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The future of skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Variables:-

How long will it take for the virus to "run its course"?

If it does run its course in a given geographical area, is there a risk of it being brought back to that area by other travellers?

Will this become a seasonal virus, thus breaking out at winter again?

To what extent is confidence in ski travel knocked by people's experiences over last three to four weeks and press reports of outbreaks focussed on ski resorts?

What is the future of travel insurance?

Will resorts and businesses in them survive the early shut down this year?


I love skiing, and will do it no matter what. Suspect I'd even cycle to the alps and go touring if that was all that was on offer.

My interest is in the viability of ski resorts as a holiday destination or recreational activity for a large number of people.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
How long will it take for the virus to "run its course"?
Reading between the lines i reckon that its here to stay in its future variants , just like flu, SARs and birdflu
are still active i think, (but cant be bothered checking)

If it does run its course in a given geographical area, is there a risk of it being brought back to that area by other travellers?
Again by the time its thought to be going under control we will hit autumn and cold weather, which virus
love..,so it will keep coming around after its mutated a bit.

Will this become a seasonal virus, thus breaking out at winter again?
Yes, after mutation

To what extent is confidence in ski travel knocked by people's experiences over last three to four weeks and press reports of outbreaks focussed on ski resorts?
Not bothered me, if you catch it then so be it, bit like flu, not much can be done. Its not like smallpox, we
will eventually get to a point where its not viable anymore to be bothered with it, just have to wait for the
next one coming out of china (again!!)

What is the future of travel insurance?
They wont cover for this type of thing without a hefty premium, but then again they only come around
each generation ish..

Will resorts and businesses in them survive the early shut down this year?
Resorts will, those in france will get government money, the bars may struggle though, crystalball gazing i
suspect ..

Its a wait and see game... nobody sure how serious it will be, im just carrying on as much as normal as i am healthy, not the same for others, but then again flu take thousands each winter.. we will all die of something
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
So many questions, and to some extent my guesses below are as good as yours.

The recent change in strategy has come because new calculations have emerged about what might happen if the virus "ran its course". With no action being taken, it would have affected the majority of us in a few months but completely overwhelm health and other resources. There would be a lot of suffering (including deaths) that should be preventable if new infections were happening sufficiently slowly. Hence actions to limit spread. But no one knows what actions would be sufficient, and probably some of those recommended will turn out to be excessive and others ineffective.

Once there is a vaccine the situation will change but realistically the time taken for development, testing and putting in production means that won't be until probably autumn 2021. That's a long time to maintain restrictions aimed at slowing infection rates.

Will it become a seasonal virus? I think it probably will, someone on this forum helpfully posted a link to an academic analysis showing all the places most affected have similar weather currently (temperature and humidity). Italy is an interesting test case since in a couple of months it will become a lot warmer. But one way and another we can expect next winter to be affected.

I don't think people will have much confidence about booking holidays of any sort for a while, but eventually confidence will return. Might be two years though.

Travel insurance companies will no doubt both raise premiums and tighten their T&Cs.

Ski resorts and businesses will take a real hit. Survival of some will be strongly dependant on what government support is available. And all those ambitious investments, like the proposed Morzine-Avoriaz link, will be moth-balled and probably shelved.

In 3-5 years' time most people will have acquired immunity through prior infection or vaccination, and Covid-19 will have joined the various flu strains as something health services need to deal with routinely every winter. The experts' opinions seem to be that coronaviruses are less prone to mutation than flu, so at that point may prove less of a risk though Covid-19 will continue to hit hard those in frail health.
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Just to speculate on one possible outcome: The fragility of airlines has been exposed by this and they will need to hike fares to remain profitable. This will take us back to 30 years ago, when I learnt to ski, and when the cost of the airfare was a big proportion of the holiday cost. Think £200 each way once the dust has settled. Car hire also used to be a big proportion of the cost - Last trip, I paid about £29/day for a Hertz AWD, so I think the car hire companies will take the opportunity to hike their prices under cover of pricey air fares and more expensive group transfers. Eurotunnel and ferries will hike their prices to match the cost of the fly-carhire alternatives. Accommodation? Well, I know a number of chalet owners who absolutely rely on almost full occupancy in the winter season to pay their mortgages: they'll lose around £40-60K this season, which they'll have to make up to pay the bank. Must be even worse for hotel owners. The nett effect will be to make skiing much more expensive in the short/medium-term. Now for some people, £800 before accommodation is neither here nor there, but for others, it'll be a big disincentive.

Some low resorts and/or those with only marginal profitability will see the pandemic as the Final Nail In The Coffin. If clients are going to fork out a lot just to be in a resort, then they'll want it to be as snow sure and extensive as possible. So only the big domains will survive. National governments will help out, but investing in industry and year-'round tourism is a much better bet than on Alpine resorts, with their high costs and limited seasons. So skiing will not be a priority target. The trend towards expanding the summer season will continue, driven also by global heating.

In all, skiing will go back 25 years or more, to when it was much more the sport of the affluent. And all of this is outside the effect we've seen in recent years, where younger people seem to be turning away from skiing as a sport.

ALl of this is speculation and I don't have a strong view on any of it, but thought it interesting to put up a strawman.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
LaForet wrote:
Just to speculate on one possible outcome: The fragility of airlines has been exposed by this and they will need to hike fares to remain profitable. This will take us back to 30 years ago, when I learnt to ski, and when the cost of the airfare was a big proportion of the holiday cost. Think £200 each way once the dust has settled. Car hire also used to be a big proportion of the cost - Last trip, I paid about £29/day for a Hertz AWD, so I think the car hire companies will take the opportunity to hike their prices under cover of pricey air fares and more expensive group transfers. Eurotunnel and ferries will hike their prices to match the cost of the fly-carhire alternatives. Accommodation? Well, I know a number of chalet owners who absolutely rely on almost full occupancy in the winter season to pay their mortgages: they'll lose around £40-60K this season, which they'll have to make up to pay the bank. Must be even worse for hotel owners. The nett effect will be to make skiing much more expensive in the short/medium-term. Now for some people, £800 before accommodation is neither here nor there, but for others, it'll be a big disincentive.

Some low resorts and/or those with only marginal profitability will see the pandemic as the Final Nail In The Coffin. If clients are going to fork out a lot just to be in a resort, then they'll want it to be as snow sure and extensive as possible. So only the big domains will survive. National governments will help out, but investing in industry and year-'round tourism is a much better bet than on Alpine resorts, with their high costs and limited seasons. So skiing will not be a priority target. The trend towards expanding the summer season will continue, driven also by global heating.

In all, skiing will go back 25 years or more, to when it was much more the sport of the affluent. And all of this is outside the effect we've seen in recent years, where younger people seem to be turning away from skiing as a sport.

ALl of this is speculation and I don't have a strong view on any of it, but thought it interesting to put up a strawman.


Unfortunately, you're correct. Margins are very tight for many businesses at the moment, relying upon high volume. Prices will need to increase to account for lower volume when this is over. Just a few weeks ago there was a comment on the radio that British Airways is just a flying pension fund. Not sustainable for even small hurdles in the long term unless prices increase.
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Schnorrr wrote:


Unfortunately, you're correct. Margins are very tight for many businesses at the moment, relying upon high volume. Prices will need to increase to account for lower volume when this is over. Just a few weeks ago there was a comment on the radio that British Airways is just a flying pension fund. Not sustainable for even small hurdles in the long term unless prices increase.


Aren't British Airways the one company not asking for airlines to receive any bail out - unlike Virgin, Easyjet. They sniff an opportunity. They've got cash reserves of £8.5bn so are hoping that this situation will sink a few of it's competitors. Which all stinks to be honest - reminds me of when BA essentially undercut Freddie Laker's low cost airline, knowing that he'd go out of business before them. At that point they could just put their prices back up.
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For skiing/airlines read food production we all want things on the cheap and most live hand to mouth to have luxuries now at a far younger age, businesses pay their bosses ludicrous salaries based on profits financed by over borrowing, well the chicken has come home to roost now, things will have to change but do people have the will to do it, if as I suspect( and hope ) this virus will not be as bad as feared the can will be kicked down the road as it was in 2008
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Maybe the Scottish Ski Resorts could expand by acquiring Lift equipment that could be bought for a Song from small European resorts that will have closed for good.
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@LaForet, good points

I'm also reminded of the number of older europeans who visit Ski resorts in winter, I think from the mountain spa tradition. I was always surprised when having breakfast in hotels with most of the guests 60 plus and not wearing Ski gear. Can see that market damaged as well, albeit the europeans can be quite traditional and might well plough on even if it wasn't a good idea.
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I'm more focused on the future of the kayaking industry at the moment. At least the ski industry had 3/4 of a season.
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The problem skiing faces is not the coronavirus. It is age. The profile of the average skiier is getting ever older, and action needs to be taken to widen the appeal again.

