he lockdown-busting wedding party of some 400 guests in north London has been seized by some upon as emblematic of public failure to abide by social distancing and, by extension, the worsening situation in hospital wards. The public, in other words, is being blamed, implicitly or not, for the spike in suffering and deaths witnessed in recent weeks, notwithstanding some tentative signs of improvement.
There have certainly been some egregious examples of anti-social-distancing behaviour, but holding the general public responsible for some sort of wanton disregard for human life – of others if not their own – seems a misunderstanding.
A substantial section of the population, especially older and more vulnerable people, are already voluntarily observing self-isolation regimes that are more restrictive than the government’s rules. Polling shows some support for tougher, longer lockdowns, rather than the reverse.