Long term social distancing: Impact on public life & public transport?

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BC

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It's the actual risk that people need to be aware of.

According to worldometer (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) there have been 316,507 deaths from coronavirus (at the time of writing). Also at the time of writing, there have been (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/) 22,229,387 deaths. That means that 1.42% of global deaths this year have been caused by the coronavirus. That's not great by any means - but what it does mean is that the risk to some people is so small that it is no wonder not everyone takes it as seriously if they know the risk to them is pretty much imperceptible. And there's a small group of the population who are taking it too seriously. If you're that worried that if you go out you will get seriously ill and could die, then the best advice is to not go out, surely? You can get friends and family to deliver your vital medicines and food and if going to hospital or the doctors, wear a face covering and avoid as many people as possible - usually this doesn't involve shouting at people though :)
Thats great. Just shut those inconvenient people away in a box hey and everyone get on with their lives without them?
 

BC

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But if families are travelling why should they not sit together? If anything it saves space and makes it easier for others travelling to distance.
Problem with that is how do the rail staff ensure that people are in a household and not just a pile of people who have met up on the station platform for a trip out...
 
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Problem with that is how do the rail staff ensure that people are in a household and not just a pile of people who have met up on the station platform for a trip out...
Same way they’re dealing with essential travel only i.e. they don’t. It’s ultimately up to everyone to judge the risk themselves.
Because if one of them is sitting in the aisle seat they are within 2m of someone on the other side of the coach.
But say a family of four board the train. If they all distance themselves as if they were travelling individually then they’re effectively taking up 4x as many seats as they would if they were sat together.
 

Bletchleyite

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But say a family of four board the train. If they all distance themselves as if they were travelling individually then they’re effectively taking up 4x as many seats as they would if they were sat together.
True, but the railway are I believe required to see the 2m thing as absolute, if 2 people sit in a pair of seats this fails.

Overall, blocking out seats is probably the best solution - it's clear and not possible to be confused.
 

CaptainHaddock

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Yes, we had it in the weekend before the lockdown - staff late for work because they did not feel they could safely distance.
Really? I'm not sure social distancing was even a thing before the lockdown, and even it is was, the staff you refer to made a personal choice rather than being refused travel

The point is that there simply isn’t the massive amounts of capacity that you seem to think there is, even off-peak.
Yes there is. As a key worker I've been commuting 4 days a week throughout the lockdown and can confirm that the majority of off-peak trains I've seen or travelled on are virtually empty.

And how do you arrange it so there isn’t a surge in certain places at certain times?
You don't need to. There won't be a surge until the lockdown is lifted, attractions reopen and the majority of people who aren't key workers are willing to leave their homes.

Even your simply example simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. So say these people who fancy a walk turn up at Sheffield, and let’s say they manage to find an empty train as no one else has had the same idea. What happens on the way back if the return train happens to busy? Are they going to be happy to remain at Hathersage until a train turns up which has the space to socially distance, bearing in mind the sparse service and the possibility that the next train may also not have space? How do you think staff will take to this?
As Killingworth has confirmed further down the thread, Hope Valley stoppers are currently running as 4 coach trains with fewer than 10 passengers off peak.A class 150 has 124-149 seats depending on its layout so two units have just under 300 seats. That means that even with social distancing based on only 1 seat in 4 being occupied, they could comfortably carry 75 passengers, 7 times more than they are currently carrying.

Thus our hypothetical walkers will easily find seats on their journey home. Even if there was a sudden surge of leisure travellers and those 75 seats were taken, I'm sure few would mind if they sat in a seat slightly less than 2 metres away from someone else for the 15 minute journey back to Sheffield.

As I say, the sooner we get the majority of people back to work the better, then there won’t be this mass surging to leisure spots, which may well then mean there isn’t such concern about scarce capacity being taken up.
I agree with your first part but no matter how often you repeat it, capacity isn't scarce at the moment.
 

Huntergreed

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True, but the railway are I believe required to see the 2m thing as absolute, if 2 people sit in a pair of seats this fails.

