The subject matter of this article is very clear despite it not being even mentioned in the title! - What else could it be than Covid-19 and the UK Government's hsambolic and sometimes criminally inept response.
Once again, and almost 12 months since last putting pen to paper, an old friend of unionsafety and a retired Chemist by trade, questions the actions of our Government in dealing with the Covid pandemic.
Having long retired but still known within the scientific community, he wishes to remain anonymous. Nevertheless, his words are no less valid for wishing to remain retired and, incognito, as it were:
It is almost a year now since we were aware of a localised infection somewhere in a remote city in China- and as time moved on given a whole set of tragic circumstances, the local and apparently controlled infection had now spread it’s way out of China and across several countries, then onto the world stage with the awful circumstances we now have as a way of life.
You may recall that I wrote two articles during the early part of 2020 explaining what this virus was, and enough of a picture as to how it affects us all- I don’t think I stayed away from certain observations and criticisms surrounding the administration and measures that would be needed to to combat the virus, even at these early stages.
I trust that readers are now well aware of the facts surrounding it all-and the facts and the exacerbation of circumstances that moved along with the pandemic , as it became to be known almost fill one with horror and puzzlement as to how we here- and in fact where are we up to?!
The saga of the virus is well documented by this stage, and mutant strains , the dialectic over testing, and the rights or wrongs of so called track and trace, and most of all the money spent on these items, together with faulty or inadequate PPE, and so forth, culminating in the most horrendous cases of suffering and sadly mortality on a huge scale (at the time of writing the death rates have exceeded 100,000).
The vaccine efficacy and the accompanying confusion surrounding it is an extremely emotive and various arguments have arisen as to whether it is necessary and will it resolve the immunity requirements- space does not permit a full expo of the subject here, but , it remains an open book for all!
There is now prior to and leading up to an inquiry and including questions to be asked of politicians, medics and scientists; a need for answers, or at least some form of explanation.
When you cast a wide www net you will find numerous reports and opinions, and being one that does so I find that a selective process exists- so the progress of the infection has been covered by the BMJ/BMA/HSJ and no doubt familiar to all.
One particular report drew my attention, and it accurately covers the ongoing situation, it is the new Imperial College/ REACT (Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission) via the BMA.
It concerns the lockdown in it’s many guises - further reading can be found at www.imperial.ac.uk — together with IPSOS Mo. It suggests that the third and latest lockdown has not and is not working - by pure observation there has not been a curb in the growth of cases or deaths more importantly.
How can we improve on this situation? Just how many measures can be tightened? - there are a hundred and one opposing views on this.
The Imperial College/ REACT study including the poll, used the results of home swab test kits, taken by residents (I know, accuracy has come in for debate here also). It measured the prevalence of Covid cases in the UK, and it showed despite a National Lockdown, that infections were up by 50-60% over a sample period (second week in Jan 2021), a noticeable increase from early Dec 2020.
So here are the the theories-give that there are issues with compliance,and the fact that there is a new strain of Covid, and one that is increased in transmission,we start from there- given all of this it is apparent that lockdown is not the answer.
What do we ever expect this government to do, with it’s dubious record of late action or wrong action ?-well, it’s all down to transmission, and the ways in which the public are informed, being many and various have not changed public understanding as to spread or indoor activities associated with their own conduct, and paramount here is the fact that airborne transmission in the form of droplets is to be avoided.
So, do we become selective?- close more shops and business in order to reduce transmission, but, that means employees etc are required to stay at home or self isolate - how do we compensate them further, extension of the furlough scheme, or indeed a special payment in the case of self isolation after confirmed contact with Covid- the suggestions are endless.
However, the government is reluctant to spend money!- and that could present a contradiction in itself - and in terms of recent activity, money has been spent inappropriately and Ineffectively- the purpose of the spend including a certain tack and trace app, and various other ill conceived projects, the faulty an d expensive PPE coming top of the list- all in all this is a topic that will never vanish.
By now you will have realised that most of this is open to conjecture and as in all matters, you will need to ask questions - does the REACT study present a bleaker picture of that we are enduring- the ONS (Office of National Statistics)/Covid / symptom survey-allegedly presents a more optimistic outlook, (and the ZOE app) - a collaboration including King’s College and St. Thomas’s Hospital.
Nevertheless, certain bodies are of the opinion that taking numbers of fresh hospital admissions and England’s latest lockdown and a certain reduction showing in cases that the actual lockdown itself is working. Remember all of this is fluid and at the time of writing we, as stated before, are in the thick of huge numbers of positive cases, and deaths, contributing to the horrific 100,000 plus death rate!!
So, in concluding this article,whilst it may be considered that the headline findings of the REACT survey may be alarming and somewhat bleak, maybe a realistic and accurate opinion is what we need.
(Next time: from ‘Where are we up to—-to ‘Whatever next?- and when do we have an inquiry?)
References- Imperial College / REACT survey / Zoe App etc- King’s College/ StThomas’s Hospital / Office for National Statistics (ONS)