By Ben Kelly for the Telegraph UK – May 26, 2020
Social distancing is an unsustainable fantasy. We must get real, making sure to balance the risks along with ensuring quality of life
Social distancing is a fantasy. There, I’ve said it, and now you’ve heard it, you can’t unhear it. Let’s stop pretending that this is going to work. It isn’t. Let go of the comfort blanket because like it or not, every individual citizen is going to have make their own risk assessments, use their common sense and make their own decisions about how to live their lives. “Stay away from everyone” is a clear message but not credible. “Stay alert” will just have to do.
During the surreal early weeks of the lockdown, the notion of long-term social distancing seemed logical and sensible, but as the weeks rolled by, the utter ludicrousness of it became apparent. Matt Hancock helped to emphasise the absurdity of it all when he said that it will not be possible to hug anyone outside of our household until the virus was “totally sorted”. Risible.
A government minister telling the British people that they will not be able to touch another person outside of their “household” for an undefined amount of time just about sums up the madness of this time. I would think him a dangerous totalitarian if it wasn’t obvious he was just flailing around haplessly unsure what to say or do.
Dear reader, do you really suppose we can live our lives at a two-metre distance from all fellow human beings outside our household? What will become of our society if we allow the government to dictate to us how closely we can physically interact with our fellow citizens? Are we going to accept many ordinary aspects of our lives being banned, even on our private property? The social distancing delusion doesn’t consider the quality of our lives or the impact on our liberty and the wellbeing of the nation.
Hundreds of questions arise about the confusing rules and the nonsensical idea of living our lives in compliance with them. Why must we follow a two-metre rule instead of the World Health Organisation’s recommended one metre? It seems an arbitrary decision that risks driving businesses into the ground, and must be reconsidered.
Why can I see my friend in a field but not in my garden? How come it’s okay to be in an office but not see my family? Questions such as this are being asked across the country and that’s why there’s so much anecdotal evidence of the lockdown crumbling and people defying the social distancing rules dictated by the government. This was inevitable because it’s unsustainable.
Single people are not going to want to go six months or more without a hug, a kiss or having sex. People want to see their family, not one at a time and not necessarily in the bloody park. Children need to play and interact with other children, it’s essential for their development and wellbeing. In any case, the idea that we can – or should – force school children to social distance is laughable and contemptible.
Are we going to tell off a six-year-old for playing with their friends? We’ll warp the minds of an entire generation! Teenagers don’t like being told to do at the best of times, but being told to stay away from their mates despite their being little to no risk to themselves? Forget it! Can underperforming schools with many disengaged pupils who don’t even follow the normal school rules really enforce these rules? Come off it.
We must stop living in this lockdown-induced fantasy world and get real. We need to balance the risks along with ensuring quality of life, especially for children and young people. The post-pandemic world must be one of better hygiene, more cautious behaviour, reduced unnecessary business travel and a better social care system.
As our scientific understanding of the virus increases and our capacity to test, track and trace improves, then we can take the fight back to the virus. Better treatment will come and hopefully an effective and safe vaccine will one day become widely available. We shouldn’t indulge this fantasy of social distancing any longer. The longer we cling to it the further our lives will be diminished, and the more businesses will close their doors.
Venture from your homes and see for yourself, social distancing is already beginning to crumble. We cannot live our lives like this indefinitely. We must be free to manage our risk, to connect with one another and to live our lives.
The British people will put an end to the lockdown and social distancing themselves. There’s nothing the government can do about it.
We Shouldn’t Indulge This Deluded Two-Metre Social Distancing Rule Any Longer