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Holding the line April 14, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Some of the data from the Social Activity Measure survey by the ESRI is genuinely fascinating. It measures – on a fortnightly basis – amongst other things, adherence to restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.

Perhaps there’s no great surprise in the following:

People met significantly more people from outside their household in late March compared with late February, according to its findings published today.

But:

The increase appears to be driven by a minority – 12% of people had met more than seven others in the past 48 hours in late March, compared to 8% in late February.

And tellingly:

Almost half of people (47%) had met no one outside their household in the previous two days. Approximately 20% of people are accounting for over three quarters of all interactions.

And:

One in 10 people report hosting visitors or visiting another household the previous day. Over 80% of social visits involve time spent indoors, up from 68% in early February.

Those latter figures are dispiriting but not surprising. From talking to a fair few people, anecdotally, that appears to be the case, that the majority, a good majority of people, are still adhering to the restrictions and a small but active minority are breaching them.

Peter Lunn on a recent IT politics podcast made the point that the problem is that it requires very little upwards movement in that cohort – despite the best efforts of all others – to increase numbers of cases and those hospitalised.

Note too that:

There was a small but significant increase in workplace attendance in March compared with February – 33% of all respondents had visited their workplace the previous week, up from 30%.

Though interesting only 5% (too many but smaller than I’d have expected) felt pressurised to go into workplaces (by the way, has the state put in place any facility for people in that situation?). As RTÉ notes, that number of non-essential workers going to workplaces is another problem.

So, given that a majority remain supportive of the measures and continue to follow them, what of that cohort who seem indifferent or oblivious to them? Given we’re in a race to see as many vaccinated as possible is there any means of reaching that cohort at this point in time or is that a forlorn hope?

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1. An Sionnach Fionn - April 14, 2021

Aside from some well-known lockdown dissidents in the Irish Times and a few other legacy publications, the minority “cohort” mentioned above now have online media platforms like Broadsheet and other group blogs fueling their views. Indeed Broadsheet now exists at the nexus of a not insubstantial network of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, all actively linking to each other, all promoting covid-scepticism. And with plenty of alt-rightish talking points thrown in for good measure.

I find that particularly worrisome.

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WorldbyStorm - April 14, 2021

+1 Indy media too

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An Sionnach Fionn - April 14, 2021

It’s amazing the way nominally “liberal” commentators, writers and activists are now echoing – albeit in a grouchy “ok boomer” manner – many of the cultural, economic and political talking points of the millennial neo-right while denying doing any such thing. But I see Broadsheet and Indy now existing within that ideological ecosphere. Predominantly males in their 60s, 50s and late 40s making common cause on some issues with predominantly males in their late teens and early 20s. The explicit hard-edged racism and xenophobia of the old far right is frequently absent or low key with the middle-aged cohort but a kind of Brexity style soft chauvinism is not too hard to discern. Something that has the potential to grow far more toxic.

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