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Freedom or More of the Same?

Posted: Sat May 29, 2021 6:00 am
by Ernest
At a time when vaccination against the virus has reached over 60 million, optimistic predictions are being made of the country removing all restrictions on us by the end of June, promised by the government on its road map.

However, the spread of the new varieties of virus or mutations are putting that dream in danger. One version coming from India is spreading rapidly, and another new strain from Siam has been discovered. In the meantime the home grown version, the Kent version continues in competition to the newer strains.

The hopes of millions are pinned to the government promise of an end to all restrictions, but that end depends upon the scientific opinion on the virulence and spread of the virus in communities. And the government is getting jittery, warning that we can't expect full freedom just yet, and the removal of restrictions will be judged on the national position on the virus in the middle of June.

Being a sceptic, I can't see how the government can remove the need for social distancing, facemasks and sanitization of hands just yet. I would be reluctant to abandon the precautions which has become engrained in us over the past year or so, to do so will put millions at risk, particularly as a great rump of younger people, including children have yet to be vaccinated.

I hear people speculating on "Herd Immunity" which will be achieved when around 80 per cent of the population are vaccinated, but the evidence for this is purely speculation. The virus will not be going away. We might reduce the opportunities for infection, but like the flue, which regenerates year on year, the virus will remain a threat for the time being and for probably many years to come.

So, the anxiety many of us feel about blanket statements about herd immunity are worrying, people might be tempted to just resume their former habits which allowed the virus to spread so quickly, and there is no guarantee that vaccination will be able to cope with new variants.

So, I believe that the government needs to be cautious, to ignore the blandishments of the media who are predicting freedom and a reinstatement of the old normal, along with the old, bad habits. For me, the new future will be one lived with care, with caution and avoidance of situations where I could acquire an infection to be passed on to others to their detriment.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Freedom or More of the Same?

Posted: Mon May 31, 2021 4:40 am
by Joyce
You're not alone. The only thing HMG has promised is to give us at least a week's notice of any lifting of restrictions. They've given us a list of the dates on which they hope,not promise, if all goes according to certain conditions,to be doing the lifting.
Herd immunity depends on who is immune and not just how many. Moreover, if the chances of catching the virus were restricted to being breathed upon by those who were infected, there wouldn't be the necessity for all this washing and scrubbing of surfaces,not to mention hand-sanitising. I have had my two jabs but if I go out I'll need to be careful in case there are Covid-19 germs on my clothes or my handbag. Why else would they have to disinfect my chair before the next customer/client/patient sits in it ?
I think things should stay as they are now until everybody whose body can take the vaccine has been fully vaccinated. Then when we have enough stocks for another round we should be giving any surplus to other countries who need it.

Freedom or More of the Same?

Posted: Mon May 31, 2021 6:10 am
by Ernest
Thanks for your response Joyce.

I am in Church regularly, which is quite safe. We are well spaced out our Choir is limited to six members and only sing two hymns during a service.

We all processed out of church yesterday, spaced out to the Church Yard to sing, as a full congregation the final hymn, with masks off. It was wonderful to be singing together, without music, to a well known hymn.

I clean the church on a Wednesday afternoon, covering the area's that are in constant use, but the church is only in use twice a week, with more than 72 hours between services. We print service sheets for each service and don't use hymn books etc, our risk assessment is updated, but our Vicar or other celebrant wear masks, visor and gloves to distribute the Host at communion, dropping it into the hands of the communicant. A one way system is used, with hands being sanitized before communion and after communion. People are remarkable obedient in observing the rules.

We still are unable to have coffee and biscuits after services and our little kitchen has been out of use since last March, which is a shame.

Our Church Hall has reopened with restrictions in place. Single tables with two chairs spaced out 2 metres apart. It is remarkable civilized, but we miss being able to sit with friends as we used to do.

Now, our Hall users are invited back, they have to use their own risk assessments during use and clean after use. They will start returning next month, providing much needed income to an impoverished church.

The diocese have been impressed that we paid 50 percent of our share last year at the rate of £1k a month, many others have not been so fortunate and have paid little or nothing. Because we strived to pay, we got two grants of £5000 to help us to keep going, paid from we understand the Government help to dioceses. But Rochester is not one of those dioceses that have huge endowments and relies on parish giving for it's income. Canterbury is no better off as well. And there is talk of merging the two dioceses. That will be difficult to swallow, but we can't afford to go on as a loss.

Freedom or More of the Same?

Posted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:57 am
by Ernest
I note that the freedom date of 21st June 2021 is now in doubt due to the rise in infections from the Delta mutant (formerly known as the Indian variant) which is now dominant across the UK. Infections have trebled in a week, with some doubts being expressed about the efficacy of various vaccines against this variant, which is also more transmissible than other variants.

There is a huge push on to get people vaccinated or tested to provide more scientific evidence to allow political decisions to be made about relaxation of lockdown measures.

I think that a pragmatic decision needs to be taken to post pone the final relaxation of restrictions until we have firm evidence that it won't make this a third wave of infections, with all of the consequences that might arise.

We as a couple will continue to take precautions, relaxation or not. It seems sensible to maintain vigilance and caution, despite government decisions until we are sure that it is safe.

Our church is also proceeding with caution, heeding government advice, but also listening to our parishioners, many of whom have yet to return to worship.

We have reopened our Church Hall for Church social events with measures in place to protect those who come and our coffee morning on Fridays has taken off, slowly at first but as confidence has increased, we saw many of our regulars, those in church and wider local residents are returning, accepting our internal restrictions with good humour and obedience to the rules in place. It is good to see some who have been closeted or isolated for many months.

Caution and care and hands, face, space being our watch words.

I pray for the same from the government. :votive1: :votive1: