As a member of government advisory bodies, I have always felt it would be incompatible with that status not to wear a face covering where legally required to. However, I shall cease to do so from 19 July when these requirements lapse. (1/10)
I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the people who have been exempt because of respiratory and neurodiverse conditions. (2/10)
I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the people who have been exempt because of trauma induced by previous assaults or abuse (3/10)
Both of these groups have often had a hard time over the last 15 months from police officers, street marshalls, security guards, door staff and self-appointed busybodies (4/10)
I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the people with communication difficulties, whether auditory and unable to lip-read, or visual and unable to use sound for reliable interaction and navigation (5/10)
I shall do this as an act of solidarity with all the small children whose education has been disrupted by the lack of visual clues, especially in language development (6/10)
I shall do this because, as SAGE, ECDC, WHO, CDC, CEBM, etc have pointed out, the evidence of benefit in interrupting transmission from face covering is weak and ambiguous, allowing any partisan to cherry pick studies that suit their case (7/10)
I shall do this because, as the highly charged responses to the UK government's announcement have shown, the main reasons for covering faces are now about fear and anxiety which will not be eased by clinging any longer to these comfort blankets (8/10)
I shall do this because I, too, am a moral person who cares about those with disabilities who are potential victims of discrimination, about small children whose development is disrupted, and about respect for scientific evidence (9/10)
If others take a different view, that is their prerogative. However, I will not allow them to suggest that I am less moral or caring and I will expect them to respect my choices as I respect theirs (10/10)

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More from @rwjdingwall

30 Jun
I am seeing a lot of tweets about vaccinating UK teenagers and advocates getting air time in places like @BBCNewsnight As a JCVI member, I am constrained in what I can say right now. However, two things are worth considering (1/8)
The risk/benefit for teenagers must be firmly established. The UK programme has already been modified because the risk/benefit of AZ was not clear for 20 and 30 somethings. Teenagers are at intrinsically low risk from Covid. Vaccines must be exceptionally safe to beat this (2/8)
Given the low risk of Covid for most teenagers, it is not immoral to think that they may be better protected by natural immunity generated through infection than by asking them to take the *possible* risk of a vaccine. (3/8)
Read 8 tweets
31 Mar
There has been something of a moral panic about gatherings of young people in Nottingham parks. Some thoughts @BBCNottingham @bbcemt @NottinghamPost (1/8)
Always mistrust ground level photos and videos of such gatherings - the lenses used tend to foreshorten the images and give a stronger impression of crowding than is actually the case. Only drone footage can give an accurate picture of the density and social groupings (2/8)
Research by sociologists and social psychologists has for more than 100 years shown that crowds are not random aggregates of individuals but collections of small groups - people who came together, will mostly interact with each other, and will leave together (3/8)
Read 8 tweets
9 Feb
I have now been able to review the Warwick model that projects continuing Covid restrictions until late next year (1/7)…
As I suspected, a key problem is a failure to re-calibrate the outcomes to reflect the impact of vaccination. This is the key assumption: "We sub-divide into the effects of protection against symptoms (disease efficacy) and reduction in transmission" (2/7)
However, if we believe the trial evidence, and emerging real-world experience, Covid-19 will look very different in a post-vaccine world. The model aggregates all infections to generate a 'disease burden'. (3/7)
Read 7 tweets
7 Feb
.@ClareCraigPath has been getting a hard time for questioning whether an asymptomatic infection can be a disease. She has a better grasp of the philosophical issue than her critics, which tells us something interesting about the difference between medicine and biology. (1/7)
LS King was a wise US physician "Biological science does not try to distinguish between health and disease. Biology is concerned with the interaction between living organisms and their environment. What we call health or disease is quite irrelevant." (2/7)
Medicine, and related sciences, are ways to control the world in the interests of - some or all - humans. Biology seeks to understand it. The idea of an asymptomatic infection does not make sense in biology (3/7)
Read 7 tweets
16 Dec 20
I am very concerned about the implicit ageism in a lot of the debate around Christmas - and more generally around Coivd-19 policy. Some highlights from @age_uk valuable overview of the lives of people over 65 (1/5)…
There are just under 12 million people in the UK aged over 65 - only 400,000 live in care homes. 93.5% of those aged 60-9 are not considered frail by official definitions. Even among the 90+group, 35% are not defined as frail (2/5)
24% of those over 50 in England report feeling lonely some of the time: 7% feel this often. Loneliness, social isolation, and living alone have all been associated with an increased risk of premature death. They are also thought to bring a 40% increase in risk of dementia (3/5)
Read 5 tweets
15 Dec 20
There is currently a great deal of fear-mongering about Christmas visits in the UK. In order to assess the risk associated with a family or social visit within the rules, it is useful to consider some facts. The science is not exact but the orders of magnitude are secure (1/8)
Around 20%, possibly up to 30%, of infections are asymptomatic - the person will not know they have been infected. Around 80% of symptomatic infections are mild or moderate. They do not require a hospital admission (2/8)
The risks of serious illness and death increase with age - but most people recover. Estimates from the First Wave, published in Nature, suggest 30 deaths in 1000 infections (970 survivors) among 65-74 year olds and 116 (884 survivors) in 75+ year olds (3/8)
Read 8 tweets

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