one of the highest per capita infection rates in the world! It was bad enough I (not a morning person in any sense) was going to the gym at 5:30am, figuring that the students going that early are less likely to be the ones going to bars and parties until the wee hours and spreading covid!

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It does seem like its not be thought through about the consequences of lifting all the legal restrictions when there are 50K new COVID cases a day. As those numbers mean its a greater chance that even if you are vaccinated you could come in close contact with someone who tests positive and the app tells you to isolate. And they aren't proposing that rule is changed until the sometime in August.

    Plus there is the risk that the greater number of infected people moving around more freely with no social distancing requirement could mean we end up with yet another mutation and the vaccines might be ineffective against a new strain putting us back into a lockdown.

    1. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

      Not to be a pessimist, but another lockdown would be the best outcome for a new variant that the vaccines are ineffective against.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

    In other words, irresponsible people will now refuse to wear masks or social distance and not give a toss about catching or passing on Covid to other people, who are perhaps more vulnerable or elderly. It seems utterly stupid to me for the gov't to drop the legal need to wear masks in crowded indoor places, shops and public transport. It doesn't hurt or inconvenience anyone to wear a mask in such places.

    The wife and me (both clinically vulnerable despite having both jabs) will be avoiding crowded places more than ever now and when we do go out it will be wearing FFP3 masks to give ourselves a modicum of protection.

    1. MrBanana Silver badge

      Re: "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

      It is very clear that responsibility for the spread of the virus is now being pushed entirely onto the public. So when the covid cases soar, the government can wash their hands, and say freedom's what you wanted, that's what we gave you, your responsibility. Utter shit mongers, the lot of them.

      1. aje21

        Re: "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

        Wash their hands, I see what you did there :-)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

          Washing hands is what BoJo's been keenest on all along. Clearly Freudian.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

      So signaller, did you used to wear a mask during flu season each year to protect the elderly from a virus that can and does kill them? No? Then don't expect people to mask up now that they are no longer required to. COVID is going nowhere and will be passed between humans forever more. No amount of face diaper wearing will change that.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: "a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

        did you used to wear a mask during flu season each year to protect the elderly from a virus that can and does kill them? Yes.

        "COVID is going nowhere and will be passed between humans forever more." indeed it will, but as more and re are vaccinated it wi eventually become less of a problem as any sensible person knows.

        "No amount of face diaper wearing will change that." Thanks for confirming that masks, like nappies, work. Maybe you should use a keyboard one to stop you spreading brown smelly stuff.

  7. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    England != UK

    just as "Freedom Day" in the UK hits the half-day mark

    Free Doom Day only applies in England. That's the bit of the UK at right bottom. (very apt really)

    The governments of Cymru, Scotland and (amazingly) even NI seem to have a natural aversion to killing their citizens.

    Roll on our independence days. Won't be long now.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: England != UK

      In all fairness, as a current resident of NI I'm inclined to think that the NI government have a natural aversion to doing anything at all. Stormont was closed for years up to the pandemic. It took a global crisis to get them to get their act together and actually start doing something.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: England != UK

      "The governments of Cymru, Scotland and (amazingly) even NI seem to have a natural aversion to killing their citizens."

      Whereas as the buffoon in Downing St. would appear to have a different view,,,

      "Boris Johnson was reluctant to tighten Covid restrictions as cases rose last autumn because he thought people dying from it were "essentially all over 80", Dominic Cummings has claimed."

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57854811

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: England != UK

        Pile the bodies high.

        “Johnson referred to the Telegraph as “my real boss” and was extremely concerned about the reaction of the right-wing press ….. “He then basically reverted and said, actually the whole thing was a disaster

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: England != UK

      Congratulations, you've really upset the Little Englanders, the real woke cancel culture.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: England != UK

      "The governments of Cymru, Scotland and (amazingly) even NI seem to have a natural aversion to killing their citizens."

      I've found it particularly informative to watch Nicola Sturgeons announcements, almost always a day or so after Johnsons, and almost always, just that little bit different so as to show she's her own woman and "independent" while basically doing the same thing.

  8. AMBxx Silver badge
    WTF?

    We're all health experts now

    Amazing how we're all experts on this now. Just be sensible - it's not complicated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We're all health experts now

      You are Boatie McBoatface and I claim my £5

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We're all health experts now

      I resent your comment. This is England, we will never be sensible. We elected to fight them on the beaches when clearly staying back would have been the much more sensible tactic. Have you tried running in sand?

      1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

        Re: We're all health experts now

        Quite right! We are English and our ability as a nation to ignore common sense and repeatedly punch ourselves in the nuts is our right!

        To be fair, I don't think that's uniquely English. Hooliganism, political hypocrisy, conspiracy theory idiocy, environmental lunacy and various other methods of social self destruction are seen all over the world.

        Power to the people? You'd be mad to trust us with it!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We're all health experts now

          Don't worry, nobody does...

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: We're all health experts now

          Indeed they are, but the English are way ahead of others, with the exception of Trumpistan.

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: We're all health experts now

      Indeed, and it is the deniers who somehow can't connect the dots. Same with AGW.

