Greenock Telegraph 25th September 2020

There are times in life when we put our trust in other people. We do so because they have specialist knowledge, often acquired over years of study and working experience. Nobody is perfect and nobody has all the answers but rejecting their advice because it is inconvenient is not wise. As Covid persists in being a factor in our lives some people are becoming more vocal in their opposition to government guidelines. I understand the frustration, I sympathise with the desire to return life to the pre-covid normal, but I can’t support the clamour to not wear masks, to not socially distance.

The most recent advice is that everyone who can work from home should work from home, there are tighter restrictions on home visits depending on age and relationship, pubs and restaurants must close at 10pm and car sharing with people outside your own household is prohibited. The alternative is herd immunity. How people can consider that is beyond me. At the beginning of March, the Chief Medical Officer of England made it absolutely clear, herd immunity would result in 400,000 deaths in the UK.  The fact that we are not expecting to reach these figures now is because we have observed lockdown, worn, masks, socially distanced. Sweden is cited as herd immunity that worked but did it? They predicted 40% immunity by May 2020, in fact it was 15%. And when you compare Sweden to its closest neighbours, according to the Royal Society of Medicine, “it is clear that not only are the rates of viral infection, hospitalisation and mortality (per million population) much higher in Sweden than those seen in neighbouring Scandinavian countries, but also that the time-course of the epidemic in Sweden is different, with continued persistence of higher infection and mortality well beyond the few critical weeks period seen in Denmark, Finland and Norway. In these countries, rapid lock-down measures brought in from early March seem to have been initially more successful in curtailing the infection surge and thus the malign consequences of Covid-19 on the country as a whole”.

Here in Inverclyde some individuals may be prepared to break the rules, but it is not just themselves they are putting in danger. If you risk catching Covid19 then you risk spreading it. You risk passing it on somewhere down the line to somebody with an underlying health issue. You risk being a factor in that person dying. Because you don’t come into direct contact with that person you will be ignorant of the damage you have done but that is not an excuse.

I have received correspondence recently in which people tell me they don’t believe the evidence, they think I am not standing up for ‘the people who elected me’. I can assure you I am standing up for all the people of Inverclyde, whether they voted for me or not, when I say that following Scottish government guidelines is the safest path out of this crisis and the one that will minimise the deaths and ongoing health issues associated with Covid19. At a time when virus cases are doubling every seven days, we must accept our individual responsibility to the communal good. It’s a classic example where you can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.