What that action is, I admittedly have no idea.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
8611 wrote:
not wearing Ski gear.


I never wear ski gear at breakfast. It's not comfortable as Austrian hotels, especially, are always too hot. I eat, then go to my room, clean teeth and change into ski gear. This is normal behaviour for a lot of people, not some weird "older European" thing. Laughing
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I don't mean wearing gear at breakfast (though I invariably do do that due to my "dog off the leash" approach to skiing), I mean not skiing at all. I think there's a tradition of just visiting Ski resort towns (the more traditional ones) but not to go skiing. Wasn't it called "taking the air" or something, ironically due to previous outbreaks, I think tb
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
My parents still 'ski' for a week in their eighties.
My mother doesn't ski but goes up the mountain for a walk and to take the the air. My father skied for about three hours on his last trip and otherwise followed my mother's pattern. As long as they are able (to get insurance) I can't see them changing this. I'm in my fifties and resemble the dog off the leash like @8611
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@LaForet,

Good post, unfortunately.

Btw it’s not a Strawman Argument as I understand it.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@agw, LaForet was referring to a Strawman proposal.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
So many variables. I think the ski industry will be massively at the mercy of how countries react after the bulk of the virus has been 'dealt with' and what shape the hospitality and airline industries are in. I definitely see costs rising, if only because service suppliers may be fewer so can charge a premium. However, with easyjet already selling winter 2020/21 flight for £25 each way, it looks like there may be some grabbing of cash to tide companies over through a lean summer.

On a personal level, I'll continue to look forward to a ski holiday - I'm 'owed' one since our April trip isn't going ahead - but I can quite easily see people changing their holidaying habits; visiting smaller resorts, not going for crowded apres, travelling when there's fewer people. Of course, this may just be a very short-term thing... we know how easily people forget about things and we're creatures of habit. It's all guesswork really.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Do we think prices will definitely go up? It's already borderline unaffordable for many people and a shock to people's wages may make them think twice about spunking a grand a person up the piste. I would have thought demand was sure to fall...
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Handy Turnip wrote:
- unlike Virgin, Easyjet. They sniff an opportunity.


+1

Branson will always look for state handouts, whilst raking in the profits. He wants his staff to take unpaid leave, but will still take his cut.

The Chancellor has offered loans to assist businesses. These 2 would like a bailout.

Any financial support to these airlines should be conditional upon Reduced salaries/bonuses/expenses to Directors, and certainly NO dividends to the owners until any financial support is repaid in full, and all monies due to Pension Funds have been paid.

I strongly believe that no profit sharing/bonuses/dividends/expenses should be paid by any Business until every penny due to pension funds is paid. This would prevent people like Richard Branson and Philip Green lining their pockets whilst employees lose their pensions.

Apologies, slightly off topic, rolling eyes
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well I hope I’m not too naive but I tend not to agree with all that is written, for one, we have short memories!
Over Brexit when sterling fell sharply that was the end for some, the financial crash in 08/09 was another death nell yet we truck on.
Airlines will bounce back, people will think of holidays again.
The mountains ave very beautiful and provide a great draw for many, making the best holiday of the year for some.
We will get thru this poo-poo but it may take a while and I sure next year will dominated by late booking holiday makers.
Stay safe and chin up
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Pastorius wrote:
Do we think prices will definitely go up? It's already borderline unaffordable for many people and a shock to people's wages may make them think twice about spunking a grand a person up the piste. I would have thought demand was sure to fall...


I'm not entirely sure. I suppose if there are fewer suppliers (chalets, hotels etc) then those who do make it through can charge the earth, or moreso than some do already.

We balked at having to pay £3000+ this year for a France trip so we went for Andorra butbarely managed to get it in under £2000 and that was without spending money. It's expensive for sure.

I can remember my first trip with Crystal to La Plague was £99 for accommodation, flights and transfer. How times have changed....
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I can't see that the current strategy means the virus is not going to be with us for some time. Probably until a vaccine is developed, and there are enough doses for widespread application, which could be a year or two. Meanwhile there may be repeated cycles of lockdowns being eased slightly, then reimposed if too many cases develop.