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    Spoke with worried NHS staff

    I was visiting relative in hospital at the weekend (non COVID related illness) - staff were worried about freedom day as the hospital was already seeing an uptick in COVID admissions & were concerned about potential bed shortages if the trend continued (like previous COVID surges, people still get other illness, but unlike the early days, people less "scared" of hospitals and more likely to present at hospital now as they were seeing non COVID admission numbers far more "normal" than in early stages of the pandemic )

    Purely anecdotal, a single hospital and a couple of staff I chatted with on one ward, but as that's one of the 2 main hospitals near where I live, then I was concerned by their concerns.

    1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

      Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

      Here's a sobering thought: lockdown 2 was called in November mainly because of the high number of people going into hospitals. On the 31st October, when that lockdown was announced, 1456 people were admitted to UK hospitals with covid. Yesterday, it was 742 - we're already halfway to that same rate of hospital admissions.

      Granted, positive cases are currently a lot higher than in November, meaning the rate of hospitalisations per case is a lot lower now than then, which is good. Go vaccines!

      1. Hawkeye Pierce

        Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

        Worth reading this by an anonymous NHS respiratory consultant:

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/19/i-work-in-an-nhs-covid-ward-and-i-feel-so-angry

        To quote: "well over half of our Covid admissions have been vaccinated".

        (S)He goes on to say that the people presenting are less unwell than previously... but they're still unwell enough to need to be in hospital! So yes, "go vaccines..." but it seems there is a significant proportion of people who think that vaccination==immunity let alone those who refuse to be vaccinated.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

          Not everyone has had the chance yet - so we’re not even down to those who should be tied down and jabbed.

          (Assumption that there is no pork product or similarly religiously restricted substance - there isn’t as far as I am aware of.

          Being anti-Vaxxer isn’t a religion.

          1. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

            "Being anti-Vaxxer isn’t a religion." But being an anti-vaxxer is very often the result of religion.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

              Really?

              I've never seen any correlation.

        2. Julz Silver badge

          Re: Spoke with worried NHS staff

          Well, if nobody was COVID vaccinated, then no admissions to hospital would have be vaccinated. If everybody was vaccinated, then all COVID admissions would be vaccinated people.

          We are kinda in between these two states...

  10. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Stop

    The question in my mind is that if every year the media whipped up a hysterical frenzy over how many might die from this year's flu variant, whether or not we would see a similar response from the public.

    Pre-vaccine, measures to control the spread were absolutely neccessary - lockdown #1 was the right thing to do, albeit too late. The ball was the dropped again later last year, prompting lockdown 2/3 - these should have been avoidable by my reckoning, with alternative measures being put in place to protect the vulnerable, if only to allow vital functions such as kids going to school to continue with minimal interruption.

    Now, we have over 85% of the population on at least their first jab - when you take into account those who cannot be vaccinated due to being children or some other medical constraint, or those ignorant enough to refuse the vaccine, then we can pretty much say that all those who can be and are willing to be vaccinated have now had their first dose. Second doses are still in roll-out, but progressing well - pretty much everyone on the "vulnerable list" has ben double-jabbed and then some.

    However, this does not stop the media from going into complete headless chicken mode whenever some professor or official makes a comment about the apparent risk of the rising numbers of cases - reports that almost always ignore that the number of hospitalizations ate a couple of orders of magnitude lower than they were last time infections were spreading at this rate. The whole thing is now politicized; collateral damage like the anxiety that this sort of reporting may cause is being completely ignored.

    Now, anyone in the IT arena should be all to aware of how readily the general public buy into these sort of messages, especially when they are designed to instill and/or deal with anxiety. Just look at how Chrome has become the #1 browser by Google's splashing great big "download Chrome for faster, safer browsing" all over the tops of their search results page...

    So people are now hung up on the hysteria, and any survey or poll is going to reflect that. I recall back in the 80s when the "don't die of ignorance" campaign was in full swing and people were worried you could catch AIDS from a toilet seat...

    The biggest problem we now face from COVID is not the virus itself - it's the ongoing point-scoring and backstabbing between the politicians and the media, with the general public getting caught in the crossfire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...over 85% of the population on at least their first jab..."

      Unfortunately, this should be "...over 85% of the ADULT population on at least their first jab..." Under-18s have been left out up to now. This group can catch it, and act as a reservoir where new variants can arise. Simple evolution means that variants which are easier to catch would then spread more easily, and will also select for variants where the vaccines offer less protection.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "...over 85% of the population on at least their first jab..."

        You're only right about the 85% having had one jab. You're wrong on the rest: unvaccinated people can be infected but this doesn't mean they'll act as a reservoir and most certainly not one where new, vaccine resistant strains can arise. Once the illness has run its course through someone they are clear. Selection pressure (viruses can't evolve in the same way we do) suggest that mutations are most likely to arise in people with poor immune systems where it takes longer for the body to clear the infection. There is even some suggestion that in the UK the treatment of patients with antibody-laced plasma may well have been the source of the alpha variant.

        1. Only a Sith

          Re: "...over 85% of the population on at least their first jab..."

          Evolution is just change driven by mutation. The mutation may or may not be beneficial, may be neutral. It may be selected for, or it may drift into dominance. There’s nothing magic or significantly different between us and viruses here, other than viruses reproduce a lot more and a lot faster. There doesn’t have to be an advantage in the unvaccinated person - it can just be random chance, you don’t need selection pressure for change in the first place.

