Benjamin Franklin famously remarked in correspondence that nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
Despite the inevitability of death, in an increasingly secular society, the fear of death appears to have taken hold. To assert this is not to downplay death, every death during this pandemic is a tragedy. Yet, fear should not dictate a crude and disproportionate response.
The Pandemic has seen fear taking root with crude government policy enacted as a result. To say this is not to diminish the virus. The virus is pernicious and undoubtedly lethal for some. Accordingly, measures should be encouraged to protect the most at risk like the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Yet, some of the policy implemented seems to be for the sake of appearance.
The policy to close pubs at a set time is one such policy. Are we to assume from this policy that humans have some mogwai like trait that the consumption of alcohol or food after a set time could have Gremlin like consequences? Consumption in a pub after a set time may increase risk, but where is the evidence to rationale the policy?
To allow a semblance of normality to return to life entirely reasonable precautions should be taken while protecting those most at risk. Technology could and should have been implemented earlier to help manage the response to the virus – a track and trace system should have been made available to the public months sooner. In the event of local hot-spots that risk overwhelming health provision then it is eminently sensible for the government to implement short term lockdowns albeit in a hyper localised fashion. A crude national lockdown would needlessly cause untold damage, to truly localise lockdowns when necessary allows individuals in areas without infection to continue to live without unnecessary impediments and businesses to operate.
The Welsh Government must resist the allure of imposing another crude national lockdown. Intervention by the government in response to Coronavirus should be reactive to data and scientific guidance, rather than merely posturing.
The response to Coronavirus must reflect that a vaccine may not be available for some time or even at all. We cannot have all of society cooped up at home to while away the days until deliverance. Long term lockdown is not desirable or sustainable in the long term, locking down society may protect people from the virus however it undoubtedly contributes to deaths from other health conditions due to delays and cancellations of treatments as well as suicide.
Rhetoric and posturing is no substitute for proper governance.