Supported (Voluntary) Shielding

For the vast majority of people in Scotland the likelihood of the virus leading to hospitalisation or death is extremely small. The proposal would be that in order to move from lockdown, at risk groups by virtue of age or underlying health conditions get the choice to be fully supported in shielding. There will be a lot of unemployed as we leave lockdown who could be re-employed by the Government in a buddy system with individuals who are shielding in order to obtain essential supplies & support. In addition for those individuals most at risk owing to health who are of working age they would continue to be Government supported in an ongoing furlough type scheme. The key would "choice". If you are aged or vulnerable you are given the opportunity to shield. If you don't wish to, and to take the risk, then that is entirely up to you. Therefore the "over 60's" wouldn't be "locked up", so much as cocooned if they wished. With respect to everyone else it would be "business as usual" however, with some ongoing restrictions continuing to be enforced in supermarkets, at work etc. Large scale gatherings would remain "cancelled". The above would result in increased rate of infection, but I would imagine fairly manageable numbers of hospital admissions and deaths. The economy would continue and the country could move forwards.

Why the contribution is important

As a society we choose to do a great many things knowing that people will die: permit poverty to avoid higher tax, insist on car travel despite thousands being killed or maimed on the roads each year, buy clothes from sweat shops for cheap fashion, go to war for the sake of "liberty" - this is maybe just another decision that requires to be made knowing that some people will die, but for the sake of the lives and livelihoods of generations to come.

by DB2607 on May 08, 2020 at 10:08AM

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  • Posted by Lynne_W May 08, 2020 at 10:16

    I support this in the main and believe the evidence now suggests we should focus on the vulnerable groups as the impact on the majority of the public is very small. A total lockdown for all people seems the wrong approach. Whether the lockdown is voluntary or not I think should be debated further.
  • Posted by seventyplus May 08, 2020 at 11:06

    But if those who are vulnerable choose to take the risk, they are not simply endangering themselves; they also increase the chance of putting additional burdens on an overstretched NHS, since they are much more likely to need hospital treatment and intensive care. We owe it to others, not just to ourselves, to observe restrictions.
  • Posted by DB2607 May 08, 2020 at 11:32

    Thanks seventyplus I think the issue is there is no way out of this without the NHS being burdened and lives being put at risk. There is no vaccine - there won't be for 12 months or so, there is no effective treatment, and there isn't any (remotely) sustainable way to keep a population on lockdown in the long term. The NHS has used the previous 7 weeks as best it can to massively increase capacity for C-19 patients, it may now be time to let the virus (to a certain degree) "run it's course". I would imagine the vast majority of those who were vulnerable and aged would take up the option of "assisted shielding" in this very theoretical proposal (or if they did leave their house would take a very risk averse approach, i.e. a walk in the country), and even then the majority of those individuals if they caught the virus would still not need hospitalisation which would hopefully keep hospital numbers down.
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