Stop using words like ‘balance’ to justify a policy of mass infection, avoidable deaths, and chronic illness. This was never about balance.

First published: December 2021.

A bit fed up with hearing media and government suggest COVID-19 policy changes in July were a ‘balancing act’. Can somebody explain to me what the balance is in removing mask mandates that don’t cost the economy, but save lives? They may even help the economy if people feel safer going out.

And if the ‘balance’ is with our freedoms, it is very clear from polls at that time that most people supported a continuation of mask use in all those settings. So is the argument for balance that people dying help the economy? Because otherwise I really don’t understand this.

So please, stop using words like ‘balance’ to justify a policy of mass infection, avoidable deaths, and chronic illness. This was never about balance. It was always about ideologies that don’t value the lives or health of vulnerable, and disadvantaged people.

And about a government that never valued our NHS or healthcare workers who are burnt out and exhausted because of this shambles.

Can the media please stop swallowing this and start challenging this narrative that does not even hold up to basic scrutiny? The media has played a big role in normalising what has been allowed to happen by citing the ‘balance’ argument again and again. Please stop.

And scientists: the next time you are asked if our libertarian policy gamble paid off – please, please, just look at basic comparative stats of cumulative deaths, long COVID, and pressure on the NHS before even vaguely endorsing a policy that has been deadly for many and horrific for many vulnerable people who have been pushed back into shielding. Please listen to their voices too. And children, among whom long COVID numbers have doubled in a matter of months...

Also, remember that it is the failure to implement these basic public health measures that ultimately lead to the lockdowns the government says it is trying to avoid – and those lockdowns do affect people’s livelihoods and the economy, in a ways masks and other basic measures don’t!

PMP Magazine


Dr Deepti Gurdasani, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, Statistical Genetics, Machine Learning, Queen Mary University of London.

  • Text: This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 13 December 2021 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.
  • Cover: Flickr/Number 10 – Tim Hammond. - PM Boris Johnson, Health Secretary Sajid Javid and the Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance. | 2 December 2021. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)
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