Delay

“Your Obedience Is Prolonging This Nightmare”: Protesters March in London against Delay to “Freedom Day”

Protesters have gathered in London today to demonstrate against the Government’s delay to the lifting of lockdown restrictions. People held signs reading “Lockdown is a crime against humanity” and “Your obedience is prolonging this nightmare”. Eight arrests have been made at the protest, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The MailOnline has more.

Maskless anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters have clashed with police in central London as they demonstrate against the delay of “Freedom Day” by blocking roads and hugging strangers in defiance of Covid rules…

Protestors offering “free hugs” and demanding an end to all Covid restrictions held signs reading “your obedience is prolonging this nightmare” and “our kids aren’t lab rats” as they marched through the streets…

Loud horns blown by the protestors were seen to spook a group of half-a-dozen police horses who had been drafted in to help control the crowd in Parliament Square.

The protest comes as Boris Johnson seemed to dismiss the prospect of easing the remaining coronavirus rules early, as he refused to rule out future lockdowns. He warned the nation should brace for a ‘rough winter’ whilst visiting a laboratory in Hertfordshire today.

The Prime Minister has delayed ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks to July 19th – but a two-week review will take place on July 5th to see if the return to normal can be moved forward. Mr Johnson said ‘Delta’ variant cases, hospitalisations and admissions to intensive care are still rising and the country must therefore be ‘cautious’.

Worth reading in full.

“Four More Weeks to, Er…” – The Weakest Excuse for a Lockdown Yet

What justifies a lockdown? That’s the question which, 16 months after the policy was introduced into Western democracies as a draconian tool of disease management, we still don’t have a clear answer to. First sold to the public as a way of mitigating peak health service demand during the initial pandemic wave (and thus supposedly saving lives by ensuring more people could get treated – ignore the irony that the overuse of ventilators during those first few weeks likely increased the mortality rate), the justification has evolved over time. In November it was a “circuit breaker” to save Christmas, though Christmas was not saved. In January it was to buy time to allow the most vulnerable to receive at least their first vaccine dose, though it turned out that was not enough to restore our freedoms.

Yesterday the Prime Minister and his scientific flunkies Chris Witless and Patrick Unbalanced unveiled the Government’s latest excuse to keep the restrictions going. “The objective of this short delay,” said the Prime Minister, “is to use these crucial weeks to save thousands of lives, of lives that would otherwise be lost… by vaccinating millions more people as fast as we can.”

Sir Patrick elaborated on three benefits to the delay:

  1. Some protection for over-18s as they will have been offered one vaccine by July 19th.
  2. More protection for over-40s as more of them will have had both their vaccine doses.
  3. Reopening will be near to the school holidays when no mixing in schools will take place.

What none of the three explained was why these benefits justified four more weeks of restrictions, which hospitality leaders have said will mean a £3 billion loss to the industry during what should be one of its busiest trading periods.

The vaccines are “not 100% effective”, Vallance said, as though anyone had ever suggested they were, “and therefore avoiding a very large peak is very important. Realistically, if we ever got a very large wave, there would be a very large number of people in hospital”.

But would there? If the vaccines are as good as they are reported to be at reducing serious illness – Vallance described them yesterday as “spectacularly more effective than we ever could have hoped for” – then even if there are lots of cases in the young, why should hospitals get overrun?

Vallance explained that it was only because of the vaccines that they weren’t already looking at new lockdown measures: “If we didn’t have the vaccinations we’ve got, we would be looking at what lockdowns would be needed.” This is despite him also acknowledging that: “This is a virus that’s going to be with us forever.” Together these statements imply that lockdowns, too, are going to be with us forever, hanging over us, threatened whenever over-zealous public health advisers can persuade a risk-averse Prime Minister that the latest variant or virus is going to, well, what? As I say, that’s the question that still hasn’t been answered.

The latest restrictions are intended to “reduce the peak by 30-50%”, Vallance said. But will it be a big peak or a small peak? “Thousands of lives” will be saved, said the Prime Minister. But how many thousands? After all, thousands of lives are lost in the U.K. to contagious diseases every year – mostly though not exclusively among the very frail and otherwise unwell. If restrictions on social interaction are justified merely to save “thousands of lives”, why not impose them every winter? Or keep them in place permanently to prevent people getting too close and spreading their germs? That’s the logic of this mad, totalitarian approach to disease control (even if we allow, for the sake of argument, that lockdowns are effective at controlling COVID-19, a theory for which there is no real-world evidence).

The Prime Minister made much of a recent “doubling” in Covid hospital admissions, though on the Government dashboard hospital admissions are still short of doubling.

Boris Announces Extension of Lockdown by Four “Crucial Weeks” – Noting “Possibility” That a “Far More Dangerous” New Variant Could Cause Further Delays After July 19th

Boris Johnson has announced that lockdown will be extended until July 19th. At a Downing Street briefing, the Prime Minister said that four more “crucial weeks” of restrictions were needed to prevent the virus from “outrunning” the vaccine and to prevent “thousands more deaths that could otherwise have been avoided”.

The PM hopes that “easing off the accelerator” will allow enough time for two-thirds of the adult population to be fully vaccinated against Covid, but warned that “a proportion of the elderly and vulnerable may still succumb [to the virus] even if they have had two jabs”.

