Covid and conveyancing: your letters to the editor
Covid is a societal crisis
The current approach of universal lockdown is predicated on the assumption that minimum loss of life supersedes all other potential criteria, and that the vaccine will put an end to this crisis in swift fashion. I fear it is ignoring a few important factors worthy of consideration.
On a de-averaged basis, Covid statistics are quite concentrated: 93.85% of deaths are age 60+; n = 75,861; 6.15% deaths of those aged under 60 are associated with an identifiable (and potentially preventable) underlying disease, relating to self-imposed unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking/drinking, over-eating and lack of exercise [Source: ONS].
The success and long-terms risks of the vaccine remain an open question and could carry greater risks than Covid for low-risk groups. The vaccine is not yet proven to prevent transmission/infection or completely eradicate the virus (much like how influenza still exists today); currently, it is only proven to lessen severe symptoms.
Covid is a societal crisis, not just an acute health crisis. People’s social wellbeing (an individual’s ability to exercise basic rights and freedoms) is being compromised. Suicide and overdose deaths are on the rise, an incremental 5,630 annually since we were hit by the pandemic, according to the latest statistics.
Economic wellbeing must also be considered: the fiscal implications of government spending to fight the disease and subsidise workers, all the while taking in less tax revenue. Debt will grow, inflation will rise and the whole situation will ultimately fall in the laps of taxpayers. What happens if the vaccine is not successful this year and lockdown measures continue to drag on for many more months/years?
- Mandate isolation/vaccination of high-risk groups and support them with tax funds to access protected services (food, necessities, healthcare and recreation). Overcompensate these protected services providers with hazard pay. Incentivise measures to improve preventable health conditions.
- Promote good hygiene: restart the economy, do not mandate vaccination and otherwise restrict mobility.
- Continue working on the vaccine to have a long-term and lasting impact, while freeing low-risk groups.
- Deaths will continue, even if high-risk groups are protected. I estimate 7,000-8,000 based on long-term influenza rates and published fatality rates (age-specific) for Covid. That represents about the same number of annual flu deaths which have become ‘acceptable collateral damage’ devoid of isolation during winters.
- How is this fair to high-risk groups who remain isolated? If the vaccine is not effective in the next 6-12 months, the impact on them is no different. The low-risk groups must move forward until sustainable immunisation can be achieved.
If more decide that they are not willing to wait indefinitely, our government may need to alter the course of action to save us from an even greater societal crisis.
Aristone Solicitors, Luton
Conveyancers rise to the challenge
Can I praise the collective efforts of conveyancers over the pandemic?
Many seem to be working incredible hours, report that they have never been so busy, and have more than risen to the challenge.
But this has all proved that the law of unintended consequences applies here.
Emailing at 3am and receiving a reply by return is not always what one wanted at that precise moment. ‘Carry on Conveyancing’ is certainly the motto.
Godwins Solicitors LLP, Winchester
I completely agree with the suggestion by Tony Crosby (Feedback, 30 November) that money should change hands up the chain, to be held to order the day before, so that clients can have a less stressful move with removal vans waiting on the doorstep. The present system is archaic and needs to change.
Nexa Law, London SE1
I enjoyed reading the latest prediction that lawyers will increasingly be replaced by computers. Will computers also replace legal futurologists?