A couple of days ago I wrote " I suspect a large chunk of the 82% who don’t self-isolate simply can’t afford to. They don’t have the money and job security to self isolate, so they go to work anyway."

This article covers that issue: The pitched battle over lockdowns is missing the point: Covid-19 is a class issue
This is a good riposte to the oft-heard suggestion that most people who fail to follow the rules are degenerate “Covidiots”, and further proof that in a society as insecure as ours, trying to stringently control anything – let alone a highly infectious disease – will tend to be very difficult indeed. According to research done at King’s College London, only 18% of people self-isolate after developing symptoms, and only 11% quarantine after being told by the government’s test and trace system that they have been in contact with a confirmed case. Among the factors the study associates with non-compliance are “lower socio-economic grade”, and “greater hardship during the pandemic”. A lot of people, it seems, would like to do what they are told, but simply can’t.

This is the basic point the government does not seem to have grasped – painfully highlighted by Johnson’s claim that infections increased because the public became “complacent”. Threatening people with fines of up to £10,000 if they fail to self-isolate – and, we now learn, passing their details to the police – is an example of the same cast of mind, less likely to persuade people in precarious circumstances to follow the rules than to keep their distance from the authorities. The fact that some people on very low incomes are finally eligible for a lump sum of £500 to cover a fortnight’s quarantine will not solve what is obviously a massive problem; in terms of basic practicalities, it is of a piece with Rishi Sunak’s plan to pay only two-thirds of lost wages to people affected by local restrictions.
How do you self-isolate if you live in a cramped multi-generational house with one kitchen and one bathroom/toilet, possibly even sharing a bedroom? How do you self-isolate if you live in shared accommodation, again with a shared kitchen and a shared bathroom, while struggling to hold down a job to pay the extortionate rent?

Decades of failed policies are now coming back to haunt us. Broken housing and overcrowding isn't something you can quickly solve in a few months or even weeks.

#Covid19 #Coronavirus #UK #politics #health #BorisJohnson #selfisolate