          So, you have a large reservoir of unvaccinated people where virus reproduction and mutation is occurring - a low mutation rate in a large number of people can produce an awful lot of variation. This most certainly can and does act as a reservoir for infecting vaccinated people, especially given protection is far from 100%. They’re also much more likely to be mingling with people than anyone who has a poor immune system, so have far more opportunity to infect other, vaccinated, people..

          Any virus strain which can successfully jump from unvaccinated to vaccinated is going to do very well given we’ve got a lot of people vaccinated - that’s where selection pressure kicks in. We’re basically creating the ideal selection conditions for creating a vaccine resistant strain.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: "...over 85% of the population on at least their first jab..."

            You're misapplying the term reservoir here, which is normally used to mean a self-replenishing source. But the aim of vaccination is to reach herd immunity where this is effectively no longer the case.

            Of course, random mutations will occur in every infected person, but there will be less selection pressure in the unvaccinated. At one point it will just become yet another endemic disease.

    2. A K Stiles

      "reports that almost always ignore that the number of hospitalizations ate a couple of orders of magnitude lower than they were last time infections were spreading at this rate"

      except if you go and look at the data yourself that isn't the case. (data for the last three weeks still tweaking by a few instances, last week-ish are not complete datasets)

      https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases

      https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

      https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths

      The deaths and hospitalisations peaked initially around 1st April 2020, with cases clearly massively under-reporting, then cases peaked again in wave 2 around 29 December 2020 with hospitalisations peaking around the 12th January 2021, and deaths peaking about a week after that, around the 19th Jan.

      Daily cases are rising again, though hospitalisations are running about a quarter of the number they were with the similar case rate in December, which is certainly better, but not a "couple of orders of magnitude lower".

      Death rate is currently about 1/10 that compared to the December equivalent, which is certainly a good thing and shows the vaccines appear to be doing a good job, or most of the most vulnerable have already succumbed in the previous 18 months...

      Have we seen any official stats yet relating cases to attendance at major sporting events like the euros final given it was a trial event to see if these things could revert to the previous state, or Silverstone (give it a couple of weeks) ?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        10:1 ratio correlates strongly with the vaccinated: non-vaccinated ratio and this is likely to be the key figure. In the US it is reported that over 99% of all recent deaths are of non-vaccinated people. While I suspect there may be some fun involved in that number, it's around what we expect so expect the pressure on the unvaccinated to increase.

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Death rate is currently about 1/10 that compared to the December equivalent, which is certainly a good thing and shows the vaccines appear to be doing a good job, or most of the most vulnerable have already succumbed in the previous 18 months...

        Hmmm, is that the vaccines or is this a different strain to the one involved in December? Delta vs Alpha. As viruses become more contagious then generally become less deadly - that's a selection mechanism for effective survival as killing your host isn't generally beneficial a la Ebola.

        I'd say a lot of what you're seeing is the 0.1% case fatality rate of Delta vs the 2.7% CFR of the Alpha variant.

    3. juice Silver badge

      > The question in my mind is that if every year the media whipped up a hysterical frenzy over how many might die from this year's flu variant, whether or not we would see a similar response from the public.

      Perhaps there should be more attention paid to flu deaths - at 25,000 per year (or ~75,000 for respiratory infections in general), they sit just behind heart disease and cancer as the third biggest killer in the UK.

      Which puts them way above other causes such as traffic accidents (2,000), despite the fact that there's arguably a much bigger and visible public campaign and policing effort around the latter.

      https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/oct/28/mortality-statistics-causes-death-england-wales-2010

      However, it's also worth noting that even with all the efforts put into minimising the impact of Coronavirus, gov.uk puts the total number of Coronavirus deaths in 2020 as being approx. 75,000, while flu-related deaths dropped to around 15,000.

      Or to put it another way: it killed roughly five times as many people in 2020 - or roughly three times as many as flu normally does. And perhaps ironically, with the way that anti-C19 measures have effectively dropped flu infections to zero, there's a very real risk that come wintertime, we're going to get an tidal wave of flu deaths atop whatever we get from Coronavirus.

      https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/07/winter-flu-season-could-be-big-experts-warn.html

      So yeah. We should be taking flu a lot more seriously. And Coronavirus is by any measure far worse than flu.

      > Now, anyone in the IT arena should be all to aware of how readily the general public buy into these sort of messages

      Anyone in the IT arena should also have a grasp of how exponential growth works. And how quickly mutations (or in IT speak, computer viruses using a new 0-day exploit) can rip through the population, especially if there's no measures being taken to mitigate the risks.

      > The biggest problem we now face from COVID is not the virus itself - it's the ongoing point-scoring and backstabbing between the politicians and the media, with the general public getting caught in the crossfire.

      Perhaps. It's a complex balancing act, and I don't envy any of the people trying to decide on the best way of getting us through this.

      I just wish I was more confident that the current political incumbents for this country were making their decisions based on purely altruistic principles...

  11. idiot taxpayer here again

    Apple/Google app

    When the first app was introduced into the U.K. it was rightly mocked as being useless. So was Track and Trace.

    So the app was changed to the Apple/Google thing and Track and Trace is now working. Better late than never I suppose.

    From what I have read it seems some people usually business owners, say that the present app is at fault or maybe it's Track and Trace at fault. No one seems to know but they have got to have someone, anyone to blame.

