The way I see it (correct me if I’m wrong any of you scientific Munguinites) but this virus can be spread by droplets of saliva. These pass out of your mouth into the air as you speak. They are more pronounced when you use certain hard sounds like, for example, “P”s “B”s “Q”s and “T”s, and much more pronounced if you cough or sneeze.

Right, so, if you have a mask on, some of these droplets will be retained in the material instead of being blasted towards someone else’s face, or indeed onto something that they might then touch. And even those that get through are likely to be slowed down and deflected.

So wearing a mask is largely a courtesy to other people. Sadly, unfortunately, some people lack courtesy.

By the same token, if you are talking to someone face to face, being 2 metres away from them means that the droplets are likely to have fallen to the ground before they get to your interlocutor.

Being 1 metre away increases by, I imagine, a considerable amount, the likelihood that the droplets will land on whomsoever you are talking to.

Nicola Sturgeon speaks out about Dominic Cummings | The Scotsman

When Pennington suggests that the reasons for the differences in the Cummings and Sturgeon governments’ policies are political, I’m inclined to agree. I imagine that both governments want to get business up and running as a matter of some urgency…don’t we all? But Mr Cummings is prepared to take greater risks with human life in order to achieve his goal.

Anyway, I’m not sure that Hugh Pennington can be called much of an expert. As I understand it he is long retired from his job as a bacteriologist and now acts as a political pundit for the right/unionist camp.

Oh, and isn’t COVID-19 a VIRUS?


What a despicable piece of **** the UK prime minister is:

Today’s smile:



  1. Tris,
    You have forgotten the wind, If I’m downwind of you your droplets can carry.
    I watched an old SNP political broadcast with the actors outside Glasgow university on a cold day. Their breath was carried over a metre with NO wind.
    There’s no science that I’ve seen but I do believe the further away reduces the carry between people.
    The problems are that a nose wipe and touch a surface passes it on, we don’t have information how long it remains active. Body fluids, touch and pass on.
    It seems to pass readily between people in confined places, workplaces like Meat processing areas, transport, schools, hospitals and care homes. Outdoors seems to not have many reports.
    Containment,test and isolate seems to be the way to reduce transmission.
    Today,Bournemouth beach was well used.
    The englanders appear to think the virus pandemic is over.
    I’ve seen bars where the staff have wet hands from drinks being put in glasses, handle money.
    Keep safe.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep, you’re right Dave. I missed the wind.

      I just can’t see how you can manage people in a pub, especially when they’ve had a few and forget to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, bang into each other, chat each other up, sneak a drunken cuddle and kiss.

      Mind you, who am I to argue with the Tories?

      Did I go to Eton? Nope. Did I go to Oxford? Nope.

      Well, what would I know?

      Liked by 3 people

  2. In terms of social distancing,2m is noticeably greater than 1m and much more likely to keep people apart.
    Others have asked the question as to why HM press in Scotland always go to a long retired scientist who was not a virologist rather than someone who is and whose skills are current.
    More to do with politics than science,in that respect,Pennington is correct.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes. I mean, I’m assuming that the government in Edinburgh is taking scientific advice from people with some qualifications in virology.

      I wonder who the Eton government is taking its advice from… Oh yeah, silly me, Mr Cummings!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The people now dredged up to fight for the union are to be kind, a bit past it or totally bonkers. His expertise is not on any virus but on germs. If anyone want to pay me for my knowledge of nuclear sciences I am available.*

    * May not make sense.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. * I get your drift.

      I think the thing is that old Hugh can be pretty much guaranteed to say something disparaging about Scotland and the Scottish government and to support the British government to the hilt, even when he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. There are plenty of scientific reasons to keep the 2m rule in some circumstances. There are also scientific reasons to relax it in other circumstances. The problem with a nuanced answer is that it’s hard to communicate and hard to remember. If we were really following the science we’d all be issued with flow chart printouts, measuring tapes and anenometers and made to go on a crash course in fluid dynamics.

    I’ve not enjoyed seeing governments hide behind science. Scientific advisors present options and predict outcomes, while governments make policy choices. What we see today is governments cowardly pretending their choices are actually someone else’s so they have someone to blame if it all goes wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. I can see that. Just as I think we have all accepted that being outside is safer than being inside.

      I walked down the road with a friend the other day and we talked… outside… with a meter between us (otherwise one of us would have been in the middle of the road.

      We looked ahead not at each other.

      That seemed reasonable to me.

      But I wouldn’t sit across a table from her with only 3 ft between us.

      In a pub, who is responsible for keeping people a metre apart? Especially w2hen they’ve had 5 pints!!!

      Oh well, I suppose I’d better get myself booked on one of these fluid dynamics courses.

      I hope they run them outdoors and out of the wind!


      Liked by 2 people

    2. Or we could keep it simple, and go with the most strict rules needed:

      2M separation at all times.

      All people inside a building to wear face masks.

      Make those rules non-optional and things would go so much smoother.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. We could try that. I’ve hardly seen anyone wearing masks recently. It is of course a mark huge disrespect for your fellow humans, but what the hell.

        It doesn’t help that Scottish editions of English newspapers and of course the BBC and ITV and I assume Sky, cover the English news, so some people actually think they are doing the right thing, following what they read in the Sun or the Mail. The Times headline today was a disgrace.

        Of course the BBC in Scotland cut the First Minister’s press conference to go to the London one run by whichever of the underlings gets sent out today.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I remember Sky cutting off from the FM to show rabb walking into Downing Street when the doris was in ITU, no information was passed to the camera.
          The point was, of course, what was happening in london was more important.
          Cut to the adverts.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. The thing is that what is happening in London as far as this is concerned, is about as important to Scots as what is happening in Montevideo.

