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Denial February 19, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Two pieces in the Guardian make me wonder just how deep rooted denial in respect of the pandemic is. First up there’s this from Scotland where:

Bars and pubs continue to pose a risk for the spread of Covid despite best efforts to make premises safe, researchers have said. Hospitality venues were told to shut up shop in March 2020 as the first UK lockdown was announced. As restrictions were eased, however, venues were once again allowed to trade.

But look at the ‘restrictions’ and one has to wonder. They’re clearly inadequate given this is a respiratory disease.

However, detailed guidance was issued around particular necessary precautionary measures, such as 1-metre physical distancing accompanied by signage and customers remaining seated, with extra requirements on measures including contact tracing introduced from August after a large Covid outbreak in Aberdeen was traced back to pubs and golf courses.

One meter? One has to wonder why a basic truth isn’t said – that any indoor premises like a bar or a restaurant is deeply risky and in truth would be better closed for the moment.

Similarly in New York where:

City restaurant owners – who from Thursday were permitted to resume indoor dining at 25% capacity – said they saw a rush of business on Valentine’s weekend, but there was some trepidation and less of the normal exuberance that traditionally sees dramatic proposals and grand romantic gestures.

But…

Public health experts, meanwhile, instead took the liberty of warning against a rush to gather indoors. “Now is the wrong time to dine indoors. The science suggests that even though the cases are declining total, hidden in those declining case rates are a portion of the new more transmissible variants,” Neil Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, told The Hill. New York’s latest move appeared to challenge Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which still say it is safest to take out food from restaurants and advises those who do eat at restaurants to “eat outdoors, if possible”. And Melissa Perry, the chair of the department of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University, said: “Indoor dining with masks off is really of concern, it’s still a risk at this time.”

The strangest thing about all this is that just this week we can read in the IT that:

Tough and immediate public health interventions are needed to prevent a fresh wave of Covid-19 deaths caused by variants of the virus that are sweeping the continent, European health authorities have warned.

The mutant strain of Covid-19 that first emerged in Britain may cause more severe disease as well as being more infectious, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) cautioned in a report that showed the variant taking hold across Europe.

“Modelling studies show that unless non-pharmaceutical interventions are continued or even strengthened, a significant increase in Covid-19-related cases and deaths should be anticipated in the coming months,” warned ECDC director Andrea Ammon.

So it’s not as if the reality isn’t known to governments and authorities. Presumably the pressure from industry lobby groups is just that bit greater in these locations.

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