    Or maybe it's just a case of more people ignoring the recommendations and so more being pinged? Pretty much like I have noticed over the last week that fewer people are wearing masks in shops and on trains.

    Behave responsibly? Not going to happen

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Apple/Google app

      The real problem is in taking an indicator with a very likely high rate of false positives as being definitive. It should be no more than indicative of the need for a further test.

  12. juice Silver badge

    Situation Normal...

    All Fecked Up, as Father Jack would say.

    I mean, I can see the logic in going ahead with dropping restrictions; with all adults jabbed (or at least having the option of getting jabbed; I've heard some odd arguments from several people about why they're choosing not to, including one guy who didn't want it because his wife was pregnant), the link between C19 infections and long-covid/deaths is probably as weak as it's going to get.

    And the amount of future economic pain and aftershocks being built up in the background is only ever going to get bigger.

    However, the key word there is "weakened", not broken. And we're already seeing a significant upturn in infection rates, which to this inexpert eye looks to have gotten a nice speed-boost from all those pubs crowded with people watching the Euro final, last week. Which may well get bigger and nastier if a new variant appears which turns out to be even better at sliding through the gaps in the vaccination-defences.

    So, yeah. It feels like a pretty big gamble - as several thousand scientists[*] and a number of prominent international politicans have noted.

    Certainly, for the foreseeable future, I think I'll be maintaining my current "facemask when shopping, outdoor tables when socialising" approach...

    [*] E.g. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/16/englands-covid-unlocking-a-threat-to-the-world-experts-say

  13. alain williams Silver badge

    I have some sympathy for Boris

    He is caught between the medics on one side and his back benchers + business people on the other. He cannot please everyone and has tried to come out with something that is vague enough to please no matter your opinion -- but he has failed.

    Not explaining the reasoning is part of the obfuscation, it just makes things worse.

    Boris' ideal role would be father Christmas: a fantasy man of smiles and freebies all round.

    Oh: his Sunday shenanigans on trying to evade self-isolation y/day was simply beyond the pail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

      I might, I suppose, if he'd called it "Cautious re-Opening day" instead, in an attempt to manage the psychology of the situation.

      But calling it "Freedom Day", imo, will just encourage the less-cautious to be even more less-cautious than might be normally be considered ideal, thus unnecessarily increasing the risk of an unfortunate outcome.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

        "Freedom Day". Mail jingoism at its most despicable

    2. Sam Liddicott

      Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

      > Boris' ideal role would be father Christmas: a fantasy man of smiles and freebies all round.

      Same as Corbyn then

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
        Facepalm

        Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

        That comment has one upvote and five downvotes at the time of writing.

        It demonstrates perfectly well how far the comments section on El Reg has fallen.

        Bloody kids. Get off my lawn.

        1. MarkTriumphant

          Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

          It is perfectly reasonable - Corbyn stopped being relevant more than a year ago, so bringing him up is very-much pointless.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

            Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

            Given that those people are still banging on about Thatcher, who stepped down 31 years ago, I don't think that's why.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

              Yes, because Thatcher and her governments destroyed so much of the UK's commons* that we'll never get back. Corbyn was only the Leader of the Opposition.

              *Something the shower of shit currently in government are trying to complete by running the NHS down.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

                Corbyn was only the Leader of the Opposition.

                And we should be forever grateful that he never made it to PM.

                Though I suppose we do briefly need a Corbynist government like that from time to time, just to remind the next generation why they should never, ever, elect one again. Interesting problem.

              2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

                Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

                > *Something the shower of shit currently in government are trying to complete by running the NHS down.

                If you have to lie to further your argument, you should reevaluate whether you believe what you thought you believe.

                1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                  Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

                  The evidence proves you wrong.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

        Bless. Get a grip ffs.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I have some sympathy for Boris

      I have none. The job of a PM is to make the hard decisions. If he's not willing to do that he shouldn't have schemed to get the job in the first place.

  14. Piro Silver badge

    From Denmark

    The first day people were allowed to stop wearing masks, they did, in unison.

    Haven't seen them at all out and about for weeks now.

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: From Denmark

      Is that the same Denmark that's well and truly into it's 3rd wave?

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: From Denmark

        I'm not commenting on the good, the bad or the ugly, I'm just pointing out something that may be interesting to some.

        To add to that, the plan with the "corona passports" here is that they'll soon be phased out. Other countries are talking about bringing them in, but on the 1st of Sept, apart from nightclubs (which phase out the use of the "passport" in October), nothing will require proof of test or vaccination for entry.

        Whether that plan holds or not, I have no sodding clue, but it's interesting to follow different approaches for the purposes of comparison.

        1. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: From Denmark

          Hiya Piro,

          It's hard to compare between nations because we are experiencing different pandemics. For example, the Delta variant in Edinburgh has raised infections from 53 per 100,000 to about 600 per 100,000 - from better than Denmark to much, much worse.

          The thing is we got it two months before Denmark, so it would be advisable to expect a similar exponential growth in the near future. If I were you I'd keep wearing a facemask and encourage others to also, at least for a few months.

          Delta variant now makes up nearly 80 percent of Denmark’s new Covid cases

  15. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Market losses, expecting human losses

    The FT just reported Fears over Delta variant shake global markets.

    “The hope was that vaccines would provide us with the endgame. Now investors are looking at the UK and there’s a bit of fear with regards to reopening so aggressively when cases are still so high.”

