This afternoon, some folk are wondering if perhaps Celtic should not be more proactive and lead the line from football in Scotland by demanding a timetable on the return of the fans to the stadiums. The sentiment is perfectly understandable.
We lead the game here.
We are its biggest club, and as far as the lockout of the fans goes we are far and away the biggest losers. Oh we won’t be the worst affected – we all know another Glasgow team will be harder hit, by far – but we’ll lose the most money.
But on this one, we should simply wait and see, because there’s really no point in stomping our feet here and making demands which no-one might be in any position to meet.
There is still so much uncertainty around this situation.
The basic problem here comes down to simple maths.
Even if Omicron is half as likely to put you in hospital, that advantage is negated, completely, if it’s even twice as transmissible because in that scenario you end up with more people seriously ill than if this thing was Delta.
If this thing is three times more transmissible you can see where we have a situation.
All the data on virulence looks good. Hell, it looks better than good. It’s possible that this thing might sweep through the whole population without doing serious harm. But if it’s putting people in hospitals, even overnight, at any kind of rate and if it’s forcing people to self-isolate in huge numbers because of how easily it spreads, society still takes a major hit.
The X factors are how high the peak is and when it comes. I repeat what I’ve said before; I’m optimistic. For reasons I’ve written about previously, we’re not getting the huge spikes which were forecast when this thing was discovered and started circling the world. But the numbers are still too high for us to feel completely like we’ve gotten off the hook.
I think the data will show us that we’re not going to get high casualty figures here. If they do end up showing that, I think further restrictions will be very hard to justify come the review in a couple of weeks.
But that could still go the other way and instead of making demands Celtic should simply wait and see.
I’ll tell you this; the government will need to work damned hard to explain itself if this spite isn’t translating into serious illnesses and they still attempt to shut down football fans without imposing restrictions on other areas of the economy.
Here, in Scotland, we’ve been more understanding and supportive of government policy than the public has been in England and with good reason. I agreed with restrictions of some sort when Omicron was discovered, on the proviso that we just didn’t know how bad it might be. The jury on that one is almost in.
But the stupid comments from Jason Leitch and John Swinney about how they plucked the 500 figure out of thin air instead of calculating it on any sort of scientific basis have completely undermined their credibility with large swathes of the population.
To say that their handling of football has been botched is a mammoth understatement.
So for now, Celtic just needs to sit and wait.
The time for speaking out might well come soon enough, and if it does we’ll have done it by using the science ourselves. If the government winds up on the wrong side of that, then we’re in a whole different ball game.