Overall, blocking out seats is probably the best solution - it's clear and not possible to be confused.
This is yet another example of why we need to adapt our strategy to encouraging 1m, perhaps with mask enforcement. The situation where two from the same household sit together on a aisle and window seat across from someone on a window seat will likely pose very little risk. This would greatly increase capacity and still suppress the virus.
 

greyman42

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But also that we are being told "essential use only" for the railway, still, which precludes leisure travel, because leisure travel is by definition not essential. As soon as I am clearly permitted to I will be taking some long train journeys. At present, however, it seems clear I am being asked not to do so.
There is nothing stopping you making a rail journey, short or long. It's your call.
 

Huntergreed

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There is nothing stopping you making a rail journey, short or long. It's your call.
Whilst that is true, it’s certainly not the message that’s being broadcast at the moment, which seems to be “essential travel only” which has, I suspect in some cases, driven the public towards the view “you travel, you die” simply because of the immense public and media shaming and scaremongering focused on those who do choose to travel.

The government seem very reluctant to make travel legislation clear at the moment and this, whilst it is working right now, could case problems in the short/medium term whilst trying to reopen the economy.
 

geoffk

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True, but the railway are I believe required to see the 2m thing as absolute, if 2 people sit in a pair of seats this fails.

Overall, blocking out seats is probably the best solution - it's clear and not possible to be confused.
But the guard isn't going to go round the train policing this. I travelled by train from Todmorden to Littleborough on 1st May and there were about six others on a three-car train. Both the ticket office clerk and the driver seemed pleased to see a passenger! I didn't touch any handrails and worked the door buttons with my elbow. Today there are four cars in the station car park at Littleborough.
 

87015

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But the guard isn't going to go round the train policing this.
Then it will take much, much longer for the essential travel only advise and expectation to be withdrawn if people decide to use it for leisure travel. The ramp up this week is already on a shoestring of being withdrawn if numbers rise far.
 

111-111-1

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You don't need to. There won't be a surge until the lockdown is lifted, attractions reopen and the majority of people who aren't key workers are willing to leave their homes.

I agree with your first part but no matter how often you repeat it, capacity isn't scarce at the moment.
My local TV showed various tourist spots in the south that was busy at weekend. Familys on beech and walking People not key workers want to be out.

It wont take much to make train busy.
 

greyman42

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Then it will take much, much longer for the essential travel only advise and expectation to be withdrawn if people decide to use it for leisure travel. The ramp up this week is already on a shoestring of being withdrawn if numbers rise far.
How will withdrawing services if there is a increase in passenger numbers help matters?
 

BJames

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Thats great. Just shut those inconvenient people away in a box hey and everyone get on with their lives without them?
Shall we shut everyone away and stay in lockdown until every case has gone away? Anyway the point is that some people will have to shield for longer and the government knows this is the case. This is another example of a trade off between health and the economy. Social distancing is the way of trying to temporarily bridge this gap but it's clearly not 100% effective (or being 100% adhered to) or otherwise we wouldn't have still had over 2,500 new cases yesterday.

In which part of the above did I say these people were inconvenient? I was making the point that the entire society should not be cowering in fear for the next five years (especially when we have comments such as Ferguson saying that we cannot return to normal until there is a vaccine - when we know that social distancing until a vaccine is not possible, unless the vaccine is available this year, as otherwise we would have to social distance forever!) At the moment most/all of us have been "shut away" as you say so I'm willing to hear your suggestion as to how we should get back to a state resembling normality?

Edit: just to add as well that I'm sure you find my viewpoint insensitive but if we're trying to make a combined effort to get society back up and running, then the best way of reducing the death toll is ensuring those who are at most risk from dying don't go out until it's safe! If this was everyone in society then Johnson wouldn't be attempting to start the great return to work for the next 8 months but this is quite simply not practical.
 
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nedchester

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Shall we shut everyone away and stay in lockdown until every case has gone away? Anyway the point is that some people will have to shield for longer and the government knows this is the case. This is another example of a trade off between health and the economy. Social distancing is the way of trying to temporarily bridge this gap but it's clearly not 100% effective (or being 100% adhered to) or otherwise we wouldn't have still had over 2,500 new cases yesterday.

In which part of the above did I say these people were inconvenient? I was making the point that the entire society should not be cowering in fear for the next five years (especially when we have comments such as Ferguson saying that we cannot return to normal until there is a vaccine - when we know that social distancing until a vaccine is not possible, unless the vaccine is available this year, as otherwise we would have to social distance forever!) At the moment most/all of us have been "shut away" as you say so I'm willing to hear your suggestion as to how we should get back to a state resembling normality?

