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Statements in the media… good, bad and indifferent… May 24, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

From RTÉ.

Ryanair has called on the Irish and UK governments to drop what it describes as “unimplementable and ineffective” 14 day quarantine measures aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus.

The airline said such measures are now being scrapped in most other European countries in favour of face masks and social distancing.

“14 day quarantines are ineffective and unimplementable. Requiring international arrivals to quarantine only after they have used multiple public transport providers to get from the airport to their ultimate destination has no basis in science or medicine,” said Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair Group in a statement.

He said the airline strongly urges Europe’s Governments, especially those in Ireland and the UK, to mandate to the wearing of face masks for airline, train and underground passengers.

“Europe’s citizens can travel safely on their summer holidays wearing face masks and observing temperature protocols,” said Mr O’Leary.

After you Michael.

Another example of what is close to denialism here, in the IT:

If community transmission has been effectively suppressed, if there is a speedy system of testing and tracing, if social distancing and hand hygiene is normalised and if Irish tourists visit only European countries that take the same precautions, then how can Holohan’s proposal be proportionate to the risks involved?
The State cannot just go around detaining citizens in “designated facilities” for the comfort of an extra level of protection. You can’t just lock healthy people up to be on the safe side. It is an absurd, dystopian over-reaction.

And continues:

As an ongoing control measure after the first wave has subsided, routine detention of citizens at entry is beyond severe. The law of averages says 97 or 98 out of every 100 of those held for two weeks would be healthy.

Does it indeed? And what of that 3% that weren’t healthy?

But check out the comments BTL where the vitriol against the ‘public sector’ is remarkable given how that public sector has been frontline in pushing back against the pandemic.

By contrast this almost sounds like the voice of reason:

Nonetheless, the largely constructive political atmosphere has played a significant part in persuading individuals to accept a whole range of restrictions to their liberty and, in many cases, a negative impact on their livelihoods, in the interests of society as a whole.
An important element in generating the mood of solidarity has been a widespread acceptance that the advice of experts should underpin the decisions of the Government. Instead of denouncing difficult Government decisions, as is the norm in Irish politics, the Opposition parties have been keen to show a similar zeal in following expert advice.

But…not sure about the next part at all:

While it would be naive to expect that rational political debate will remain the norm once the crisis abates, it is worth noting the generally constructive response has exposed the shallowness of most of what passes for political debate in Dáil Éireann. Instead of careful consideration of issues as they arise, with expert advice being taken seriously, Dáil debate is usually conducted on a partisan and aggressive basis in which the advice of experts is wilfully ignored and Ministers are frequently subject to ignorant abuse rather than being held to account in a rational manner.

A more nuanced overview of holidays in the UK is offered here in the Guardian, but it too notes one big problem in all this:

The first holiday likely to be allowed will be camping – if that works out, then private home hire could be next. Hotels are viewed as harder to reopen due to the number of people coming and going. Discussions are under way over an extended holiday season – not just the typical high season of peak summer months – given that changing circumstances mean the traditional holiday period cannot be relied upon.

Ministers are considering promoting parts of the UK that are usually off the tourist trail. With an increase expected in the number of domestic tourists, it’s not only viewed as an opportunity to promote undiscovered spots – it could also be what’s needed to keep MPs on side. On Tory WhatsApp, Devon and Cornwall MPs are already worried about an influx of people to their constituencies – with locals concerned about the virus spreading. However, in No 10 there’s a sense that “common sense” will allow everyone an opportunity to explore.

Who would have thought?

Then someone confuses health, supposed biological age, immune function and susceptibility to viral infection.

While it is undeniably true that over-70s with “underlying medical conditions” are particularly at risk of poorer outcomes if they contract Covid-19, the problem is that all over-70s are lumped together, the healthy and the unhealthy, with little attempt to stratify risks. This is unjustifiable, as explained by health adviser Camilla Cavendish in theFinancial Times earlier this month. For example, one study in the Journal of Applied Physiology of a group of septuagenarian joggers found they were 30 years biologically younger than their sedentary peers.

And someone else appears to believe that decisions on preventing the spread of the virus don’t take into account a raft of other issues, at least to judge from the following…

How are the short-term dangers of the virus being measured against other long-term impacts: heart attacks or strokes or cancer going undiagnosed; screening programmes interrupted; loneliness; poverty; mental health issues; vulnerable children kept away from their support networks; other children falling behind educationally; over-70s infantilised; the future of Leaving Cert students tossed about like a football?

And somehow that being faced with a genuinely new situation due to a novel coronavirus is akin to…

[heading] back to the 1970s, a time before package holidays or Ryanair flights, when ham sandwiches, a flask of tea and a 99 on Tramore beach is as exotic as it gets.

Which suggests a strange set of priorities in the face of a viral pandemic if foregoing those package holidays and Ryanair flights even a year or so is worse than, I don’t know, dying from an highly contagious respiratory condition (quite apart from the genuinely cloth-eared lack of appreciation that for many in this society even package holidays and Ryanair flights are beyond their capacity to pay for – small piece of information, a local school to my knowledge is organising food parcels for families in multiples of ten every day).

Well this piece also from the Guardian engages with a basic reality that the likes of O’Leary and a raft of others appear to completely ignore or misunderstand:

What about those demanding a quicker end to the lockdown to “save the economy”? They seem to be making a simple error. Without a government-imposed lockdown the economy would not return to normal. With minimal measures to contain the pandemic and therefore many new cases each day, most people will stay at home and keep their children at home out of choice. Nearly all academic economists understand that you cannot restart the economy without getting the virus under control.

And perhaps bringing home the sheer severity of the crisis here’s the new normal in relation to surgery:

Patients undergoing elective surgery will have to cocoon for seven to 14 days before their procedure, under new rules designed to minimise infection risks from Covid-19 in hospitals.
They will also have to be tested for the disease within 48 hours of their appointment, which will not go ahead unless the result is negative.
New guidance says patients should make their own way to the hospital, wait in their cars until just before they are called and have a family member wait in the car until they are ready for discharge.


1. oliverbohs - May 24, 2020

What’s the difference between the IT crowd and Trump’s “beautiful boaters”?

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - May 24, 2020

Remarkably little.


EWI - May 24, 2020

A Trinity/UCD education and a Leinster rugby shirt?


2. NFB - May 24, 2020

How long will it take for the love – in for front line workers to end? Wait until the nurses and mid-wives start asking for appropriate pay when things ease. Suddenly the government and “official Ireland” will be struggling to remember simultaneous clapping.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - May 24, 2020

It’s there already for those commenters on the IT BTL, they don’t care to recall them. So I think you’re right. Sooner rather than later that attitude will spread further afield.


oliverbohs - May 24, 2020

It’s not like the govt are doing brilliant in the first place re: death in care homes, and proportionately per every million of population we’re doing badly too. Love the way too how these lib types are quick to talk up Sweden as long as it’s nothing to do with social democracy. Raise a glass to anti sex workers laws and Dom Cummings-like contagion attitudes

Liked by 1 person

3. Pangurbán - May 24, 2020

Hmm the restaurant association and the publicans are missing the fact that two successive lockdowns would be worse, and that dead people don’t spend money.
They might be in a stronger place to argue for an earlier relaxation or a 1.5 m social distancing if the new cases were lower. That the figures are not lower can be laid at the door of some meat factory employers whose unfortunate workers account for a significant proportion of the new cases. Paul Murphy did well in the Dáil last week on this issue

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - May 24, 2020

+1. I don’t get how they think this can function if a second wave comes along (as it likely will, though the severity of same is open to question either way). As you say, a further lockdown that would be inevitable in the case of that wave would cripple them.


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