COVID-19, balancing one restriction against another.

Bantamzen

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I wonder, has anyone considere
Because everywhere you allow people to interact does its bit to raise R. Pubs and schools both open might make R=1.2 but with pubs or schools it's 1. (Made up numbers).
In that case why not shut supermarkets? After all there will be far more people interacting in those than in pubs.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Getting back to the thread topic this is another "speculation presented as news" story. Come September, if current trends continues, the virus won't really be an issue for most people so I don't see how schools reopening will have any bearing on whether anywhere else may have to close.
Current trend is upwards.

In that case why not shut supermarkets? After all there will be far more people interacting in those than in pubs.
Because people have to eat. However, you could design them for even less interaction - booking of slots, for instance, or click and collect (with a telephone/food box option for non Internet users) only.
 

NorthOxonian

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I wonder, has anyone considere


In that case why not shut supermarkets? After all there will be far more people interacting in those than in pubs.
I think supermarkets (where groceries are bought) are more important than pubs - we can live without pubs (though it may not be such fun), whereas supermarkets aren't really negotiable. Importance is a factor just as much as level of interaction.

And schools are probably more important than either. I might grumble about not being able to have a pint, but our children's education has already been very disrupted and this absolutely must get back on track.
 

Bletchleyite

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Very sadly cases are rising and the daily death/weekly totals have stopped going down. In the UK W/E 26th July we had 452 deaths, for W/E 2nd August we are on 441 already with one day to spare, if Sundays are more than 11 be higher than last weeks. Bojo's plan of opening up too quickly has I'm afraid not worked too well. Just look at Wales or (Scotland has all but eliminated deaths) and their more cautious strategies have resulted in far fewer cases and deaths.
It's on the up in Wales too, just from a lower base.
 

Bantamzen

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Because people have to eat. However, you could design them for even less interaction - booking of slots, for instance, or click and collect (with a telephone/food box option for non Internet users) only.
Technically you don't need supermarkets to eat, I thought you of all people would be buying into that?

I think supermarkets (where groceries are bought) are more important than pubs - we can live without pubs (though it may not be such fun), whereas supermarkets aren't really negotiable. Importance is a factor just as much as level of interaction.

And schools are probably more important than either. I might grumble about not being able to have a pint, but our children's education has already been very disrupted and this absolutely must get back on track.
So people whose livelihoods rely on the pub industry don't matter? This is the real problem I have with stupid ideas like this, people trading off other people's lives to make theirs slightly more comfortable. Quite honestly I am sick and tired of this country's obsession with finding people to blame for all this. The virus is here, it isn't going away. If we shut the pubs again and make even more people unemployed it will still spread.
 

Bletchleyite

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Technically you don't need supermarkets to eat, I thought you of all people would be buying into that?
Well, you could take every meal in a pub, but it'd get expensive, and the delivery infrastructure isn't up to serving everyone. That said, maybe we could recruit and beef it up, perhaps with a subsidy - double bonus as a job creation scheme.
 

Baxenden Bank

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To go back several posts. Meddly should not have offered pubs up as the balance to opening schools.

He should have made clear that there is a balance to be struck (people need to get that message), that we can't have everything (yet, for a long time or perhaps ever). It's not up to him to choose the alternatives for us. It's not for an 'independent professional advisor' to start or enter that debate (in his professional capacity).

Personally, opening up pubs ahead of other activities seemed daft to me, but the underlying pressures perhaps made it inevitable - summer weather, alternatives of non-distanced private parties / illegal raves etc.

The method in the madness seems to be (after lockdown itself) 'no-one is telling you to close your business, you can open if you want to, if you can't make a go of it, hey-ho, thats the free market.
 
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Baxenden Bank

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Because people have to eat. However, you could design them for even less interaction - booking of slots, for instance, or click and collect (with a telephone/food box option for non Internet users) only.
I'm 100% confident that our totally competent, wholly on top of the situation, government have spent their time productively since March! Putting in place the necessary measures to ensure home delivery is possible to every household in the land. With consumer choice rather than a standard 'take it or leave it' shielded persons dry food parcel. 4 months seems a reasonable time to order and start delivery of customised home delivery vans (ie with refridgeration and freezer compartments), to enhance server capacity, to engage and train the staff members required for picking and delivering.

As an aside, the two vacant distribution warehouses near me show no sign of being taken up, so if anyone's out there, thinking there is a shortage of suitable property to uplift distribution capacity:
former Bibby premises: 69,000 sq ft
G-Park Stoke: 275,000 sq ft
G-park Stoke ph 2: 128,000 sq ft - rapid build available within 15 weeks.
 

