UNTIL I read Ian R Mitchell’s letter (“Beware the sleep of reason in our response to coronavirus”, September 15), I wondered if I was the only person in Scotland pondering those thoughts.

For me, the period 1968/69 included my first year at university. Perhaps I spent too much time drinking in the union bar, but despite 30,000 or more people in the UK dying from it, I have little recollection of the Hong Kong ‘Flu pandemic.

For me, my memories of the 1960s are book-ended by sitting up with my father to watch the first trans-Atlantic TV transmissions via the Telstar satellite in 1962, and the moon landings, seven years later.

These were also spiced with other events, such as the Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy’s assassination, Churchill’s funeral, my first sustained periods of paid employment, along with the other occasions alluded to by Mr Mitchell.

I suspect that the differences in the way in which we reacted to the two pandemics probably have to do with people 50 years or so ago regarding it as more a matter of pot luck whether they were infected or not.

Furthermore, there are probably many more people who perceive themselves to be at increased risk – the proportion of frail elderly in the population is likely to be considerably larger, and there will be more folk whose immune systems have been depressed to varying extent by virtue of being transplant recipients, various cancer chemotherapies, and sundry immunomodulating treatments for chronic inflammatory disorders as well as diabetes and obesity.

Lastly, the shutting down of just about all distractions such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, sports venues and places of worship mean that we have more time to be consumers of rolling 24 hour news coverage.

Fifty years ago, we just had to make do with the morning and evening newspapers, and twice-daily or so radio/TV coverage. on a limited number of channels.

Christopher W. Ide,


East Renfrewshire.

A FINE collection of letters in the Herald regarding the Covid-19 virus in which your correspondents compared death rates from the virus to death rates from non-Covid illness, and by and large all agreed that the latter was far and away more worrying.

The letter from Ian R Mitchell was particularly well researched and his statistics made sober reading for many who have had their treatments for non-Covid issues put on hold with no immediate prospect of a resumption.

In fact, getting a face-to-face appointment with the doctor is nigh on impossible, as is a visit to the dentist.

It really is time for government to realise that Covid is just another risk of life, albeit a new and nasty one, but not one that should take preference over other health risks that kill far more of our citizens.

Of course loss of life is the overriding consideration but mental health issues, the education of our children and not wrecking our economy also come high on the agenda of consequences our current emphasis on Covid-19 has unfortunately affected negatively.

Perhaps it is time to stop being led by scientists who rarely agree on anything and start applying common sense based on the stark numbers.

James Martin,


SO, let me try to get this right.

We, the public have been asked and ordered throughout this pandemic to obey all rules dictated by government.

In general, the public have followed these demands and tried their best to keep the virus at bay. In return for their compliance, it is surely only right that those handing down these life-disrupting rules should show some degree of competence.

From the start of the pandemic this competence has, far too often, been sadly lacking, the latest example being the current testing debacle.

It would appear that while the public again seem to be being blamed and persecuted for recent rises in coronavirus cases, governments in the UK constantly seem to accept no blame whatsoever for their many mistakes.

Perhaps a future public enquiry will lay some blame at the doors of those responsible for these errors.

However, I’m not holding my breath. I suspect that the buckets of whitewash and brushes are already in storage.

Dave Henderson

Glasgow G12