2023-07-14 10:56

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Covid-19 Update 10th July 2023 Report

In his first major report since Derek Maylor retired from Openreach, (reported here last month), he updates us on the national TUC Covid action group:

Covid-19 isn't over, we are left to face continual infections, with no tools or data to keep ourselves safe and we need to come together and work to keep each other safe, should we continue to wear FFP2 masks? Should we demand better from our workplaces and community spaces.

We need to understand how we got to this point, how centuries of progress in virus mitigation were tossed aside in favour of short-term profits and social murder. We need an update on the Covid-19 Public Inquiry and find out more about how our government's gesture towards accountability is going. Session was led by Nathan Oswin, the TUC project manager for the Covid-19 Public Inquiry, former Campaign Director for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice and a non-executive director of Hillsborough Law Now.

One early point from the inquiry, it appears that Government was preparing for coping with the pandemic (such as how many body bags they’d need) as preparing to lessening or mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the population. Previous Government cuts to the NHS and LAs highlighted the devastating effects of tory doctrine when local people (NHS and local social services) tried to manage the massive extra work, with less people (due to staff contacting Covid) and less resources that they had ten years before.

Jeremy Hunt's witness statement is now public, and he gives something in his witness statement where he has the audacity to have a go about scientists “group think”. That literally is the idea of cabinet collective responsibility is based on the whole premise of group think and the idea that you know people don't necessarily agree with it but have to do the job that was collectively supported. Politicians need to take their own accountability across this as much as anybody else.

It was mentioned that we ought to have a minister for resilience who is close to the Prime Minister but doesn't do anything else; but has that responsibility so when everybody else is running off thinking about politics (getting re-elected or a good headline in The Mail) occasionally puts their hand up and says we shouldn’t cut that because maybe we'll need to rely on those services or those goods at some point soon. For example, why wasn't Operation Sigma's recommendations carried through or various operations processes carried through?

Maybe higher staff in areas who have specialisms should have been utilised better locally, rather than take people because of their position not skill and try and give them the specialism that was already there elsewhere in that society We need proper protection against pandemics and under no circumstances was it an excuse for PPE to drop, not to be suitable or not even available.

There are still concerns over relevance and importance, and it really shows up.

image: Covid Action logo - click to go to their websiteDon’t forget weddings were cancelled, dying patients were not allowed loved ones to visit the at the end of life. Politicians who have not thought on this in a clearly just treading lines and it's not just politicians there's some permanent secretaries who have said it as well and it often shows up through PPE.

The permanent secretary of the Department of Health and Social Care first said it and Matt Hancock claimed it as well where, we did not run out of PPE, “we just couldn't get the PPE out of the warehouses to distribute it”. Like there's a difference. Ultimately through inaction of government one way or another, workers were exposed to a virus that killed them in their workplace because they didn't get PPE they urgently needed on the front line.

It is important to get the deep dive in this inquiry, but we have thought the Government might have some sense of self-awareness because the enquiry has got to get to the bottom of things and establishing facts are important and not allow the back covering that is being attempted or we will be in the same place in lack of preparation if/when the next pandemic comes around.

See also:

• kabbasi@bmj.com. (2021). Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant. [Online]. BMJ. Last Updated: 4 February. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n314?link_id=11&can_id=917543c72ab91931ae73de467e084b32&source=e [Accessed 10 July 2023].

Social Murder - The philosopher Friedrich Engels coined the phrase when describing the political and social power held by the ruling elite over the working classes in 19th century England. His argument was that the conditions created by privileged classes inevitably led to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest classes.

• If go on to You Tube and search for the UK Covid 19 Inquiry Module 1 Hearing for 16 June there are excellent contributions from Professor Marmot (who we’ve mentioned in previous reports) and Professor Bamba. [Link may work www.youtube.com/@UKCovid-19Inquiry].

Pic: Bak to News icon link

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