So for me the prospects for next, and perhaps the following, season (as well as all other holidays in that timescale) are not looking too good. Beyond that, once enough people either have a degree of immunity or are vaccinated,there is no reason why we can't return to something like normality. Mutations may lead to something like seasonal flu vaccination. There may be changes to compensation arrangements and/or insurance, and some smaller resorts and providers will pack up, so prices may increase.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
These are some good questions but I think they're as much about "holiday travel" as "ski holidays". As for insurance, the only important bit is cover for accidents and illness - it doesn't make financial sense, over a period, to insure against losses you can afford to bear yourself and by definition we can all meet the cost of a ski holiday. And when it comes to accidents and illness, a lot of serious expenditure for hospital treatment in Europe is covered by the excellent EHIC scheme.

Oh... just wait a minute .....!
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BoardieK wrote:
I'm more focused on the future of the kayaking industry at the moment. At least the ski industry had 3/4 of a season.

You mean spring white water, I presume?

Yeah, that could really hurt.
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Specialman wrote:
Pastorius wrote:
Do we think prices will definitely go up? It's already borderline unaffordable for many people and a shock to people's wages may make them think twice about spunking a grand a person up the piste. I would have thought demand was sure to fall...


I'm not entirely sure. I suppose if there are fewer suppliers (chalets, hotels etc) then those who do make it through can charge the earth, or moreso than some do already.

We balked at having to pay £3000+ this year for a France trip so we went for Andorra butbarely managed to get it in under £2000 and that was without spending money. It's expensive for sure.

I can remember my first trip with Crystal to La Plague was £99 for accommodation, flights and transfer. How times have changed....


Colour me jealous! 99 quid, I'm almost angry at you that's so cheap!!

I suppose you've hit the crux of it, if too many resorts fold then we're in for price increases for the remaining resorts. I don't know about the economics of these things, I wonder how much they make from the months that got cancelled this season.

Also a good point is that this is likely going to come back around this winter. All the coping strategies are simply about keeping numbers as low as possible and predict a huge peak next winter.
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No the whole point is to try and get herd immunity before the "normal"winter issues arise
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I vaguely recall a conversation I had a few years ago about the huge investment that Compagnie des Alpes (owner of some of the biggest highest resorts in France) where making as they believe then had 10 years to make their brands (resorts) the most well known and prominent on the basis that most lower level resorts and less famous would close. Maybe Corvid-19 will accelerate the process.
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Since becoming semi retired over ten years ago I have been fortunate enough to take on average four separate ski trip a season predominantly with Snoworks and Freshtracks. Because certain of those trips are very popular, I usually book my trips early in July and August for the next season.

Even if the coronavirus situation improves, at this point I cannot see myself having the confidence to making that sort of commitment in the coming summer months for the 2020/21 season, so will be leaving any bookings to nearer the date. That means that there may not be places available but that is the chance I am willing to take.

If there lots of others who take the same approach, that could be a big problem for the tour companies. They may well take the view that more people will book at the last minute, but it could put them at risk when committing to accommodation providers and the guides involved as well,
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
robs1 wrote:
No the whole point is to try and get herd immunity before the "normal"winter issues arise


That's not going to happen - the original plan was to get herd immunity until they worked out that would kill 250,000 people, now we've changed tack to trying to keep the numbers down as far as possible so at not to overwhelm the NHS. This has the effect of pushing the peak back until about next winter.
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Pastorius wrote:
That's not going to happen - the original plan was to get herd immunity until they worked out that would kill 250,000 people, now we've changed tack to trying to keep the numbers down as far as possible so at not to overwhelm the NHS. This has the effect of pushing the peak back until about next winter.
Can't see the whole country on lockdown until then. What would be the point, there would be so much unemployment, unrest, likely looting and rioting too. Just look at the state at the moment with loo rolls.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We'll settle down into a new normal. People can't panic buy for 9 months.

Either way, that wasn't really my point! My point was the government strategy has abandoned the herd immunity angle for about a week now - which equates to about 5 years in covid-19 terms!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Pastorius wrote:
We'll settle down into a new normal. People can't panic buy for 9 months.