Edit: just to add as well that I'm sure you find my viewpoint insensitive but if we're trying to make a combined effort to get society back up and running, then the best way of reducing the death toll is ensuring those who are at most risk from dying don't go out until it's safe! If this was everyone in society then Johnson wouldn't be attempting to start the great return to work for the next 8 months but this is quite simply not practical.
There seems an assumption amongst many that we should not get to any semblance until a vaccine is found. Michael O'Leary from Ryanair (who I normally cannot stand) is at least being honest about this. By July he wants to run many of his flights to various destinations. The same should be happening with the railways, buses etc.

Remember nothing can be 100% safe.
 

Huntergreed

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There seems an assumption amongst many that we should not get to any semblance until a vaccine is found. Michael O'Leary from Ryanair (who I normally cannot stand) is at least being honest about this. By July he wants to run many of his flights to various destinations. The same should be happening with the railways, buses etc.

Remember nothing can be 100% safe.
I agree with this. I feel that the initial purpose of the lockdown of keeping the NHS capacity sufficient has been achieved, now that we're on the downward trend we need to get things moving again. Obviously we can't do everything as before and we need to be extra careful when protecting the vulnerable but, aside from that, we need to open our eyes and get society moving again. Sadly the government and media's approach of inducing fear has caused the widespread public view that we shouldn't be going outside until the virus is no longer present in the country but, realistically, we need to change this and get the country and economy moving again whilst also ensuring that NHS capacity can cope with the inevitable sustained number of cases that will occur over the next year or so until a longer term solution is, hopefully, devised.
 

BJames

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There seems an assumption amongst many that we should not get to any semblance until a vaccine is found. Michael O'Leary from Ryanair (who I normally cannot stand) is at least being honest about this. By July he wants to run many of his flights to various destinations. The same should be happening with the railways, buses etc.

Remember nothing can be 100% safe.
Agreed on O'Leary. He's trying to be realistic about the fact that many many organisations will fold if social distancing continues to be applied... for example restaurants whose staff are furloughed... bring them back with social distancing applied and many businesses will fold.

Transport wise, just my observations from passing by my local London Overground station: the service was restored on Monday to a standard Saturday service which is excellent, and I have seen a very slight increase in the number of people going to the station but it's certainly not to the extent that it will be overcrowded just yet, so for now, social distancing is working on this line. This will not be possible once people start to return to work in a much larger capacity.

I agree with this. I feel that the initial purpose of the lockdown of keeping the NHS capacity sufficient has been achieved, now that we're on the downward trend we need to get things moving again. Obviously we can't do everything as before and we need to be extra careful when protecting the vulnerable but, aside from that, we need to open our eyes and get society moving again. Sadly the government and media's approach of inducing fear has caused the widespread public view that we shouldn't be going outside until the virus is no longer present in the country but, realistically, we need to change this and get the country and economy moving again whilst also ensuring that NHS capacity can cope with the inevitable sustained number of cases that will occur over the next year or so until a longer term solution is, hopefully, devised.
This is why I'm actually to an extent in favour of the new messaging - ok it might be a bit vague and confusing but it's taken away the stay at home message for a reason - because this is increasingly not the best thing to do. And yes we can't do everything as before at this stage but some progress is better than nothing.
 

111-111-1

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There seems an assumption amongst many that we should not get to any semblance until a vaccine is found. Michael O'Leary from Ryanair (who I normally cannot stand) is at least being honest about this. By July he wants to run many of his flights to various destinations. The same should be happening with the railways, buses etc.

Remember nothing can be 100% safe.
I too don't have much time for him, that said he has changed a small airplane to a big one.

Interesting will be if he can get anyone to fly if quarentine is requires at both destination and on return.
 

nlogax

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Sadly the government and media's approach of inducing fear has caused the widespread public view that we shouldn't be going outside until the virus is no longer present in the country
I don't agree. My take is that people just want the new cases / infection rate to be lower and to be absolutely certain the NHS can withstand a second wave of this thing that's nowhere near as miserable as the first. I'm willing to bet that those who won't go anywhere until the virus has vanished is in the tiny minority. Most people want to get the country and economy moving again..safely. That's a reasonable desire.
 