AdamWW

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To go back several posts. Meddly should not have offered pubs up as the balance to opening schools.

He should have made clear that there is a balance to be struck (people need to get that message), that we can't have everything (yet, for a long time or perhaps ever). It's not up to him to choose the alternatives for us. It's not for an 'independent professional advisor' to start or enter that debate (in his professional capacity).

Personally, opening up pubs ahead of other activities seemed daft to me, but the underlying pressures perhaps made it inevitable - summer weather, alternatives of non-distanced private parties / illegal raves etc.

The method in the madness seems to be (after lockdown itself) 'no-one is telling you to close your business, you can open if you want to, if you can't make a go of it, hey-ho, thats the free market.
Was he actually attempting to choose the alternatives?

All I've seen is the quote: "It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other, and then that's a matter of prioritising. Do we think pubs are more important than schools?"

That came across to me as him giving an example of the sort of trade-off we might need to consider.

The media seem to have jumped on it and made it the headline.

Maybe you could argue he should have been more careful to not give the media something like that, but that's still not the same as him trying to make the decision.
 

DelayRepay

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In that case why not shut supermarkets? After all there will be far more people interacting in those than in pubs.
It might be better to ask why the distinguished professor didn't use supermarkets as his example instead of pubs. He was clearly giving an example of a choice the government may have to make in order to re-open schools whilst keeping numbers of infections manageable and ensuring the NHS has capacity to treat those who need hospital care.

But also, it's not just about the number of interactions, but also the type of interactions. You may pass more people in a supermarket, but they are normally brief interactions as you pass in an aisle, with one or both parties wearing face coverings, and neither hanging around near the other for long. So it may be that even though fewer people use pubs than supermarkets, the number of infections generated by pubs is higher.

I am no fan of the current Prime Minister or government, but there are really hard decisions that need to be made with conflicting priorities, conflicting advice and incomplete evidence. I am glad I am not the one who has to make those decisions, because whatever decision is made is likely to be seen as the wrong one with the benefit of hindsight.

Personally I don't think pubs or supermarkets will be forced to close. But I do think we might see the current restrictions on private gatherings that apply in Greater Manchester and Bradford being extended to the whole of England, if they are effective in reducing transmission rates and therefore likely to provide enough headroom to absorb the additional cases that opening schools is likely to create.
 

geoffk

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It might be better to ask why the distinguished professor didn't use supermarkets as his example instead of pubs. He was clearly giving an example of a choice the government may have to make in order to re-open schools whilst keeping numbers of infections manageable and ensuring the NHS has capacity to treat those who need hospital care.

But also, it's not just about the number of interactions, but also the type of interactions. You may pass more people in a supermarket, but they are normally brief interactions as you pass in an aisle, with one or both parties wearing face coverings, and neither hanging around near the other for long. So it may be that even though fewer people use pubs than supermarkets, the number of infections generated by pubs is higher.

I am no fan of the current Prime Minister or government, but there are really hard decisions that need to be made with conflicting priorities, conflicting advice and incomplete evidence. I am glad I am not the one who has to make those decisions, because whatever decision is made is likely to be seen as the wrong one with the benefit of hindsight.

Personally I don't think pubs or supermarkets will be forced to close. But I do think we might see the current restrictions on private gatherings that apply in Greater Manchester and Bradford being extended to the whole of England, if they are effective in reducing transmission rates and therefore likely to provide enough headroom to absorb the additional cases that opening schools is likely to create.
I play in an amateur orchestra and the possibility of that restarting is receding further into the future.
 

AdamWW

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It might be better to ask why the distinguished professor didn't use supermarkets as his example instead of pubs. He was clearly giving an example of a choice the government may have to make in order to re-open schools whilst keeping numbers of infections manageable and ensuring the NHS has capacity to treat those who need hospital care.
At a guess (and that's all it is) because we never closed supermarkets, but opening pubs is one of the more recent relaxations.
 

Bantamzen

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It might be better to ask why the distinguished professor didn't use supermarkets as his example instead of pubs. He was clearly giving an example of a choice the government may have to make in order to re-open schools whilst keeping numbers of infections manageable and ensuring the NHS has capacity to treat those who need hospital care.

But also, it's not just about the number of interactions, but also the type of interactions. You may pass more people in a supermarket, but they are normally brief interactions as you pass in an aisle, with one or both parties wearing face coverings, and neither hanging around near the other for long. So it may be that even though fewer people use pubs than supermarkets, the number of infections generated by pubs is higher.

