The Tories’ abandonment of responsibility to protect us from Covid is unmasked | Letters

Readers express their concern that wearing face masks in England will soon be voluntary, and their anger at the government’s approach

And so, just like that, this Tory government abnegates itself from responsibility for what occurs once coronavirus restrictions are lifted on 19 July (PM to confirm 19 July end to Covid rules despite scientists’ warnings, 4 July). Basically, a behavioural science interpretation is: if you give a shit about your and other people’s welfare, you will continue to wear a mask in settings where transmission is most likely (eg shops, pubs, cinemas and schools), because we wear a mask primarily to protect others; if you don’t give a shit, then you won’t. Just let it rip! Classic divide and rule.

It is clear that the government, fed up with Covid-19 and just wishing it would go away, is insufficiently concerned about our physical and mental wellbeing. It is now about the economy. Desperate for trade deals, to wriggle out of culpability for 152,000 deaths, and to deflect attention from its shambolic lack of political strategy and morally vacuous ministerial behaviour, the government is betraying its citizens.
Dr Michael Sheard
Ingleby Arncliffe, North Yorkshire

• The news that the prime minister is about to go against the advice of scientists and remove the requirement to keep wearing masks in certain public places will be greeted with apprehension by many. If the politicians persist with this self-serving plan, could train companies introduce some “masks only” carriages and supermarkets have certain hours set aside for mask wearers only? Willingness to cram into nightclubs and sports stadiums with others wearing no protection is a matter of choice, but travelling and shopping for essentials are necessities for many.
Ian Anderson

• We have always been told that masks are intended to prevent people who have the virus from spreading it to others. My personal choice would be to continue to be protected from the virus by everyone continuing to wear masks. People who may have the virus but who choose to spread it by not wearing a mask are restricting the personal choice of the rest of us.

I started going to supermarkets again after my second vaccination and already feel at risk because people pass closer than two metres. If they do so without wearing a mask, I feel I will have no option but to return to relying on others without underlying health conditions to do my shopping for me, restricting their personal choice as well as mine.
Ros Campbell

• Your article on the government’s proposals to lift Covid restrictions (Politics trumps Covid science in Javid’s push to ‘live with the virus’, 4 July) says “no scientist is arguing that Covid restrictions should remain in place for ever”. However, one of the scientists quoted in the article, Prof Susan Michie, said on TV last month that she believed social distancing and mask wearing should continue for ever.
John Bourn
Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

• Your article describes the wearing of face masks as “a mere inconvenience to most people” – implying that wearing them doesn’t really matter very much. It does to me. I am deaf and cannot function properly without reading lips. That there is a dispensation for deaf people and face masks is laughable, as it is not my own lips I wish to read. I’ve supported the lockdowns, but it’s been tough and left me feeling extremely isolated, especially as I live alone.
Tim Bitcheno
Dover, Kent

• It will be interesting to see how much opening up and “learning to live with the virus” helps the economy if the result is that large numbers of people aged 50-plus opt to stow their disposable income and leisure time safely away from the crowds as masks are discarded and case numbers rocket.
Fionn Fionnmhacháin

• Michael Lipton (Letters, 30 June) observes that “to get into Wembley, all that was needed was proof of a recent lateral flow test … this misses up to 60% of infected persons”. But it’s even worse than this. At the recent Test match at Edgbaston, all that was required at the gate was to show the email sent from the NHS website confirming that we’d been to it the day before, and had stated there that we’d just tested ourselves, and it had given a negative result. Not exactly “proof” of anything.
Chris Rand

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