  16. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Philosophy and statistics

    In a sense this is quintessentially a question of philosophy: how much can we trust each other to do the right thing? If this is combined with the opinion polls suggesting a majority in favour of restrictions, then you might expect most people to continue to follow most of the rules. And this is how society generally works.

    Personally, I think a more graded set of restrictions rather than a big bang probably make more sense and might all stand the test of time for the next epidemic. But, basically, we've bet the bank on vaccination so at some point* the restrictions do have to come off.

    * Feel free to make this up for yourself: 80% of the eligible population being fully vaccinated might be a place to start.

  17. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    "many restrictions are being lifted with a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility"

    Those words strike so much fear in some people. How many people are crying how bad the government is but then want the nanny state telling them what to do. I guess it works to shift the blame and take no personal responsibility.

    The UK is pretty much vaccinated. The situation was downgraded from being a pandemic. People lined up for vaccine so they could get back to their lives. The people who want to be wrapped in bubble wrap can go suffocate in it if they wish. For the rest sensible precautions based on our will to risk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha

      Fully agree. Trust in the people. And if the great English public want to gather in large numbers on our beaches and shit in burger boxes, who are we to deny them their inalienable right to do so?

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Ha

        Of course you know best. If you were dictator, all those people would be at home, doing your approved activities.

        Oh if only we were bossed around by a malevolent twat such as yourself.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ha

          Ah, if only there were less dirty shitboxes around.

    2. Howard Sway Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      How is someone expected to take "personal responsibility" and use "common sense" against an invisible virus? The point of the precautionary principle is that it sets standards for minimising risk and helps to protect others from irresponsibility. Why is there a speed limit outside schools? Surely that should also be left to personal responsibility too if your beliefs are consistent. But how would you then react when a boyracer mowed down some kids? Aren't speed limits a sensible precaution to help protect others too? Or is it an unacceptable nannying restriction on "freedom"? This stuff is too subtle and complex to be restricted to political slogans in my opinion.

      And if you want to know what will happen in a few weeks when everybody's been out partying after the end of restrictions, just look at what happened in Holland over the past month. They did the great reopening a month ago, and it's been followed by a huge locking down again as cases rose spectacularly. It's the same virus, so expect the same here. Again.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @Howard Sway

        "How is someone expected to take "personal responsibility" and use "common sense" against an invisible virus?"

        Great argument. And since there are many viruses out there and we manage to cope we can lift lockdown.

        "The point of the precautionary principle is that it sets standards for minimising risk and helps to protect others from irresponsibility."

        And then we got the vaccine for a virus that was dangerous to those who are vulnerable to the flu and a little more. So now we open up. This virus isnt going away. Its here, its staying and its gonna keep mutating. So we open back up again and live our lives because there aint much else to do about it.

        "Why is there a speed limit outside schools?"

        And yet the we dont grind the whole freaking country to horse and carriage speeds because that would be stupid.

        "Surely that should also be left to personal responsibility too if your beliefs are consistent"

        Why? Before covid in banks you specifically had to have no face coverings for security reasons. Limited restrictions with actual reason makes sense. Thats why we dont have school speeds on the motorway or anywhere outside of very restrictive usage. Because its a stupidly dumb idea.

        "This stuff is too subtle and complex to be restricted to political slogans in my opinion."

        Ok. So end lockdown as the easy to process 'slogans' for clapping and saving the NHS and instead return to the real world which is more complex than everyone gets a holiday.

        "And if you want to know what will happen in a few weeks when everybody's been out partying after the end of restrictions, just look at what happened in Holland over the past month"

        Hollands vaccination process is so bad people are pissed. They cant believe how slow it is (in the EU ofc) but also aint taking well to the lockdowns. The previous lockdowns got lifted after various riots and you should hear how happy they are about the increasing lockdowns to come.

        Compare that to the UK who is vaccinated and its no longer considered a pandemic in the UK but also we actually need to reopen the economy. Its not a desire but damn necessary.

        "It's the same virus, so expect the same here. Again."

        And if we cant get rid of the virus and lockdown is not a valid solution as proven by all the complaining about the virus, the only choice is to open back up and people take their own precautions.

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        "... look at what happened in Holland over the past month. They did the great reopening a month ago, and it's been followed by a huge locking down again as cases rose spectacularly."

        Yes, cases shot up, especially among young people. No, there has not been a 'huge locking down', the reintroduced restrictions primarily relate to the closing of nightclubs and discos, and the recommendation to work from home where possible.

        Alas, hospitalisations are now going up in NL and it looks like even fully vaccinated folk can spread the Delta variant :(

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha

      "The UK is pretty much vaccinated."

      36 Million, out of a population of 67 Million, have received two jabs. Is that really, "Mission Accomplished"? (Hint: No it isn't.)

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @AC

        "36 Million, out of a population of 67 Million, have received two jabs. Is that really, "Mission Accomplished"? (Hint: No it isn't.)"

        And yet the vast majority of the protection is from the first jab AND its against a virus who's lethality is against those with underlying health conditions and the elderly. 2 groups vaccinated.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ha

          "And yet the vast majority of the protection is from the first jab..."

          Is your analysis based on a particular study/studies of single shot vaccine efficacy with respect to Delta variant infection and outcome? Could you share it/them?

