The Rush to Ease Lockdown

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Ernest
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:31 am

I note that a group of Conservative MP's are putting pressure on the government to ease all lockdown restrictions by the end of March. They quote that lockdown is doing enormous damage to their constituencies and to business and families.

Their contention is at odds with the continuing high infection rate and people in Hospital ICU and deaths. Yes, these have gone down, but they could equally go right back up if we have a free for all of opening every thing up at once, without more evidence to support that decision making process.

Vaccination is progressing well, but the government wants to vaccinate every one over 50 by the end of May, surely that would be the sensible decision to work with? Also to vaccinate the whole population by the autumn.

We also have the 2nd vaccinations to be delivered before than, for many of us who have to wait until early April for our second dose.

I have seen it suggested that there will not be a Tier system in place once lockdown is ended. So, how will they hope to control outbreaks locally without it? Mass testing and trace is suggested as the solution, but that has been a failure so far. With thousands who should be isolating, not being contacted or enforced. Other countries have succeeded in reducing cases to virtually Zero, by enforcing restrictions robustly and with successful test and trace systems, based locally, not nationally. I wonder if that level of enforcement will be acceptable to those MP's calling for their freedoms, for their own good, ignoring the rest of the population.

I hope that some pragmatism is employed in the decision making process, rather than a sudden relaxation of lockdown, which causes a sudden new spike in cases forcing a new lockdown. It requires a strong nerve to resist such pressure and I hope that the government has it.
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Joyce » Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:27 am

I too, Ernie, think they should resist pressure this time. Of course economic considerations play their part in decision-making : we've seen what happens to countries when their economies fail and there'll be precious little humanitarian help forthcoming from abroad for anyone if even first world nations go bust.
However, economic decisions have to be sensibly balanced against the spread of disease. It's easy to criticise with hindsight, but anybody could have foreseen that the go-back-to-work campaign last summer was going to be damaging. It was obviously far too early. We're still feeling the effects of not getting the first wave over before a second wave could take hold. Businesses that relied on the passing trade of workers were clamouring to get their customers back, understandably so. So what would have been a few more million for a few more weeks to help them keep going ? Margaret Thatcher once said that the best piece of advice she was given on the eve of war came from MacMillan, who told her 'Keep the Treasury out of it !' Was Rushi being leant on,was he told there was no more generosity to be had ? That the ship must be spoiled for a ha'porth of tar ? Just my guess.
Parliament intended to be 'setting a good example' when a handful of them appeared in person on the benches. I don't think we've quite recovered from that campaign. Vaccines and mass workplace testing were but gleams in Boris's eye and far fewer people turned out to have smartphones than was realised at the time, so hopes of successful tracing were premature. What's more, far from every employer was wiling to go to the expense of proper hygiene precautions. Many workers were ringing radio phone-ins to say they were safer in the pub than the office or workshop. To my own knowledge the NHS wasn't as helpful as it could have been at setting up ex-shielders to work from home rather than in the hospital.
This time, let's hope the decisions are based on practicalities relating to the real world rather than hoped-for best practice.

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Ernest
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:56 am

Thanks Joyce for such a robust reply.

I guess that economics are part of it overall, but an additional month of lockdown to allow the 50's and over to be vaccinated would be a good idea in my view.
Yes, I don't like being kept at home, but I realise that by only going out for essentials, protects others as well as myself and my spouse. I do go into church to either lead services or to serve or preach, all online. Normally it is just me and the vicar, and on several occasions when he has had to isolate pending a covid test, it was just me.

I have learned a lot about getting on line live via facebook and leading services of the word alone. And even then, I still take all precautions specified to ensure that I stay safe.

I just see that until most of the country is vaccinated, including children, it will continue to be that there will be restrictions in place, if some industries can be supported all well and good, the consequences of a hasty abandonment of Lockdown, when transmission is so high would be fool hardy and cost many more lives.

I pray that the Government will exercise prudence not recklessness. :votive2:
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by rogerjames » Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:08 am

Interesting posts - thank you, Ernest and Joyce.

We hear a lot about getting the economy going again, getting businesses and productivity back on track.

I have been reflecting on some of the relatively "unspoken" issues which will have an economic and human cost - e.g. the impact on Long Covid patients and their families, and the many people who for one reason or another have suffered a worsening health condition through the lockdown and other restrictions. I'm not only thinking of mental health issues, but delayed medical treatments and procedures too, some directly linked to the pandemic, others to the unavoidable hiatus in general access to the NHS. There is also likely to be a demand for inputs into education to make up lost school time for many children. These hidden crises and associated costs need to be factored into the thinking before we "loosen things up". I can't put a figure to it but it must represent quite a financial burden.