Either way, that wasn't really my point! My point was the government strategy has abandoned the herd immunity angle for about a week now - which equates to about 5 years in covid-19 terms!!


They haven't abandoned anything, the plan was always to allow it to spread unchecked untill it hits a certain number then hit the pause button by shutting schools
pubs etc to allow the nhs to deal with serious cases but all the time to try and get vulnerable people to stay in isolation so those most likely to have serious risk of dying dont catch it.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The reality is I don't see the public staying indoors until next winter in a curfew situation, it may save some people but will impose huge damage to the whole of society, a balance needs to be made.
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At present in the UK there is no requirement to stay indoors, just to avoid "closer than 2m" contact with other people. So people can still go to open countryside, parks, or beaches. But if they don't exercise some self-discipline, and insist on joining existing crowds in those places, further restrictions are likely to be imposed.
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robs1 wrote:
Pastorius wrote:
We'll settle down into a new normal. People can't panic buy for 9 months.

Either way, that wasn't really my point! My point was the government strategy has abandoned the herd immunity angle for about a week now - which equates to about 5 years in covid-19 terms!!


They haven't abandoned anything, the plan was always to allow it to spread unchecked untill it hits a certain number then hit the pause button by shutting schools
pubs etc to allow the nhs to deal with serious cases but all the time to try and get vulnerable people to stay in isolation so those most likely to have serious risk of dying dont catch it.


I mean, I don't know what to tell you other than that's simply no longer the case. That was the original plan but it was swiftly abandoned, about a day after they announced it because of the study from Imperial that showed it would result in a quarter of a million deaths. The current plan is suppression, not herd immunity.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/new-data-new-policy-why-uks-coronavirus-strategy-has-changed

This strategy means that at some point in the future, the virus will resurface when the curfews are lifted.
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brianatab wrote:
Handy Turnip wrote:
- unlike Virgin, Easyjet. They sniff an opportunity.


+1

Branson will always look for state handouts, whilst raking in the profits. He wants his staff to take unpaid leave, but will still take his cut.

The Chancellor has offered loans to assist businesses. These 2 would like a bailout.

Any financial support to these airlines should be conditional upon Reduced salaries/bonuses/expenses to Directors, and certainly NO dividends to the owners until any financial support is repaid in full, and all monies due to Pension Funds have been paid.

I strongly believe that no profit sharing/bonuses/dividends/expenses should be paid by any Business until every penny due to pension funds is paid. This would prevent people like Richard Branson and Philip Green lining their pockets whilst employees lose their pensions.

Apologies, slightly off topic, rolling eyes


Totall agree with this. Astounding that a business would ask for a hand out on one and and then seek to use that money to pay their shareholders.
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Pastorius wrote:


I mean, I don't know what to tell you other than that's simply no longer the case. That was the original plan but it was swiftly abandoned, about a day after they announced it because of the study from Imperial that showed it would result in a quarter of a million deaths. The current plan is suppression, not herd immunity.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/new-data-new-policy-why-uks-coronavirus-strategy-has-changed

This strategy means that at some point in the future, the virus will resurface when the curfews are lifted.


I'm not sure the Guardian has this right or their article is unclear. The strategy is "flattening". The areas under the chart are the same, for infections, but you reduce the deaths somewhat by keeping the infection rate at what hospitals can cope with. In the end everyone probably gets it unless you can suppress to a point where the virus dies out. The risk is everyone starves to death or dies in a Mad Max type civil war instead because the economy collapses.

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Sorry but the guardian will just take any stance that is opposed to Boris, all shutting down the country will do is delay the deaths, unless the shutdown is done at the right moment to slow the spread, the hard part and where the disagreements are is when that moment is. The government is trying to get the vulnerable to self isolate so it can spread among those who it is a minor infection, this will save many lives but only if the vulnerable lock themselves away.
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@robs1,
Quote:

, all shutting down the country will do is delay the deaths,

Argh - No it won't - what do you think the significance of the red dotted line is on the graph?
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FrediKanoute wrote:


Totall agree with this. Astounding that a business would ask for a hand out on one and and then seek to use that money to pay their shareholders.


If only everything was black or white. Some of those shareholders are pension funds who need the money to pay out pensions. No point in stopping pensioners from dying from the virus if they starve or freeze to death.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sun 22-03-20 14:00; edited 1 time in total
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