I am no fan of the current Prime Minister or government, but there are really hard decisions that need to be made with conflicting priorities, conflicting advice and incomplete evidence. I am glad I am not the one who has to make those decisions, because whatever decision is made is likely to be seen as the wrong one with the benefit of hindsight.

Personally I don't think pubs or supermarkets will be forced to close. But I do think we might see the current restrictions on private gatherings that apply in Greater Manchester and Bradford being extended to the whole of England, if they are effective in reducing transmission rates and therefore likely to provide enough headroom to absorb the additional cases that opening schools is likely to create.
Quite honestly and speaking from experience, I'd say going to the pub is less risky than going to the supermarket. Currently pubs are going out of their way to ensure all surfaces are clean, that there is sufficient ventilation, and having people sat down for pretty much most of their time as opposed to stores where people are walking around fiddling with their covid-collectors on their faces and then handling produce, touching common surfaces etc.

As for the household ban in this part of the world, make no mistake this is not a scientific decision. The government deliberately chose this part of the country to warn the rest of you not to be like us nasty, dirty, infected Northerners.
 

DelayRepay

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Quite honestly and speaking from experience, I'd say going to the pub is less risky than going to the supermarket. Currently pubs are going out of their way to ensure all surfaces are clean, that there is sufficient ventilation, and having people sat down for pretty much most of their time as opposed to stores where people are walking around fiddling with their covid-collectors on their faces and then handling produce, touching common surfaces etc.

As for the household ban in this part of the world, make no mistake this is not a scientific decision. The government deliberately chose this part of the country to warn the rest of you not to be like us nasty, dirty, infected Northerners.
I agree that pubs are relatively safe, and that's why I said I don't think pubs will close. Although whether they will remain as safe as summer turns to autumn and more people want to sit inside remains to be seen. I don't think the level of risk in a supermarket is as bad as you describe but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that.

The household ban is clearly a political decision (all decisions are political) but I think there is at least some data behind it. The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester does not seem to disagree with the measures, although he is not happy about how they were introduced. But part of me wonders if this is also an experiment to see what impact those kinds of restrictions have. If they reduce infection rates without doing too much more harm to the economy, then it would not surprise me if they (a) stayed in place in the current areas and (b) gradually expanded to cover the whole of England.
 

Scrotnig

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If they reduce infection rates without doing too much more harm to the economy, then it would not surprise me if they (a) stayed in place in the current areas and (b) gradually expanded to cover the whole of England.
And the longer that happens, the more they will get ignored.

You simply can't tell people to never meet anyone outside their own household. It cannot and will not work in anything other than the short term.
 

ChrisC

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I agree that pubs are relatively safe, and that's why I said I don't think pubs will close. Although whether they will remain as safe as summer turns to autumn and more people want to sit inside remains to be seen. I don't think the level of risk in a supermarket is as bad as you describe but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that.

The household ban is clearly a political decision (all decisions are political) but I think there is at least some data behind it. The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester does not seem to disagree with the measures, although he is not happy about how they were introduced. But part of me wonders if this is also an experiment to see what impact those kinds of restrictions have. If they reduce infection rates without doing too much more harm to the economy, then it would not surprise me if they (a) stayed in place in the current areas and (b) gradually expanded to cover the whole of England.
I also agree that pubs, shops and other public venues are relatively safe because the regulations in place should hopefully restrict numbers and continue some degree of social distancing. The numbers meeting in any one place can in theory be controlled and from what I have seen mainly have been. It is large groups of people meeting in private houses and gardens that is not so easy to monitor and control.

One thing I have noticed during the last month or so, is large groups of younger people meeting in various locations seem to be on the increase even in the relatively rural area where I live. Very large gatherings of teenagers are gathering in open spaces and parks with no social distancing. In our village we have had to have the churchyard locked to stop groups of teenagers arriving from nearby towns on mopeds and motorbikes and gathering in the church porch taking drugs. There also seems to be a big increase in meetings of the 18-30 age group in cars in rural car parks and lay-bys. Cars full of boy racers and girls are meeting and all getting in and out of each other’s cars with no social distancing. Late last night as I drove home near a junction of the M1, there were dozens of cars belonging to young people all parked up in lay-bys and a crowd of at least 50 all gathered with no social distancing around the cars. People of this age may not be seriously affected by the Coronavirus but are they beginning to spread it causing the recent rise in numbers? I would rather see a serious clampdown on this type of behaviour than any return of restrictions in shops and pubs etc which would bring more harm to peoples finances and the economy.
 

