Susan Michie, a professor at University College London and a member of the Communist Party of Britain, stated that she believes face masks should be worn indefinitely in an interview with Channel 5. Michie is an advisor at the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a government body that advises London in times of national emergencies, including the present coronavirus pandemic.
In the interview, Michie stated that there are three essential components of pandemic control. The first component is vaccines. The second is testing, tracing, isolating, and implementing border control systems. The third is people’s behavior.
“That is the behavior of social distancing, of when you’re indoors, making sure there’s good ventilation or if it’s not, wearing face masks, of hands and surface hygiene. We will need to keep this going in the long term and that will be good not only for Covid, but also to reduce other diseases,” she said in the interview. When Michie was asked what her definition of “long-term” was, she replied, “I think forever, to some extent.”
When asked if she believed people could continue living with social distancing and face masks, Michie argued that people now routinely wear seat belts even though they never used to. The professor added that people can get used to face masks just like they are now used to carrying tissues and phones. “It’s not going to be a huge big deal the kind of changes we’re talking about,” she said.
Michie, who was reportedly nicknamed “Stalin’s nanny” during her youth, has a brother who was best friends with Labor strategist Seumas Milne, a well-known Stalin apologist. She was married to Andrew Murray, a Labor Party official, from 1981 to 1997.
Michie has been a member of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) for over four decades. The party has a fraternal relationship with communist parties in China, Lao, Cuba, and Vietnam. CPB is also affiliated with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, a British organization that campaigns against the US embargo placed on Cuba.
In April, Michie wrote an article asking for more restrictions in Britain and “maximum suppression” of the virus worldwide. In an open letter, geneticist Professor Antony Brooks from Leicester University called her views “nonsense” and suggested ending the lockdown restrictions.
“If we continue with such stringent lockdown and suppression measures, the really nasty mutations of SARS-CoV-2 (which will always be out there – and likewise for all the other respiratory viruses) will be selected over the regular strains… Instead of keeping us safe, her plan could help these strains to emerge and spread into dominance,” Brooks said, as reported by The Telegraph.
In an interview with the BBC, UK health Secretary Matt Hancock stated that the government was “absolutely open” to the idea of extending the lockdown if necessary. London had earlier planned on lifting all lockdown restrictions on June 21.
Hancock stated that the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, first detected in India in December 2020, is making the decision to lift the lockdown “more challenging.” The Delta variant is around 40 percent more transmissible than the UK Alpha strain, according to Hancock.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently told the BBC that the government must be “cautious” with the lockdown issue. “What I can certainly say is we are looking at the data, continuing to do that, but what you can certainly take is… the roadmap was always cautious but irreversible, and in order to have an irreversible roadmap, we’ve got to be cautious,” Johnson stated. The government is considering delaying the lockdown end date by up to four weeks.
Meanwhile, David Livermore, a medical microbiology professor at the University of East Anglia and a member of the Health Advisory & Recovery Team, believes that the lockdown has been a “failed experiment.”
In an interview with NTD, Livermore said that the lockdown should have been lifted weeks ago since the number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) is “dramatically down.” He believes that the virus is here to stay.
“The society therefore should return to normal because the costs of lockdown are massive. They’re massive for the economy, they’re massive for people’s mental health. Lockdowns are incredibly destructive… I think that lockdowns are a massive failed experiment and an incredibly expensive one,” Livermore said.