            But at least with Uruguay, people would understand that it doesn’t apply to them. With London, not so much.


        2. I called out someone a few days ago in Tesco for not wearing a mask – After I walked away I wanted to call them a fucking Tory, because they obviously didn’t care about anyone but themselves.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. An equally correct headline would be that there is NO scientific reason for England to abandon the 2 M rule.
    There is NO scientific reason for Scotland to abandon the 2M rule.

    I’m not at all being critical of Prof Sir Hugh Pennington’s analysis of the current science on social distancing, but there is a clear political bias in his recommendations for action based on that science. Why should Nicola change just because Boris has changed? Its implicit in his thinking that Nicola is the one who is out of step here, when its clear that its Boris who has altered his position as a result of political pressure rather than as a result of anything in the evolving science.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can’t help feeling that big business (and their Donations to the Tories) is partly behind the rush from Cummings and the Tories to reopen businesses.

      I heard some bloke with a chain of hotels being interviewed a few weeks ago on “Hard Talk” on the World Service. He seemed utterly unmoved by the possibility of his staff having to work with people in his hotels. serving, cleaning, receptioning, carrying luggage, running pools and what have you, and very much more concerned that he was losing money.

      Pennington seems to be available for a nasty comment about the Scottish government on any subject, not only one which is tangentially connected with his once area of expertise.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The hallmark of Johnson’s political career has been to evade or pass on responsibility to others.
    The escape from lockdown passes the responsibility for public health safety to the individual,which fits with Tory ideology as well as Johnson’s instincts for ducking and diving.
    When things,inevitably go pear shaped,he will blame people for their own shortCummings rather than his administrations’ policies.
    England has got what England voted for but let’s hope we don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Re your earlier comment tris, I am just back, wearing gloves and a mask, from a large supermarket, and only saw one other person wearing a mask. O.K it wasn’t very busy, and maybe it’s my age, but it seems to me people are becoming somewhat cavalier in their attitude, to what after all, is a deadly virus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Alex.

      They are horrible things, I accept, and they don;t do a great deal, I’m told, to protect the wearer, but this stuff is serious.

      And some people just refuse to see it.


  8. I believe that in a Japanese trial (unfortunately lost the link) the chances of becoming infected with Covid19 at 2m was 3%, at 1m it was 13%, a multiplier of 433%. Not great odds.
    Independent SAGE – “warns that it is not safe to relax social distancing rules for indoor settings and that the government’s proposal to reduce to 1m will ‘effectively end’ social distancing in Britain (sic)”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. These are amazing figures from the Japanese trial.

      As for the SAGE advice, it seems then that the Scottish government continues to follow the advice of science (Mr Pennington excluded) , while the English government is following the advice of Mr Weatherspoon-Pub… or as I saw on Twitter… Neverspoon (as the writer pointed out hat he will never entre one again).


  9. Conflicting advice and guidance, conflicting mainstream media reportage, misinformation spread by social media… all have characterised the pandemic from the beginning. For me, the most sensible and reliable source is Private Eye and its ‘MD’ columnist. The latest issue has a comprehensive spread on the scientific errors that have been so widespread.

    I was going to cut and paste from the online edition but it doesn’t have the full text. Go and buy the latest Private Eye. MD’s contribution alone is worth the two quid outlay. And you’ll get a lot of laughs as well as investigative journalism stories you’ll never see in the Murdoch rags or the Torygraph.

    Here’s a sample from MD apropos earlier comments: “The highest risk environments are enclosed with a high density of people. The virus travels in droplets of fluid. A single cough produces 3,000 droplets releasing 200 million virus droplets at 50mph. Heavy droplets fall to the floor or surfaces. Others travel up to 2m but if you’re less than 2m away for less than 15 minutes the risk is low.

    “Successful infection = exposure to virus x time. If in doubt, wear a clean mask and handle it hygienically. Know your numbers. Healthy under-45s are at much less personal risk of harm, even at 1m, and schoolchildren are at tiny personal risk.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. He’s not on the Independent SAGE group either. Their website is very informative, but a depressing read.
    I don’t think that John Robertson (of The Tusker) is enamoured of Pennington either. His Not-Pennington Profile series make interesting, but yet again depressing, reading.
    Have taken to reading an illustrated 1865 print of Don Quixote for light relief. Don Quixote de La Mancha being slightly less mad than those ‘handling’ this pandemic in Westminster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure that in his time Pennington was a bacteriologist of some note. But he seems to have been long retired and with the best will in the world you don’t keep up to date 100%. Plus this is a virus.

      He’s also endangered having his opinions taken seriously by being so violently anti-Scottish government.

      Even if this were bacteriological, you would still wonder whether his opinion was driven by science or by his hatred of the SNP.


    2. Oh, enjoy Quixote!

      I was going to try to plough through The Iliad (albeit in English) but it reminded me too much of Johnson, so I’m re reading Richard Hoggart’s, The Uses of Literacy.

      That’s hard enough for me.


  11. I don’t want to relax the 2m recommendation as I am partially deaf and rely a fair bit on lip-reading. This means no mask and being face to face are what I need to understand what other folk are saying.
    It’s quite worrying about the figures suggesting how far droplets can carry when speaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That must make it much more difficult.

      My neighbour is in the same situation adn he just can’t understand unless he can see lips. I try to stand well back and talk loudly, but it doesn’t always work.

      Take very great care.

      Liked by 1 person

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