Covid 13  Sitting here in Limbo

10 August, 2020

Not quite. We are half way to the first review of the health protection measures announced by government on the last day of July, and we have been busy putting in measures to deal with the rise in Coronavirus cases. Manchester has developed a ten point plan and we are using the improved data I talked about in my last post to target action in those areas of most concern. We have been using suitably trained people including community volunteers to do safe door knocking in the small number of neighbourhoods with a relatively high concentration of cases, and have been leafleting areas of more general concern.

Some of the action points relate to the whole of Greater Manchester. We have an issue across the conurbation, indeed probably across the country, of younger people ignoring the social distancing basics. The average age of people contracting the virus has come down. Not only does this put the health of the victims at risk, but that of everybody they come into contact with, including people who may be far more vulnerable. We will be running a communications campaign targeted at younger people using the platforms they are more likely to use, which means I'll probably never see it.

Sticking with Comms, we've also decided at the GM Covid Emergency Campaign to stop trying to explain government guidance that doesn't make sense  but instead aim to give clear, understandable messages about what we each need to do to reduce the spread of the virus. Consent is the most important element of virus control but enforcement has its place too, and we have also agreed the need for targeted, high profile enforcement at for example bars and supermarkets who are not following the guidance.

Finally we are still campaigning to get further control of test and trace. The privatisation of mobile testing units ( they were previously operated very effectively by the military ) has not gone well. Test, trace and contain is the most fundamental part of virus containment and every bit of evidence available says that this should be locally run with national support, not as at present the other way round. Finally, finally people, especially people on low income, should not face a financial penalty for having to socially isolate, and we are campaigning to get a national scheme to provide the support people need.

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