Saturday, 1 August 2020

'Commonsense' and Covid-19?



The UK's PM is frequently appealing to the 'commonsense' of the public to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control. This is a touch optimistic as, apparently, the requirement in England to wear a face mask in shops currently reportedly has a very patchy take up (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/31/no-one-stops-you-coronavirus-shoppers-attitudes-to-masks-differ-across-uk). In some places, most people conform but, in others, hardly anyone dons the protection. Neither the police nor the shop workers regard it as being their job (probably sensibly) to get people to wear a mask (even when that is largely for the protection of other occupants of the shop). The problem is compounded as most people don't understand that some designated groups are allowed, for good reasons, not to wear masks. There are also studies also showing that very few people in the same country are strict about social distancing. This is illustrated by the large numbers flocking to crowded southern English beaches, where maintaining spatial separation is impossible (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/31/england-beaches-packed-despite-covid-19-social-distancing-plea). People (conformers and non-conformers) can get very aggressive with each other about these issues. And  don't even mention what some UK folk get up to on foreign holidays! Relying on commonsense is probably a non-starter.

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