Thursday, July 09, 2020

Wise words from Francis Collins

It's one of the great tragedies of this current moment that scientifically based public-health measures have somehow been captured as cultural or political phenomena. Your chance of spreading the coronavirus to a vulnerable person has nothing to do with what culture you come from or what political party you belong to. Your responsibility is to try and prevent that from happening to vulnerable people around you. But our country's polarization is so extreme that it even seems to extend to a place like this - where it absolutely doesn't belong. That is really troubling because it's putting people at risk who shouldn't be. 

The full interview is here and is well worth reading. Dr. Collins is the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States, but his opinion is as relevant to residents of the United Kingdom. We cannot know when we meet a stranger in a public place whether they live with someone vulnerable and therefore need to distance, so we should always act on the assumption that they do. As Collins notes about growing resistance to mask-wearing: "The mask is not for you. That's for everybody around you. If you care about your neighbours, your family, the people you encounter in the store - wear that mask." If people are asymptomatic (as many appear to be), they have no awareness of their potential to infect those vulnerable to a cytokine storm but they are still potential vectors.  


Alto en chamade said...

No questions about mask-wearing here, but too many complaints about how the hysteria over the virus has allowed public officials to wreak so much other havoc on our lives. I don't own a business, so I've not been affected like a lot of people here in States, but I have seen effects that could be attributed only to hysteria. Rome burns anew.

I would love to hear about how you have come to see things in Durham.

In the meantime, do you expect to see any real changes brought about by Brexit? Or will the effects be mostly not felt in the UK?

Jeremy Bonner said...

As a 'shielded' household (my mother received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before Christmas and was to have received the second next week before the protocols were changed), we've been largely removed from events going on around us. With the new Covid strain out and about, it now seems to be a race between getting the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines deployed before the NHS cracks under the pressure. It may not be Spanish Flu, but should we reach a point where hospitals are unable to admit (less because of a lack of beds as a lack of staff) it will be difficult to make a case for 'reopening' the economy. For a while the Northeast was one of the hotspots but with the new variant the focus has switched back to London and the Southeast.

As to Brexit, we're only three days into the new order, after the last minute trade deal (the details of which remain unclear), so how it will ultimately affect us remains to be seen. Hope for the best and prepare for something less good would seem to be most appropriate.