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @AC

            "Is your analysis based on a particular study/studies of single shot vaccine efficacy with respect to Delta variant infection and outcome? Could you share it/them?"

            Let me guess where your next goal posts move to-

            Is your analysis based on a particular study/studies of double shot vaccine efficacy with respect to Delta variant infection and outcome? Could you share it/them?

            So at what point can we open the economy back up and people get on with their lives? That is an actual necessity so at what point can we do so?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ha

              A simple, "No." would have sufficed.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Ha

                @AC

                "A simple, "No." would have sufficed."

                So no answer? You cant suggest a point in which we open back up? For a virus that isnt going away, will continue to mutate regardless of our actions, that the vulnerable are vaccinated for already and reopening the economy is absolutely necessary.

                Instead you want a simple no to an irrelevant question which you would just move the goalposts? Stay posting as AC.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    H&S

    I'm left wondering how companies deciding masks and social distancing are no longer required by the emergency legislation, but still recommended by SAGE et.al. fits in with the, still in place, health and safety legislation (HASAW74:section 2, etc).

    I await the first prosecution of a company (or CEO) following an employee being seriously ill from Covid-19, having decided they didn't need to follow such advice. Their risk assessments would be interesting reading (which of course were done in line with the 1999 regs)...

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: H&S

      The H&S inquest would find that the employee was at fault for not taking responsible action for their own health and safety and taking appropriate measures. H&S law explicitly puts the onus on both employer *AND* employee to take appropriate measures to ensure a healthy and safe working environment.

      If *YOU* feel the world is too dangerous for you, *YOU* take action to minimise its danger to you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: H&S

        Yes, HASAWA74 puts a requirement on employees to address the safety of themselves and others, but the emphasis is on the employer to establish what is needed and the employee to comply. (For clarity, IANAL but have had responsibility for addressing H&S requirements for almost all my working life (~50 years). Much of it being in high hazard environments, from the practical, working side (i.e. not as a "Safety Officer" or "Safety Rep" looking in).

        The consensus of advice from those who probably know more than those with an ITC focus is that masks (the kind worn by the general public) don't protect the wearer from infection - they minimise the opportunity for the wearer to infect others. The only action an employee could take would be to request (and then wear) medical grade PPE from their employer. The companies currently celebrating the fact that explicit restrictions are off are hardly likely to accede to such a request.

        The sensible action for the employee to do is refuse to work and then claim constructive dismissal. Unlikely, but I can see unions taking up cases.

        The secret of a long life is not dying too soon...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: H&S

          Mask wearing predominantly comes down to protecting others so it's not a matter of employees wearing masks to protect themselves. If the employer failed to mandate mask wearing for all those not exempt then the argument would be that they failed to maintain a safe working environment.

  19. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle

    I'm off

    clubbing and socialising tonight... no mask... Boris said its was all ok

    And Boris would never lie to us would he? would he? .... would he?

    Actually bozo the clown has made this pandemic worse with his mixed messages, failure to cancel sporting occasions last year , failure to close borders, failure to ensure isolation measures were followed... and spending money like a waterfall on entirely the wrong things(but gave his ministers companies a fair amount of cash).

    And with the latest 'freedom' day bozo will ensure that covid casulties among the younger and poorer generation go up as 'who needs them anyway.. they'll never donate 10 million to the tory party in exchange for a knighthood and a 1 billion pound bung to their company.'

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I'm off

      "... bozo will ensure that covid casulties among the younger and poorer generation go up"

      That's his "levelling up" agenda

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chester Cathedral advertised that it was going to ring its bells for "Freedom Day". The public's criticism quickly caused them to rescind that intention as "inappropriate".

    Shows just how ingrained the "Churchill" nostalgia is with some people in the UK

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>>Shows just how ingrained the "Churchill" nostalgia is with some people in the UK

      Especially those who like to think they survived the Blitz and stood against Germany during WWII. Even though they were but an oocyte in their as yet unborn mother.

  21. Buttons
    Meh

    "If not now, when?"

    Fatuous campaign.

    My response would be 'when you have the virus under control' like we were promised.

    A couple of things spring to my mind. Firstly we're not alone in the world and there is a Pandemic raging across the globe. Covid only has one job and its good at it, it never sleeps, and the arrival of a new variant that buggers about with our vaccines immunity protection would scupper the .gov plans.

    Listening to the radio this morning I heard that some scientists seem to think a new variant could be produced due to the UK loosening Covid restrictions. One bloke said what was being done here would be exactly what he would have done if he had wanted to create a new variant. The chances of a new variant getting to the UK that undermines the current vaccination will be higher now we're all free, I think the Delta Variant wandered in from India this way. The chances of a new variant originating here, like the Kent variant and undermining the vaccinated world is possible too. The virus is not being controlled by current policy, the only tool in the box seems to be the Vaccine, I'm not seeing any alternative grown up strategy.

    Secondly my sibling keeps reminding me of all the wonderful things he is doing with his life in NZ. They've had restrictions but he has been able to pull his life together and can work as a chef in hospitality, he can now play in a band in public, virtually all the things we've just been given for free. I don't think the impact on the NZ economy of their efforts to control the virus will be as great as the impact of the UK Gov's efforts to control the virus on our behalf. They acted straight away without delay and applied several strategies including isolation from the rest of the world.

