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Watch: Former UK Prime Minister Makes Strong Case for Lifting COVID Restrictions

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Posted: Jun 11, 2021 1:15 PM

Former British Prime Minister Theresa May stepped down from her leadership position in 2019 after failing to secure a Brexit deal (having been a Remainer herself) and coming frighteningly close to presiding over an electoral loss to Jeremy Corbyn's radical and bigotry-riddled Labour Party two years prior. She remains in the House of Commons, however, serving her constituency as a rank-and-file member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's (rather popular) Conservative majority. 

With Boris preoccupied with hosting the G7, his predecessor is garnering some attention for a succinct critique of what she says is the government's overly cautious approach to reopening the country and restoring a greater degree of normalcy for Britons. Even some of her detractors on the Right are sharing and applauding these remarks:


Many people on both sides of the Atlantic were willing to radically alter their lives for a period of time in order to help stop the spread of the novel and deadly disease, based on two metrics: (1) Protecting the elderly and people with serious co-morbidities, who were far more likely to experience bad health outcomes from COVID, and (2) preventing the healthcare system from being overrun and overwhelmed. Now that nearly every single vulnerable person has been vaccinated (and those who haven't have made that choice for themselves) and the healthcare system is nowhere close to being swamped with declining COVID cases, governmental justifications for ongoing restrictive mandates are far less palatable – especially as a substantial majority of the adult population is vaxxed. May gives voice to a crucial idea: The standard cannot shift from reducing a major risk to waiting for no risk at all. The latter scenario will never play out.  

Her point about the flu is apt – not because COVID's unchecked lethality was comparable to the seasonal flu (it was far deadlier) but because in a post-vaccine world, that lethality has been dramatically curtailed. We don't shut down society even during bad flu seasons, which kill tens of thousands of people per year. Our mentality about COVID needs to morph into something more closely resembling how we think about influenza. There will be cases, there will be variants, and, yes, there will be deaths. That is tragic and we should do what we can to minimize the suffering, but we cannot await an unattainable world in which Coronavirus is eradicated in order to resume our normal lives. Ending the pandemic is not the same as totally eradicating the virus. Good for May for explaining this dynamic while prodding her own party's government to adapt toward freedom. I'll leave you with this tweet from a buddy who is understandably skeptical about ongoing mask requirements on commercial airliners for vaccinated people:


The replies, dominated by mask dead-enders, are discouraging. People argue they're worried that others will lie about their vaccination status (so what? vaccinated people are protected regardless of what others do or say), that there are new variants (see above), that "breakthrough" infections can happen (they're vanishingly rare and don't pose serious health risks), and that many children can't be vaccinated (kids are overwhelmingly safe from negative impacts from COVID – see this chart vs. the flu). These are not good arguments to maintain airline restrictions, or any other sweeping restrictions, for that matter. If people want their risk to be zero, they can choose to stay at home, and invite a raft of other risks to themselves, but they shouldn't be able to impose their irrationality on the rest of us. I'll leave you with a reminder that commercial flights have not been COVID major super-spreaders, thanks in large part to good air circulation. It's wild to continue to believe that wearing a mask over one's face offers better protection against the virus than getting vaccinated, but the mask obsessives are some of the most anti-vax people (in practice) on the scene today. 

Finally, it's always worth keeping an eye on potentially concerning developments, no matter how rare, but the vaccines are incredibly safe and effective. Policymakers and companies should ignore the anti-science Masks Forever brigade and act accordingly.