What is a Covidiot?

Let me introduce the World’s most dangerous Covidiot!!

I issued a short video yesterday in which I described Covid deniers as covidiots. One person took exception to that and gave some examples of why he thinks some of the Covid rules and laws are wrong. He is not a covidiot. He is someone who rightly believes that in a democracy he should be able to challenge law makers; ask why they have come to their decisions and insist that they explain things properly. I believe that the Government has done badly in its explanations of why some of the advice and laws are in place. Let me give two examples:

  1. Closing licenced premises at 10 p.m. It is absolutely true that Covid is neither more nor less likely to be infectious at 9.55 or 10.05. 10 p.m. is an arbitrary figure which reflects on the fact that drink influences a lot of people’s behaviour more after about that time than before it. In fact many police shifts start at 10 p.m. at the weekend. Ask the Police or the A & E department at hospitals when the going gets tough and it is from 10 p.m. onwards. Is 10 p.m. the right time rather than 9.30 or 10.30? Who knows? Someone had to make a considered judgement and this is that decision.

In fact I think it is wrong! A well-ordered, well run socially distancing restaurant is a fairly safe place later than that. Behaviour and drinking habits are different in a restaurant until about 11 and vertical drinking bars. Why would you treat them the same? In my view restaurants should be able to stay open later providing they meet all the other virus requirements. This would also lessen the flood onto the streets at one specific time.

  • Meeting 6 six people from different households in a restaurant but not have 7 relatives in your house or garden. Again this is based on sheer practicality. If they are in a public space behaviour can be monitored and, if necessary, enforcement action taken. Who knows what goes on in a private house? We know in Liverpool that two Cabinet members flouted the lockdown rules in their own home. Spaces are more constrained and there might be lots of people in the house totally failing to socially distance because they cannot.

You mightn’t like these rules but there is a reason for them and in a democratic system we have a duty to respect the opinion of experts (yes I do believe in them); respect advice and ultimately respect the law.

Covidiots are a very different type person. They come in many ways and forms as can be seen from the recent demonstrations. People with views as distinct as fascism and flat earthers have been gathering to protest against THEM!! THEM being different people depending on the warped views that lie behind the persons general belief system. But individually and collectively they either deny the existence of Covid-19 or think that it has been grossly exaggerated. Just for the record in a normal year flu kills more than 9,000 people in the UK and the virus has already killed more than  43,000 people and left many with debilitating effects that will reduce their life expectancy and cause long term health problems.

Some think that all 190 Governments have invented this because they want to control their populations. Others say that it’s all Bill Gates and 5G seeking to push people into depending on the pharmaceutical giants. Some think it’s a deep state seeking to take over the World by stealth. Some think it’s the Democrats trying to oust Donald Trump.

All these arguments (and many more) are so barmy that it is very hard to fight against them. If they really believe that Covid-19 is caused by or for any of these reasons and there are many more ideas than this, there is little or no opportunity for a rational discourse with them.

How we as individuals behave now depends on how we view society. As a Councillor I have had three local businesses reported to me who did not appear to be following advice or laws. Instead of reporting them I went round for a chat. One genuinely didn’t understand the law and immediately took steps to fall within it. One explained why there was a momentary lapse and showed me how it had been dealt with. One clearly couldn’t care less, has done nothing to improve matters so I have had to report them to our public health staff. But that is the exception and not the rule. Having looked at and talked to most business operators in the L18 area I am proud to tell you that I would have no hesitation in using any of the services on Penny Lane, Allerton Road and Rose Lane. They are run by caring business people who want to make a decent living but doing so by respecting the health and welfare of their patrons and the surrounding community.

I follow the law. My family no longer visit except when Erica is providing child care which is exempt from the household number regulations. I talk to my son and his new wife in the street outside their home or mine. I wear a mask wherever I am supposed to. I socially distance unless there are very specific reasons why I cannot do so. My wife and I have actually started talking more to our relative and others when we can by phone or Zoom. In some ways being apart has brought us more closely together!

Of course it’s relatively easy for Erica and me. We live in a decent sized house. She has her allotment and I have my laptop. We know that others are getting lonely and distraught. But we know that we must control this virus or the lock downs will cause even more mental health issues and will wreck our economy.

People who won’t wear masks inside buildings or on public transport are not brave freedom fighters defending our civil liberties but selfish, ignorant or ill-informed people. They are, in fact, Covidiots!

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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