brad465

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One thing I have noticed during the last month or so, is large groups of younger people meeting in various locations seem to be on the increase even in the relatively rural area where I live. Very large gatherings of teenagers are gathering in open spaces and parks with no social distancing. In our village we have had to have the churchyard locked to stop groups of teenagers arriving from nearby towns on mopeds and motorbikes and gathering in the church porch taking drugs. There also seems to be a big increase in meetings of the 18-30 age group in cars in rural car parks and lay-bys. Cars full of boy racers and girls are meeting and all getting in and out of each other’s cars with no social distancing. Late last night as I drove home near a junction of the M1, there were dozens of cars belonging to young people all parked up in lay-bys and a crowd of at least 50 all gathered with no social distancing around the cars. People of this age may not be seriously affected by the Coronavirus but are they beginning to spread it causing the recent rise in numbers? I would rather see a serious clampdown on this type of behaviour than any return of restrictions in shops and pubs etc which would bring more harm to peoples finances and the economy.
Couldn't agree more, having seen similar in town centres and on trains (haven't seen the motorbike stuff too much though but believe you), and do think schools need to go back not just for their necessity but we will either get little/no social distancing in school environments but they all are educated, or they're not at school doing everything you've just listed, so either way social distancing is not happening as much as required.

This may sound harsh but I take it to be true, there are some parents not raising their kids properly, namely the ones of teenagers exhibiting this sort of behaviour, and somehow (maybe for a separate discussion entirely), more needs to be done to tackle this. I would say having more youth centres/clubs will help, which it will, but they won't be applicable to the current situation as they'd likely be closed/have limited use.
 

DelayRepay

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And the longer that happens, the more they will get ignored.

You simply can't tell people to never meet anyone outside their own household. It cannot and will not work in anything other than the short term.
I agree, but as something that can easily be used as a 'lever', to be pulled and released in line with infection rates, it is probably easier than opening/closing pubs, schools, workplaces, shops etc. And like all of these things, it doesn't really need 100% compliance. It needs enough compliance to reduce infection rates for a while and I think a lot of people will comply. Even those that don't comply fully might be partially compliant, i.e. smaller gatherings, fewer gatherings and so on.

It would not be too difficult to announce that 'for the next three weeks people in xxx town are not permitted to mix with other households'. Everything else continues - schools stay open, businesses keep trading, and the restriction is lifted when infections slow. Then the cycle starts again, a month or two of relative normality then re-introduce restrictions for a few weeks when the numbers mean they're necessary.

If you timed things right, we could have a Christmas free of restrictions, if the numbers are driven down before hand and if it's accepted that increased family transmission will replace school and workplace transmission. You could even think about extending the school Christmas holidays for a few days, and encouraging workplaces to stay closed between Christmas and New Year.
 

AdamWW

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I agree, but as something that can easily be used as a 'lever', to be pulled and released in line with infection rates, it is probably easier than opening/closing pubs, schools, workplaces, shops etc. And like all of these things, it doesn't really need 100% compliance. It needs enough compliance to reduce infection rates for a while and I think a lot of people will comply. Even those that don't comply fully might be partially compliant, i.e. smaller gatherings, fewer gatherings and so on.

It would not be too difficult to announce that 'for the next three weeks people in xxx town are not permitted to mix with other households'. Everything else continues - schools stay open, businesses keep trading, and the restriction is lifted when infections slow. Then the cycle starts again, a month or two of relative normality then re-introduce restrictions for a few weeks when the numbers mean they're necessary.

If you timed things right, we could have a Christmas free of restrictions, if the numbers are driven down before hand and if it's accepted that increased family transmission will replace school and workplace transmission. You could even think about extending the school Christmas holidays for a few days, and encouraging workplaces to stay closed between Christmas and New Year.
Yes it's important to realise that these things don't have to be all or nothing. (Though it's not so good for some of those who are making sacrifices and watching other people ignore the rules).
 

LAX54

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I see the press is saying that in an attempt to ward off a second wave, if there ever was going to be a second, they are thinking of asking ALL THOSE 50 and OVER to stay at home ! They do realise that half the public transport system will close ! There are a fair few people over 50 thhat work on Trains, Buses etc.
 

bramling

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I see the press is saying that in an attempt to ward off a second wave, if there ever was going to be a second, they are thinking of asking ALL THOSE 50 and OVER to stay at home ! They do realise that half the public transport system will close ! There are a fair few people over 50 thhat work on Trains, Buses etc.
One of the absolutely worst elements of this is the way we get snippets through the media, which are sufficiently close to reality that there’s clearly at least some basis to their authenticity. Even if we forgave Boris for all the policy errors, the dire communications is something else entirely. It really has been dire, right through this. There’s so many messages coming out at this moment especially that it really does feel like they’ve lost control now.
 

