UK Government Is Playing A Risky Game By Pretending That Covid Is Over

62

  • According to this worldview, the government and its experts have introduced Covid measures on the pretext of protecting us, but they are actually trying to control us.
  • After all, if the problem lies with the establishment, you are just as likely to reject its evidence about masks as its recommendation to wear one.
  • Acting as if it’s all over not only leaves us exposed and helpless in the present.

Our faith in public health initiatives and the scientists recommending them is jeopardised by acting as though the virus is no longer a problem as reported by The Guardian.

Increasing infections 

About 2.3 million people are infected with the virus in the UK, including as many as one in 18 in Scotland.

There are more than 10,000 Covid patients in the hospital.

These infections are increasing the burden on the NHS and contributing to the staff shortages that are already causing chaos in airports and elsewhere.

And that’s before we even consider deaths and long Covid.

The prime minister insists that sky-high infections are no cause for concern (and indeed that Covid is so trivial that he hasn’t even bothered to think about the issue “for a while”).

Critical is breaking 

It’s not just the government acting as if it’s all over.

This is corroborated by official figures.

The Office for National Statistics says that the proportion of people who report wearing masks in public spaces fell from 57% in May to 38% in June.

But the evidence tells a different story.

From early on in the pandemic it became clear that a sense of risk to the community was a critical factor in whether people followed Covid measures.

In other words, most people wear masks and follow other precautions to keep their community safe, especially its more vulnerable members.

The government’s recent and relentless emphasis on the personal has chipped away at this communal sense of concern and undermined our belief that caution is necessary.

Our behaviour isn’t just determined by what we believe about risk.

If our actions are determined by our beliefs about others, then we can all end up doing something that virtually no one believes in.

During the pandemic, for instance, people believed that others rejected the rules far more than they actually did.

Our political leaders – the government, its advisers and the opposition – are critical in breaking this spiral.

Controlling the community 

However, one of the main reasons people aren’t wearing masks has nothing to do with masks at all.

That is precisely what has happened with Covid, and more specifically with masks.

According to this worldview, the government and its experts have introduced Covid measures on the pretext of protecting us, but they are actually trying to control us.

With trades unionists, for instance, protective measures are part of taking health and safety at work seriously.

For those who are religious, they are about loving thy neighbour.

Our behaviour isn’t just determined by what we believe about risk.

If our actions are determined by our beliefs about others, then we can all end up doing something that virtually no one believes in.

During the pandemic, for instance, people believed that others rejected the rules far more than they actually did.

A key dimension of good leadership is the ability to bring people together, to help them realise that their concern for the safety of their community is shared by others, and to feel empowered to act on this.

We live in a populist age, which divides society into “the people” and “the elite”, and where some believe the elite (or establishment) is seeking to control the people.

If this is true of Covid measures in general, it is particularly true of masks, portrayed as a potent symbol of control: they are muzzles.

Restoring faith 

Providing evidence about the risks of Covid and the effectiveness of masks will do little to restore disbelievers’ faith in the measure.

Rather, the key lies in creating a relationship of trust between those who propose Covid measures and those for whom they are proposed.

As with vaccines, this is a matter of community engagement: working with different groups to show how measures are something done for them (not to them).

With trades unionists, for instance, protective measures are part of taking health and safety at work seriously.

For those who are religious, they are about loving thy neighbour.

 

Did you subscribe to our daily Newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe

Source: The Guardian

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.