The R number is a product of the measures in place at the time. Change what you do and you can expect the R number to change too. It's the epidemiological equivalent of a school report! We could do worse than to take heed of the traditional teacher comment: Could do better. Must try harder.
The last "mood music" we need to hear just now is something relaxing. If we are to stimulate the economy we must match that change with stringent social hygiene standards - even if we have been vaccinated. Do I think we'll manage to achieve that? We shall see.

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Ernest
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:34 am

Now the UK government has released their "Road Map" in four distinct stages for a release from Lockdown Measures by July 2021. Some have described this as over cautious, while others think that it is to soon.

Other nations are also planning their release from lockdown measures, some like Scotland are planning a return to Tiers, while England states that the stages will be led by the science, and will measure the affect of the relaxations as they are made on new infections and hospitalisations. Any spike will result in a slowdown or even reversal if needed.

I note that thousands of people have rushed to book holidays, many overseas, when currently both holidays and overseas travel are banned. It is good that people are showing optimism, but it is a risk that their plans may well be disrupted and I am not sure that insurers will be willing to insure them against cancellation when government advice is that such bookings are welcome, but they need to be prepared for their disruption.

I know that my spouse, despite her health issues wants to get away for a few days, but I'm disinclined to rush any decision until things are clearer, and by than it may be to late to get a booking. She is thinking of a trip to the Channel Islands, we have been before to all of them apart from Guernsey, so she would like to go there. Air travel might not be available given her post-stroke status, so road and Ferry may be needed. I will investigate, but not hold out any promises or make any bookings until we have certainty on travel arrangements.

So, while others are making arrangements, we will be waiting to see. What are others doing about holidays?
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Joyce » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:13 am

People don't listen! I wish I had a quid for every time in the last ten months I've heard some caller on a phone-in or a speaker on the TV say Boris has 'broken a promise' or done a u-turn over dates.
They don't seem to have heard the expressions 'if', 'not before', 'at the earliest', or 'y will follow X when X happens'. Hopes expressed last year for what plans could be made when vaccines eventually came on-stream and testing processes had been refined and shortened, have apparently been taken on board by some people as definite announcements with hard dates.
Hence 'He's let us down' 'He'a a ditherer' ' This lot can't keep a promise'. We'll hear them all again if the virus throws the latest want-list time line off the road again.It's a provisional, hopeful scenario, not a timetable carved in stone.
Holidays are extremely expensive things and feature in my budget less often than a blue moon or a Preston Guild. I can't imagine why anyone would gamble so much so soon, so far in advance. Have they got more money than sense or are they hard of hearing ?

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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:27 am

Wow Joyce!!

A powerful response. "Say it as it is", I agree with you entirely, you have just put it in language I could have used, if I had been inclined to express it that way.

We are fortunate in that we could afford a holiday, but have not intention of taking one until we are convinced that it would be safe, both for us and for others.

I have heard of people dying to go on a cruise, which given what happened to cruises at the start of the pandemic might well be what happens to them.

Wait and see, caution and being extremely careful, observing all of the restrictions, which after all, are the law of the land, will be our methods. And if we stay at home, we will save money. We contribute to charities in need and through our Church just to keep it going, as we prepare for our APCM, we know how stark the figures in lost income are.
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:36 am

I have seen media reports of last weekend, crowds of people out and about at pleasure spots, many of them, due to the crowds, not wearing masks or keeping social distancing.

I wonder if the other reports about the vaccines efficacy of upto 80 per cent protection against severe illness of hospitalisation are giving a false sense of security? In the meantime the Brazilian variant has got into the UK, and one individual is on the loose, having failed to fill in the form for track and trace on entering the UK. I understand that they would have needed a negative test before boarding their flight to the UK, but they travelled via two different countries before reaching the UK. How did they get through Border Force controls without being spotted?

We are continuing to shelter as much as we are able to. Only going out for essentials or for medical checks. And Jen is furloughed from work until at least the end of March, despite not being able to work from home.

I fear that the PM's much vaunted "Road Map" will be used as an excuse by some, selfish people to by pass their responsibilities and the virus will spread. We were warned yesterday of several new hotspots in the country, we relax the lockdown at our peril.