Weddings and wakes with over 30 guests will be permitted after June 21st, so long as social distancing guidelines are followed, and there is a possibility that restrictions could end after a two-week extension on July 5th. The chances of this are, however, very slim. Boris said:

[We must] wait another four weeks – or maybe as little as two weeks. But let’s be realistic, [it’s] probably more likely [to be] four weeks.

Whereas June 21st was a “not-before date”, the PM is “pretty confident that July 19th will be, as it were, a terminus date”. That is unless yet another “new variant” emerges.

At that stage [when, by July 19th, the vaccine roll-out has created a “wall of immunity”]… I am confident that we will be able to go forward with the full… opening. That, of course, doesn’t exclude the possibility… that there is some new variant that is far more dangerous – that kills people in a way that we currently cannot foresee or understand. That’s obviously the case.

As before, Boris maintains that the roadmap to freedom should be “cautious” but “irreversible”. You can watch the full briefing here.

Stop Press: Sam Coates of Sky News says that “Labour will back the four-week delay to lockdown lifting step four”.

They will characterise it as a consequence of Boris Johnson’s mishandling and criticise [the] lack of economic support.

Stop Press 2: According to YouGov, 71% of English adults support the unlocking delay.

Stop Press 3: GB News has reported on the lockdown protesters marching outside Downing Street today.

The people are really angry. “Enough is enough” was the message that [came] from there – people wanting to just have the choice now to get out there and live their lives again.

June 21st “Freedom Day” Called Off for at Least Four Weeks

It is being reported across the media – so it’s clearly been briefed out by Downing Street – that the long-awaited June 21st reopening is to be delayed by at least four weeks because the Prime Minister has been convinced by his scientific advisers that the recent rise in the Delta variant makes reopening too risky. The Telegraph has the story.

June 21st will no longer herald a full return to normality after Boris Johnson resigned himself to a delay of up to four weeks in lifting the remaining Covid restrictions.

The Prime Minister will tell the country on Monday that the latest data on the spread of the Indian or Delta virus variant means it is too risky to go ahead as planned. A four-week delay would mean pushing the date back to July 19th.

It had been hoped that weddings at least would be given a special dispensation after 50,000 couples – many of whom will have cancelled or delayed earlier celebrations – booked ceremonies for the four weeks following what had been billed as “freedom day”.

But senior government sources said that while Mr Johnson might increase the current 30-person limit at weddings, restrictions on numbers would have to remain after officials from Matt Hancock’s health department warned that they could become “super-spreader” events.

The British Medical Association became the latest body to call for a delay after data released on Friday showed the ‘R’ rate at its highest since January – between 1.2 and 1.4 – with daily cases reaching 8,125, the highest number since February.

Figures published by Public Health England showed that 42,323 cases of the Indian variant have been confirmed in the UK – an increase of 240% from last week. PHE estimates that the strain is 60% more transmissible than the Kent or alpha variant, with cases doubling every four and a half days in some parts of England.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is understood to have warned the Government that a third wave of Covid cases could exceed the first wave peak if the June 21st reopening were to go ahead as planned.

Worth reading in full.

Florida has been open since September 2020. Texas reopened in March. But this delay means the U.K. won’t be open until at least July 19th. I’d like to say the Prime Minister will suffer the consequences at the polls for continuing to keep the electorate under extreme restrictions, ignoring the plain evidence from the U.S. that reopening is safe, as well as the overwhelming evidence that lockdowns don’t reduce transmission. But we all know most of our fellow citizens will buy the fear they’re sold and lap up the lockdown, and likely reward the Conservatives at the next election for keeping them “safe”.

The Covid tyranny continues. 😡

Stop Press: The Sun is reporting that there will be a two-week “break clause” on July 5th and if infections are falling and hospitalisations are low, restrictions could be eased. Yeah, right.

Stadium Cancels Tickets for June 26th After “Discussions With Government”

A reader contacted us to tell us he just received the email above from the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, cancelling his tickets for the June 26th cricket match between England and Sri Lanka – five days after “Freedom Day”. It reads: “You will be aware of the continuing uncertainty around the return of supporters to sports stadia. In light of this and following discussions with Government and public health agencies, the capacity of the stadium has been restricted for this match.”

The reader comments:

Now, the really telling part of this is where it says “following discussions with Government and public health agencies” because this shows us that the decision to cancel most fans’ tickets hasn’t been made by those at Hampshire County Cricket Club because of what they think is the best approach – it is because of what they have been told to do.

I don’t want to spread fear over a delay to the easing of social distancing while we await Monday’s announcement or confirmation, but it seems incredibly unlikely to me that the Government would tell Hampshire CCC to reduce the capacity for this game if they hadn’t already made up their minds that social distancing will still be in place at least up until June 26th.

The signs are becoming ominous indeed. It will now be a pleasant surprise if Boris comes out on Monday and announces – as he should – that Freedom Day is going ahead as planned. As usual, the doom-mongers around the Prime Minister are winning. Will they ever let us go?

Meanwhile, more than two months ago in Texas

Apr 5, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; A view of the crowd and the fans and the stands during the playing of the Canadian and USA national anthems before the game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports