Public debate and a pandemic
Sir, – What trade-offs are acceptable in navigating the ongoing pandemic? Robust debate in the media and clear messaging from Government should address the reality that certain valuable things will inevitably be lost owing to the pandemic and measures taken to contain it.
What is our Government committed to protecting? I respectfully suggest it should be public health and human rights.
A growing number of right-wing voices that question the very existence of the pandemic is worrying, but not worrying enough that questions cannot or should not be asked. It is not unscientific to draw attention to the severe costs of “lockdown” for public health. It is not unpatriotic to interrogate the costs to cancer services, domestic violence services, homelessness, addiction, and so on. It is extremely important and valuable to continue exploring and exposing the quantifiable threat that the pandemic poses to our society.
Conscious political choices are being made every day about what to protect and what to let go while this pandemic drags on. Responsible leadership will be open about how those choices are made. Responsible reporting will demand to know what those choices are. Responsible advocates will demand protections that advance equality and human rights – protections against coronavirus and protections against deepening isolation, exclusion and deprivation. – Yours, etc,
Dr CAROL BALLANTINE,