I pray that people will follow the rules for their own protection and for the protection of all. :votive1:
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Joyce » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:20 pm

A very apposite prayer,Ernest ! More thsn ever I despair over what some folk have between their ears. What part of 'Stay At Home' do people capable of passing the driving test,of doing work that pays them enough to buy, run, maintain and insure a car, not understand ?
The guidelines and laws are readily accessible if anybody wants details.They are not more difficult to read than The Highway Code or the theory exam taken by more recent candidates.
As for some of the nonsense believed about the vaccines - haven't they got radios and televisions ? Misgivings are addressed on the air by qualified scientists and officials day after day.
Earlier generations, when baffled by their fellow citizens and the way things were going, would declare the country was going to the dogs and some would even leave it, but looking around the world, the places we might go seem to be just as blessed with their own idiots.

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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Joe Parrish » Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:58 pm

Has an easing of the lockdown occurred yet in the UK?
My medical school in Antigua and the whole island has a 5:00 pm curfew.
Our infection rate in Knoxville, Tennessee, has dropped 90 percent in vaccinated nursing homes, and we've had no deaths for several weeks. Vaccinations are going at very rapid rates in this part of the state.
Peace and blessings,
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:42 am

Hi Joe

The statistics are promising, but should not be taken for granted. Our easing or relaxation of restrictions is cautious and slow. It starts this week with schools returning, but testing for the virus will feature in all secondary level schools up to twice a week for both children and staff.

There is a four step plan, driven by the science to end all restrictions by the end of July, but some people are already being foolish and treating the restrictions as if they don't apply to them. Evidence of this is the coverage in the media of so called CovidIdiots, congregating in crowds at popular tourist spots, some without masks or social distancing.

We live right beside a popular recreation ground, which I would normally used for walking, but the increase in groups using it, not observing the distancing rules has put me off. I now walk on streets, probably waling a mile and a half daily, with some hill work involved, but able to see people and cross the street away from them if I am worried about how near they are to each other. In fact, the reverse of the normal applies. Instead of greeting and stopping to chat, crossing the street and acknowledging their presence with a wave, is the safest way to behave (for me anyway).

We have decided that our church will reopen, with Covid-Safe restrictions in place, including track and trace measures from Mothering Sunday, two services a week only, with cleansing afterwards. Our Choir will return to in place rehearsals the Friday before. We really want to have Easter in Church, but with restricted numbers. We will be offering Stations of the Cross, the normal procession, socially distanced and masked on Good Friday and Palm Sunday, and the Easter morning early service of the light. All will be risk assessed and we will ask for people to let us know when they plan to attend a service.

We can safely fit around sixty individuals into church, suitably distanced, or in family bubbles, numbers can be a bit more. We will be strict about numbers and seating so ensure distancing and everyone will be masked and sanitized on entry, before and after receiving communion. Evidence from when we previously reopened is that people are compliant and don't hang about chatting in church as we can't offer tea or coffee after the service.

We have volunteer cleaning teams who will disinfect pews where people have occupied them (keeping an eye on each one). It is an extra burden, but the safety of all is a priority.

I have been fortunate as I have been in Church, with the Vicar all through the lockdown, supporting by serving and preaching and leading prayers, meaning that I have regularly received communion, which I know, many are missing out on.

We will still live stream our services, and I will email links to these recordings to about 43 people who are still isolating or are home bound through illness or disability.

Normally we used to have three services on a Sunday and one midweek, we hope to resume this schedule longer term, but for now will stick to the pared down rota of services, with reduced liturgy and only choral singing by the choir.

We long for the time when it is safe to do more, but until we have full vaccination, that will not happen.
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The Rush to Ease Lockdown

Post by Ernest » Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:22 am

Our Church is reopening today after nearly three months of closure. So, we have four key Sundays of Easter as well as midweek services.

We are being cautious, so today, no flowers, just a virtual hug for all mothers and carers will be in place. We will continue to stream online so that those who are shielding or feel unable to come can still participate.

Today I will be acting as Sidesperson and Intercessor, and welcoming people back. I will also bring several to church and taking them home again. They are people who are in a transport bubble with me, so no issues.

I hope and pray that people feel confident enough to return to the building under the restrictions, we can seat a maximum of 40.

We have 8 baptisms booked over the next three months. And two weddings in early June, delayed from last year. Hopefully, there will be more as people realise that with more freedom they can book weddings with confidence that vaccination will make things a bit safer for all.
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
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God is Love!
God Is!!

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