AdamWW

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One of the absolutely worst elements of this is the way we get snippets through the media, which are sufficiently close to reality that there’s clearly at least some basis to their authenticity. Even if we forgave Boris for all the policy errors, the dire communications is something else entirely. It really has been dire, right through this. There’s so many messages coming out at this moment especially that it really does feel like they’ve lost control now.
I don't think it would be overly cynical to wonder if some of this is a sort of extended focus group - 'leak' it out and see what the reaction is.

However, we have been reading different things because what I saw was the suggestion of somehow risk assessing everybody over 50 to decide who should and shouldn't be allowed out, which is not the same as telling everyone over 50 ti stay home.
 

duncanp

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I don't think it would be overly cynical to wonder if some of this is a sort of extended focus group - 'leak' it out and see what the reaction is.
This is the policy advoated by Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, and it happens every year around the time of the budget.
 

PHILIPE

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I see the press is saying that in an attempt to ward off a second wave, if there ever was going to be a second, they are thinking of asking ALL THOSE 50 and OVER to stay at home ! They do realise that half the public transport system will close ! There are a fair few people over 50 thhat work on Trains, Buses etc.
The over 50 wouldn't be very happy over that and understandably so. The ones who should stay at home are the Covidiots and not penalise those who have observed the rules. The young people who completely and deliberately ignore social distancing, wearing of masks, hold mass gatherings such as raves are the problem but to penalise the over 50 would be the easy way out.
 

AdamWW

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The over 50 wouldn't be very happy over that and understandably so. The ones who should stay at home are the Covidiots and not penalise those who have observed the rules. The young people who completely and deliberately ignore social distancing, wearing of masks, hold mass gatherings such as raves are the problem but to penalise the over 50 would be the easy way out.
Does anyone have a link to a story suggesting the government is thinking of telling everyone over 50 to stay at home?

Not that they were supposedly considering looking at the risk to everyone over 50 with a view that some might be asked to shield?
 

Baxenden Bank

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Does anyone have a link to a story suggesting the government is thinking of telling everyone over 50 to stay at home?

Not that they were supposedly considering looking at the risk to everyone over 50 with a view that some might be asked to shield?
Blame the media. The journalists chose not to present the full range of options considered, just the juciest likely to provoke response ie click-bait.

It was an option they considered. Perhaps they also considered: all over 80's, all over 70's, all over 60's etc. But we don't know so cannot form a proper opinion on anything.

PS will be interesting to see if there is a run on supermarkets again, as all the over 50's stock up for x months of house arrest.
 

Baxenden Bank

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The over 50 wouldn't be very happy over that and understandably so. The ones who should stay at home are the Covidiots and not penalise those who have observed the rules. The young people who completely and deliberately ignore social distancing, wearing of masks, hold mass gatherings such as raves are the problem but to penalise the over 50 would be the easy way out.
I am (over 50), and I'm not (very happy). But, as I fully understand that the law will say nothing of the sort, and that enforcement will be so close to be zero as it is not measurable, I shall ignore it and do whatever I was going to do anyway.
 

AdamWW

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Blame the media. The journalists chose not to present the full range of options considered, just the juciest likely to provoke response ie click-bait.

It was an option they considered. Perhaps they also considered: all over 80's, all over 70's, all over 60's etc. But we don't know so cannot form a proper opinion on anything.

PS will be interesting to see if there is a run on supermarkets again, as all the over 50's stock up for x months of house arrest.
Do you have a link to a story saying they considered asking everyone over 50 to shield?

Because the stories I read said they considered somehow risk assessing everyone over 50 with a view to asking some of them to shield.
 

Baxenden Bank

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Do you have a link to a story saying they considered asking everyone over 50 to shield?

Because the stories I read said they considered somehow risk assessing everyone over 50 with a view to asking some of them to shield.
Try the BBC News website, where it covers the daily papers. Pop down to the supermarket, in your hazmat suit and long distance grabber tongs and read the dailies. The headlines of course differ from the actual meat of the story, but it grabbed your attention and you can be sold as a reader to the advertisers.
 

AdamWW

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Try the BBC News website, where it covers the daily papers. Pop down to the supermarket, in your hazmat suit and long distance grabber tongs and read the dailies. The headlines of course differ from the actual meat of the story, but it grabbed your attention and you can be sold as a reader to the advertisers.
There are some newspapers where I feel even in a coronavirus-free-world a hazmat suit and long tongs would be appropriate.
 

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