    UK eventually used lockdown as the only tool in the box before it was swapped for the Vaccine, failing to find the other tools available and learning how to use them quickly.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: "If not now, when?"

      "...a new variant could be produced due to the UK loosening Covid restrictions"

      Credit where credit is due - that should be named "The Boris variant"

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: "If not now, when?"

        That's a really good idea.

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: "If not now, when?"

      Covid only has one job and its good at it, it never sleeps, and the arrival of a new variant that buggers about with our vaccines immunity protection would scupper the .gov plans.

      Genuine question : isn't this always going to be true?

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: "If not now, when?"

      "My response would be 'when you have the virus under control' like we were promised."

      So, never.

      The common code is endemic, lock down the entire country for ever.

      Flu sweeps the country every winter, lock down the entire country for ever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "If not now, when?"

        >The common code is endemic

        import math ?

    4. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      Re: "If not now, when?"

      > The chances of a new variant originating here, like the Kent variant

      The Kent variant more than likely didn't originate here. It was discovered here because Britain is doing 50% of the entire worlds genome testing.

      Assuming a variant is equally spread throughout the world, there is a 50% chance it will be discovered in Britain.

      Probably higher given our testing programme is literally world beating ( four times as many tests as France, for instance ).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "If not now, when?"

        >>The Kent variant more than likely didn't originate here

        Stop doing Britain down! Be proud of the achievement. Own it. We could have given it an amusing name like 'KungFlu'. How about The Tunbridge Unwells?

  22. Sam Liddicott

    Who to believe

    Whether you take medical advice from a politician or a medic that the politician appointed, it amounts to the same thing. The politician decided which medics to appoint (or sack as the case often is).

    But it's not simply a medical or scientific question, how the factors are balanced is a personal preference.

    What's your attitude to risk?

    Anyone whose attitude to risk is more timid than Boris thinks that everyone whose attitude to risk is less timid than Boris is a murderer who should be forcibly vaccinated and then executed.

    Anyone whose attitude to risk is less timid than Boris thinks that everyone whose attitude to risk is more timid than Boris is a Nuremberg kidnapper doctor who should be coughed on and made to walk home without a mask.

    What is more concerning than the above hyperbole is the extent that people appear to be willing to go to in order to enforce their political ideals on others.

    One person is not a means to another persons end however noble; good intentions aren't the same as good results.

  23. MrMerrymaker Silver badge
    Stop

    To vote Tory you need to be evil

    Seriously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To vote Tory you need to be evil

      No. Just easily pilled.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      Re: To vote Tory you need to be evil

      Don't worry, you'll grow out of this childishness sooner or later.

  24. Danny 2 Silver badge

    The definition of insanity

    English nightclubs are open to anyone without a test or a vaccine. Today the government (and I use that word in the widest possible sense) said nightclubs will have to ban anyone without a vaccine at the end of September. So it's safe today but won't be safe in two months? WTF?

    Prof Jon Deeks, co-chair of the Royal Statistical Society Covid testing group, said today that the schemes that Boris and co tried to evade isolating were a sham.

    "The government has also been doing a thing where they set up what they describe as a ‘pilot’ if they want something to happen."

    eg Euros, Wimbledon, schools opening, government not isolating - all secretive 'pilots'.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      Re: The definition of insanity

      > So it's safe today but won't be safe in two months? WTF?

      Respiratory viruses spread more during winter.

      Although it isn't currently fair to restrict nightclubs to the vaccinated because the youngest eligible won't be double jabbed until September.

      It's an imperfect measure with a culminate effect. Why do people (pretend to?) not understand this.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Everyone's an expert

    Came to the comments section for all the completely speculative armchair expert posts, was not disappointed.

    1. ClockworkOwl
      Coat

      Re: Everyone's an expert

      Commenters commenter, huh?

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Everyone's an expert

      The funny thing is IT is so all pervasive now that on this forum you're likely to get comments from everyone ranging from conspiracy nuts to the people who write the epidemiology modelling code to the ones who do bio molecular lock and key simulations to forex trading. This really is a microcosm. And thanks to the reg not having any real rules on names on posts we can all choose to wear a mask!

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
        Facepalm

        Re: Everyone's an expert

        El Reg binned off their readers in 2017 when they switched their political slant from grownup to way over to the left.

        The idea, of course, being to attract the young and stupid.

        And we've now got the comments reflective of that.

  26. TRT Silver badge

    As for the app... housemate has been pinged twice now. Essential worker going into city daily on the train. The likelihood is that both occasions were during the train journey rather than a colleague. The thing is both times negative - no transmission. BUT that was during the time masks on trains were compulsory. And now of course there's this big cry to delete the app and to cripple it. Not once have they asked about mask wearing. The parameters of the app were derived from massless transmission studies.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Point being it's like a dosimeter. UV. You wear a little badge when you're outside, if it changes colour you've received a warning dose of UV. But if you went out with sunscreen on... do you see what I'm saying? The app was written to warn you of close proximity known to be sufficient to transmit the original variant of Covid with no other precautions in place. Because we now have so many vaccinated, which reduces the chance of both passing it on and catching it, people wearing masks and a strain around 7 times as infectious, people are mixing more, getting back to work, socialising... the numbers are all over the place. The Bluetooth app which was a dubious way to measure stuff to begin with and I'm still amazed it seems to work, hats off to the boffins, is being treated like a precision tool but really it's only a guide, a warning device. I don't understand why the government insists on using it like it does, as if it's a diagnostic device. Every time they tweak the rules it's going to change the performance of the app. That doesn't invalidate it, it just means you need to see what it means in the correct light.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. zb42

    stats

    The statistics seem mildly bad to me.

