Yesterday I got a very interesting email from Reach PLC the owner of the Echo, Mirror and a host of other local and national newspapers. A couple of weeks ago I filled an online survey about lockdown. I assume thousands of others must have done but the report back from Reach PLC did not say how many.
What this survey did show, however, was the huge support from within the UK community for most of the lockdown rules and regulations. Yes, I know these are irksome. I really want to go for a pint and have all my freedoms back just as you do all do. But more important to all that for most people is the knowledge that we can’t have anything like a normal life until we have beaten the virus or at least got it under control.
It is possible that like flu or the common cold we will never beat Covid-19. Perhaps we will have to have an annual Covid vaccine alongside an annual flu jab as we get older. In the short term, however, we can reduce infections now and keep the NHS operative until enough of us have been inoculated to give us wide-scale community protection.
I am proud of my City of Liverpool as we have responded together to the problems. We went for testing in the first mass testing project in the UK. There has been a high level of mask wearing, distance keeping and other basic health precautions like washing out hands. The anti- vaxers have had little traction with local people when they came up with their rumours and said things like, “the vaccines have a microchip in them”.
Our infection rates at 473 per 100,000 population a week are less that half the 1020 which were the levels at its peak. We must not be complacent as there is still a long way to go.
Our City has done its best as a community to look after the food needs of children and those on low pay. It has tried to ensure that people have not been lonely or depressed. Our Council has worked well both with targeting action to specific parts of the City were there were and stubborn rates of infection. The Council also very quickly got grants out to local businesses to give them heart and hope during the lockdowns which have particularly hit hard at the hospitality, leisure and specialist retail sectors.
Any way these are the figures that Reach PLC reported. It was a great effort to do this and I suspect that there was an added benefit from people thinking through some of the issues for the first time. I don’t like all the answers. Although I haven’t and wouldn’t break the law, I would be in a minority on two of the issues!
The responses to REACH
The vast majority of you felt the current lockdown was needed, although 13% did not agree. There was a little less support for shutting schools, with 20% not backing the return to virtual lessons. When it came to exams, 78% said this summer’s tests should be cancelled.
On other aspects of the lockdown:
- 53% disagreed with nurseries staying open, with 33% backing the decision
- 86% agreed with university students being told to stay put
- 68% backed an individual being allowed to meet one other person for exercise but 28% disagreed
- 70% agreed outdoor pools and gyms should shut
- 65% backed the ban on pubs serving takeaway pints but 31% disagreed
- 59% disagreed with elite sport continuing, with 33% backing it
- 74% agreed weddings should only be allowed in exceptional circumstances
- 74% agreed funerals should continue with up to 30 people
- 39% backed places of worship being allowed to continue to hold services, but 53% disagreed
- 60% backed parks and playgrounds staying open and other outdoor attractions shutting, but 36% disagreed
- When it comes to people who break the rules, 44% thought a £200 fine for a first offence was about right, with 23% saying it was too much and 33% not enough.
What do you think of these questions and how are you adapting to lockdown to have a good life but keeping to the rules?