Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.
Concern for public safety, including people with MS, other diseases and disabilities, and the elderly, forces me to question the clamour to ease restrictions designed to curb the pandemic. With infection spikes and clusters of new cases, I believe it is too soon to try to abandon safety measures. The following article, written by me, first appeared in The Locus on July 18.
Countries around the world have rushed to ease restrictions and warmly embrace the ‘new normal’, as the worst of COVID-19 seems to pass – but it appears they haven’t considered the reality of the consequences.
No sooner had the political leaders announced their plans to reopen, we saw packed beaches and a complete breakdown of social distancing.
Of course, different nations developed their own responses to fight the pandemic, with varying success, and nowhere is a better example of that than the US, where all 50 states have a constitutional public health responsibility.
There were notable differences in approaches. Some governors were swift to issue stay-at-home and lockdown orders, while others moved more slowly.
It’s now clear that the governors who dragged their feet displayed an appalling reluctance to grasp the truth – the scale – of the threat they were facing.
But, with numbers of cases beginning to fall in some states, and elsewhere in the world, civil authorities – even those who got it right to start with – are looking forward to ending what some people regard as a breach of human rights and civil liberties.
Now, they have been hit by severe spikes in confirmed cases that were long predicted by scientists and health professionals, who gave dire warnings about a second wave of infections being fed by an early relaxation of restrictions.
Some US states, including Florida and Texas, have started to reverse this reopening, while there have been localised shutdowns in parts of the UK, Spain, Australia and China, as hotspots and clusters begin to appear.
In Australia, the city of Melbourne is under strict lockdown amid fears that a major outbreak there could be the forerunner of a second wave.
All in all, the sad commonality in these states and countries is that they began their programme of easing restrictions too soon.
Their leaders, including President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, seemed to think that fewer new cases per day meant the danger was over. But it isn’t.
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over and most epidemiologists and public health officials seem to agree.
Indeed, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview with Stanford Medicine dean Dr Lloyd Minor, said: “We did not shut down entirely […] You’ve got to shut down but then you’ve got to gradually open.”
Wearing a mask has been and still is a cause of consternation. At one time decried as unnecessary by the World Health Organization and political leaders such as President Trump, today they are seen as an important accessory.
Trump has apparently changed his mind, deciding to wear one, while residents of the UK and other European countries must wear them in public, including when shopping.
Compulsory face masks and lockdown restrictions should not be considered an infringement of human rights – we should welcome them out of care and concern for the health and well-being of others.
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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.
Centre not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control) Colour not color Diarrhoea not diarrhea Haematology not hematology Haematopoietic not hematopoietic
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.