James Cook repeats the same one-sided and evidence-free thinking about gyms re-opening early

James Cook brings ‘Fair and Balanced’ reporting back from the US!

This morning, repeatedly, BBC Scotland’s James Cook rehashes the confused case for gyms re-opening ahead of the Scottish Government’s schedule.

The report is entirely one-sided, allowing the trade to suggest that indoor physical exercise has a key role in saving us from mental health problems.

The evidence? What gym-owners say. They’re gym-owners! They must know if it’s safe or not. And, and, pubs are open! So, you want people to drink but not get fit? What sort of policy is that?

That whole ‘if pubs can open why not gyms‘ argument is so infantile.

‘Why can’t I go an play in the river? James gets to and he can’t swim either. It’s just not fair!

Cook is not alone in this campaign to pressurise Scotland into following its larger, more heavily infected and lethal neighbour, into earlier lock-down exit on behalf of business interests. Conservative & Unionist MSP Adam Tomkins has an online petition and Herald writer Graeme Macpherson has also made the confused pubs or gyms case.

Note that Cook does not ask why, with deaths still happening there and new infections surging, England’s gyms have opened?

If you don’t think for a minute, you might agree with him but, do think. When you are exercising vigorously you cannot help but gasp for breath, in and out, projecting a plume of droplets for at least two metres and, a massive spray of aerosols, unaffected by gravity, for far further distances.

I’m no scientist but I would not go anywhere near a gym.

In a pub, sitting comfortably, you might after a few drinks project your voice a bit more than is desirable in the circumstances but the plume will be much smaller.

Now, if Cook had made the case for pubs closing again, I might agree with him. That would be fair to the gyms, wouldn’t it?

Is this just my opinion? Is there science which the Scottish Government is following? Yes:

During 24 days in Cheonan, South Korea, 112 persons were infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 associated with fitness dance classes at 12 sports facilities. Intense physical exercise in densely populated sports facilities could increase risk for infection. Vigorous exercise in confined spaces should be minimized during outbreaks.


So, Mr Cook, zero deaths in Scotland for a whole month now. How many would you be comfortable with to score a point over the Scottish Government? Ten? More? When you decide, let me know and cc professors Sridhar and Bauld.

6 thoughts on “James Cook repeats the same one-sided and evidence-free thinking about gyms re-opening early

  1. A friend’s son was an avid gym-goer pre-Covid-19 even going so far as to change gyms because he could park closer to the new gym. (Aye, I know, I know)

    During lockdown no gym so daily walk and/or cycle ride instead. Guess what? He found he was just as fit and had the added benefit of enjoying fresh air with no parking problems and, big plus, saving lots of money once spent on gym fees and petrol to get there and back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I retained my university gym membership, mainly because there is a pool and it had squash courts. My main sports were football (outdoor), running and cycling, but the toll the former two took on my knees and ankles over the years, meant that I moved to cycling most days and a couple of swims. If it is icy, then I use the gym more often. However, since I have managed to keep myself fit during lockdown with cycling, walking and yoga, I will reconsider if I need the gym membership.

      To be fair to the university gym they have sent us regular newsletters, explaining the public health necessity for the closure , providing exercise videos and, more recently, preparations for gradual reopening with physical distancing. There have been NO demands for reopening in the newsletters. Of course, many of those dealing with the epidemic are members of the university and have gym memberships!


      1. I also have membership of a University’s sports facilities. The University in question offers Community membership so that is what I have. I only use the swimming pool but not sure what I shall do when it re-opens. In the meantime I have gone for a walk every day since lockdown started.


  2. Suggest said fellow arrange with his buddies in crime to arrange with a gym owner to open up.for his little band of amigos
    All in order to exercise on the various pieces of equipment for a min of 90 mins
    And no more than 1 m.distant
    Then the brave wee soul shall be putting
    His money where his mouth is
    Wealth before Health
    No matter what
    Run a crowd funding campaign to run their little jolly
    The more raised then a excellent chance you could get most of the ABC Snr.staff
    To have a whale of a time and make a great documentary for little or no expense
    And set a very fine example to those stupid people advising and running Scotlands response to the pandemic
    Rooth the mooth should be invited along
    Not just to front the jolly but espouse as much hot air possible far and wide as she pants furiously
    Hire a Tank for approp.photo ops
    Plaster the whole place in Union Jacks
    But all must be flown Upside Down
    Now i ask
    Tis it is I who is crazy
    Possibly Mr.Cook
    Either way a nurse is reqd.urgently and kindly bring along a straight jacket
    But if for Mr.Cook a needle would be of more benifit


  3. Now we know with certainty that aerosol transmission is possible and may account for half of all infections, gyms are insane. The 2m rule is no longer applicable. Masks would need to be surgical standard and would people even wear an ordinary mask in a gym.
    It is even more insane when so far there has been no focus on air filtering systems which are almost certain to be a new common focus in prevention especially in schools. From what i gather, they are already working on this in the US but i haven’t heard anything about it here. Apparently it is relativity easy and cheap to adjust to an existing system.
    source: https://twitter.com/DrEricDing

    Liked by 2 people

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