All we can do to save lives and money is to keep Covid rate down – Helen Martin

POVERTY, lost jobs, shattered income, more deaths, more life-long health problems, a probable lockdown, businesses collapsing – only the excessively optimistic didn’t know this was going to happen, writes Helen Martin.
We must all obey rules including wearing a mask (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)We must all obey rules including wearing a mask (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
We must all obey rules including wearing a mask (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

A global pandemic deadly virus, that initially doctors and scientists didn’t know or understand, wasn’t just going to fade away. Once it could be even superficially analysed by experts, prediction began of a second wave happening this winter. Here it is, adding to the annual flu season and deaths.

Yet there are still people believing in herd immunity. There are still people complaining about social restrictions, pubs and restaurants closing at 10pm or closing altogether. There are still anti-mask campaigners and probably people who have arranged get togethers in their home and won’t cancel them. There are now students who, we probably knew and expected, are passing the virus around.

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Bizarrely, the tourism industry is angry that people are advised not to travel to other countries while the global pandemic is rising. And ScotRail train conductors and staff are balloting for industrial action because they’ve been told they can’t have a pay rise this year. A pay rise? Keeping a job is the best lucky people can hope for.

Nicola Sturgeon, with no borrowing power, urged the UK to carry on with furlough and self-employment grants.

Yet the Queen is already getting a bail out of around £86 million because her land and property investments have sunk in value because of the pandemic, a bail-out paid for by taxpayers.

That was one of the worst announcements that completely changed my mindset. Despite voting for independence, I wasn’t an anti-royalist. I am now.

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It would seem logical and honourable to me if she had given a few million, perhaps ten, to the NHS, or food banks, or anything supporting her people struggling through Covid-19. Allowing the poor to contribute to her “business” income is foul.

The UK, even Scotland, has some people, industries, politicians, councils and businesses, even royals, who feel they should be primarily focused on their income rather than people’s lives. I suspect a full lockdown will happen soon, because such people don’t regard survival as the priority and many don’t obey the rules.

Vaccines are on their way, and there’s a chance that within a year or more they will be thoroughly tested, manufactured, delivered in every country and freely applied to the whole population.

Many countries will recover and build up their economy again after a disaster that has lasted for 18 months to two years. It will be tougher for the UK because of Brexit. And even if Scotland does gain independence somehow, it will be at least a couple of years more before we can re-join the EU and thrive.

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The whole UK will suffer longer than other states. All we can do to save both people and money is to do everything possible to keep Covid-19 down by obeying and not arguing with the Scottish government. That will reduce the cost of the NHS dealing with it, ease lockdown, improve student life, restore hospitality, re-open retailers and hairdressers etc if they’ve been closed, just as we did in summer.

And that’s the point. Those who howl about closure because of their income drop, fight to maintain tourism and other sectors, and those who live and socialise as they like while believing they are immune yet infecting others, are not making money, they are losing it for everyone – except funeral directors.

It wouldn’t surprise me if rules and mandates were legalised and fines or withdrawal of business licences and other penalties were imposed. That might help.