    A few days ago, infections were about half alpha variant, half delta variant. The delta variant seems to spread more rapidly.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-variants-genomically-confirmed-case-numbers/variants-distribution-of-case-data-16-july-2021

    Page 39 in this report says that two does of vaccine are 79% effective at protecting against the delta variant

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1001354/Variants_of_Concern_VOC_Technical_Briefing_17.pdf

    After initially giving an incorrect statistic, the chief scientific adviser says that 40% of the people who have been admitted to hospital have had two doses of vaccine.

    To me, it seems that the numbers indicate that filling stadiums and concert halls with people is still going to result in lots of infections in people who go home to places all over the UK. Vaccination reducing the chance of transmission by a factor of five is not enough.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheep

    The death rate of covid is half of the annual Flu death rate so what's the threat ? When you have future kings and queens of our country mingling with common people not masked or any social distancing watching Tennis, Football and soon the games, you can't tell me they would be allowed to mingle if there was any problems, FFS, just get on with your lives !

    1. LogicGate

      Re: Sheep

      And that is why I would prefer to have the UK-EU border closed for unvaccinated / non quaranteening travel.

  30. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    *GARGH!**

    If *YOU* don't want freedom, then go ahead and *YOU* lock yourself up.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @J.G.Harston

      Well said. I dont know at what point people decided they were too stupid to think and so needed someone to dictate how they should live. People used to fight for freedom of choice and to be treated like adults.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: @J.G.Harston

        Absolutely! Fuck the met office and their heat wave alert. I'm going for a five mile hike to the shops without any sunscreen on. Bleeding nanny state. I'd drive only I don't want to wear a seat belt. They don't work you know. 90% of all KSIs of people travelling in a car were wearing a seatbelt at the time so obviously they don't work and it's just a social experiment on mass obedience.

        </ sarcasm>

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @J.G.Harston

          @TRT

          "I'm going for a five mile hike to the shops without any sunscreen on. Bleeding nanny state."

          I am not sure your making the argument you think your making. If you want to go on a 5 mile hike with no sunscreen in the heat wave guess what, go for it. Your an adult (assuming) so you are responsible for yourself. You have the information and so expected to use personal judgement.

          If your argument is that mommy aint telling you what to do then there is little respect I can give to people with that view. Those are children and they need rearing into adults. Adults have to make their own decisions.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: @J.G.Harston

            I was being sarcastic.

            "people decided they were too stupid to think"

            I look out the window, I see it is sunny. I open the door, it's like a furnace out there. Am I too stupid to think it's a bit hot for a walk when I'm not used to it? Or that I should put some sunscreen on? So is it then wrong for the Met Office to put out an alert because it's so bleeding obvious that it's a bad idea to go out in the midday sun? Is it wrong for the government to legislate the mandatory use of seat belts? One scenario has an obvious an immediate danger, the heat, which we no doubt all have experienced at one point or another. The other is a statistical threat obtained through observation of the experience of a population. You can shout until you're blue in the face about seat belts, you can screen more and more gruesome public information films showing melons and heads and bits of brain and dead people and quadriplegics on ventilators for 50 years... do people listen? Do they do the sensible thing? Do 75% of the population use the safety device the law now says their vehicle must have fitted? What about the other 24% who can but choose not to or the 1% who actually really can't for some good reason. Will people get used to it eventually?

            YMMV of course, but where does the state's responsibility towards the individual end?

            I'll upvote you for continuing the discussion without resorting too much to personal abuse as so often can happen.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: @J.G.Harston

              @TRT

              "I was being sarcastic."

              Ffs I saw your sarc tag and still hedged the wrong way. There was a time I could distinguish the difference between such humour/stupidity. Sorry for my mistake.

              "I'll upvote you for continuing the discussion without resorting too much to personal abuse as so often can happen."

              Appreciated and likewise. The line of personal responsibility and danger to others must be balanced but the way we are going we will be locking down for fear of the flu.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: @J.G.Harston

                Well I have to admit I do fear that in these times of heightened sensitivity around infection, the thought of catching the flu will cause anxiety in many. If not just because it can be caught in a similar way to covid so if you're exposed to one you're exposed to the other and that with reduced exposure to the flu virus fewer will develop a natural immunity this year.

                As for our perception of risk, we are poor at appreciating low frequency risks, amplified by medium severity or a wide range of severities. You just have to look at the AIDS epidemic to see how stupid we are.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @J.G.Harston

                Both - have an upvote each!

                Playing nicely with each other is to be encouraged.

  31. This Side Up

    Shift of Blame

    "many restrictions are being lifted with a shift of emphasis onto greater personal judgement and responsibility."

    In other words a shift of blame onto the public for the next wave of coronavirus.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Shift of Blame

      In other words a shift of blame onto the public for the next wave of coronavirus.

      You really believe that we have to be told what to do by government, so that we don't need to take responsibility for our own actions?

      That's sad.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021