BC

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[
Shall we shut everyone away and stay in lockdown until every case has gone away? Anyway the point is that some people will have to shield for longer and the government knows this is the case. This is another example of a trade off between health and the economy. Social distancing is the way of trying to temporarily bridge this gap but it's clearly not 100% effective (or being 100% adhered to) or otherwise we wouldn't have still had over 2,500 new cases yesterday.

In which part of the above did I say these people were inconvenient? I was making the point that the entire society should not be cowering in fear for the next five years (especially when we have comments such as Ferguson saying that we cannot return to normal until there is a vaccine - when we know that social distancing until a vaccine is not possible, unless the vaccine is available this year, as otherwise we would have to social distance forever!) At the moment most/all of us have been "shut away" as you say so I'm willing to hear your suggestion as to how we should get back to a state resembling normality?

Edit: just to add as well that I'm sure you find my viewpoint insensitive but if we're trying to make a combined effort to get society back up and running, then the best way of reducing the death toll is ensuring those who are at most risk from dying don't go out until it's safe! If this was everyone in society then Johnson wouldn't be attempting to start the great return to work for the next 8 months but this is quite simply not practical.
No I find your viewpoint abelist that's all. It seems it's easier to just tell the vlunerable to stay home because it's their issue and not make any accomodation at all for them. Thanks.
 

Bantamzen

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Why is it up to me to propose a course of action?
It isn't, however it is for you to understand that the longer a large scale lockdown goes on, the more damage it does to the economy, and the more damage that will inflict on essential services, including the NHS. There's no easy way of saying this, but the measures were put into place to get the NHS over an expected peak without it collapsing, which has been achieved. And the additional capacity is still there in warm storage in case it is needed again.

But leave this situation too long and the estimated £300-£350 billion this is going to cost will rise very quickly, to a point at which the government will have to borrow even more in an already overstretched borrowing market, taxation will have to rise sharply, or major & deep cuts made into public services. There is no getting away from the fact that lockdowns have to be paid for, and if left too long they may reach the point at which we no longer can. We do have to do the best for our most vulnerable, but keeping millions of people from working and spending in the economy will quickly, and may already have become a far bigger problem.
 

carlberry

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No I find your viewpoint abelist that's all. It seems it's easier to just tell the vlunerable to stay home because it's their issue and not make any accomodation at all for them. Thanks.
The problem is that there is no allinclusive solution at present. If you're vulnerable there's a serious chance you'll die of it; no treatment and no cure. The current most serious intevention (ventilation) often leaves people with more long term issues than they started with.
The only 'correct' answer is a complete lock down for enough weeks to remove the virus from the UK which is impossible given the level of spreed that the UK had. The current plans are the least worse that allow some return of society, this dosent mean the vulnerable have to stay at home however they have to accept that there's risks. You have to remember that it's only fairly recently that society decided it wasnt acceptable that disabled people were unable to travel where they want to (i.e. it actually admitted there was a problem and started doing something about it, it's still nowhere near cured of course).
 

BC

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Because if you're countering someone else's suggestion for an action, it's good to propose another - otherwise you're probably asking for something that's non-viable.
I have. The proposition is that people should not be discriminatory or abelist. Simply then pushing it back on to me and saying Im not helping for point this out is perpetuating the problem.

If we can make efforts to allow less mobile people to travel then we can make allowances for those who are currently sheilding. But I'm seeing precious little of this. Sadly that doesn't surprise me.
 

BC

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It isn't, however it is for you to understand that the longer a large scale lockdown goes on, the more damage it does to the economy, and the more damage that will inflict on essential services, including the NHS. There's no easy way of saying this, but the measures were put into place to get the NHS over an expected peak without it collapsing, which has been achieved. And the additional capacity is still there in warm storage in case it is needed again.

But leave this situation too long and the estimated £300-£350 billion this is going to cost will rise very quickly, to a point at which the government will have to borrow even more in an already overstretched borrowing market, taxation will have to rise sharply, or major & deep cuts made into public services. There is no getting away from the fact that lockdowns have to be paid for, and if left too long they may reach the point at which we no longer can. We do have to do the best for our most vulnerable, but keeping millions of people from working and spending in the economy will quickly, and may already have become a far bigger problem.
You think I don't realise this? I'm currently working in that field providing the necessary back end IT infrastructure to stop the NHS from collapsing logistically. I've a fair appreciation of how it works.
 
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