“Anyone beating coronavirus deserves everybody’s fullest gratitude. Happily, industrious journalists keep leading morning newspapers offering pertinent questions regarding short-term unlocking. Very wisely, xenophobia yields zilch“
The above pangram*, in today’s ‘Times Diary‘, is amusing in its own write (sic!) but also pertinent comment. There are many C-19 questions with many unknown answers, which have yielded ‘zilch’.
I have written a half dozen C-19 blogs and each time I complete one I say to myself that my next blog will be on something else, and yet I am again writing a 7th sequential piece on the subject. This is, indeed, part of the problem we are all facing: Coronavirus is so pervasive that it takes a very disciplined soul to detach oneself from the subject. So here I am off on another one ….
In my very first C-19 blog, 18 days before Boris’s announcement, I questioned whether a potential lockdown could cause more long-term deaths than it would save. In early April, my blog concerned itself on how public opinion would affect government policy; while at the end of that month I questioned how ‘facts’ become the basis for decision-making in times of uncertainty.
In the past few days, there has been an increase in volume of an alternative perspective on C-19 that is at variance from the policies being pursued by the UK and most other governments. In the USA this divergence of opinion has already reared its head in the form of alt-right agitation, and today’s UK press is reporting of the arrival of similar in this country. As evidenced by such political agitation, one needs to proceed cautiously with such thinking so as to avoid appositional conclusions especially, in this case, ones that encompass notions of conspiracy. However, as a subscriber to Private Eye, I tend to believe that Hislop & Co.’s august organ is of a well-intended nihilism that serves good purpose. Its most recent issue leads with:
PANDEMIC planning is the ultimate lose-lose scenario. The lives and livelihoods lost from the virus have to be balanced against the lived and livelihoods lost from the”treatment”. This virus is causing a surge of deaths particularly in the sick and elderly, whereas lockdown is causing a smaller surge in non-Covid deaths and a steady, sustained increase in harm to those who have their whole lives ahead of them. Brutally put, 100 percent of us are making sacrifices to save 0.5 percent (or less).
This came on the back of the previous issue, which produced the followings mathematics, based (they claim) on Imperial College calculations around deaths not caused by C-19, that out of every 10,000 people 9,996-9,999 would not die with coronavirus, However, all 10,000 will be affected by social and economic lockdown, and many by cuts to other health and social services.
One can not be surprised when those with particular axes to grind seize on this sort of analysis to propose that society is participating in a folly of its own making. Reprinted below is such an article from one of my favourite blogs, The Slog. One of The Ericle’s regular correspondents, Patrick, to whom I sent the ‘All Death To Be Forbidden by 2030’ piece, responded with this following well-cast humour supporting the proposition:
(On The Declaration Of War) …. no such undertaking has been received and so, therefore, a state of war exists between our two nations……people of Britain these are perilous times and we must remain safe. … therefore the government recommendation is that the entire nation should evacuate immediately to the countryside maintaining a safe distance of 200 yards to reduce risks associated with dastardly bombing raids. Being a member of the armed forces or merchant navy is to be exposed to inordinate danger and should be avoided at all costs. Under no circumstances should anyone consider employment in such life-threatening ways of life, or death, and so, for the good of the nation, these institutions that have no care or respect for their employees will be abolished forthwith. In the meantime those of you who may have to delay mass evacuation are advised, nay ordered, to remain under your beds. I, by way of example, am making haste to my country estate where I and my loved ones will be safe and sound under our very large and sturdy four-poster, from which vantage point I will be able to lead our great nation to abject cowardice and of course moral defeat, whilst mouthing concern for others. Remember, stay at home, and stay safe, and whatever you do, for God’s sake don’t die – it’s bad for your health and more importantly exposes me to criticism. Chorus: “There’ll always be an England etc“.
Ok, so where is this all going? To be frank, I don’t know. Having raised the issue of a potential cost-benefit analysis that argues against over-response, I now feel that an initial lockdown, predicated by a tardy response of government – for which I have a good degree of sympathetic understanding – has to have been the right response. However, this generosity can not be extended to a potential 2nd Wave. We now know:
- the S. Korea model of mask-screen-detect-isolate-contact-trace worked
- the WHO dictum of test-test-test & test again is correct
- social distancing is an unavoidable necessity
- government procrastination costs lives
Government has to be able to take the populace along with it. In order to do this, it has to have a decisive, succinct, understandable & communicable plan. And that plan must include a measured but significant restarting of the economy for all the right reasons.
To this point, my perspective has involved an acceptance of the fact that almost all governments responded late and that ‘we are where are’ both from the mortality and socio-economic perspectives. However, that is far as a generosity of spirit can take me. I started my last blog piece with the words: ‘To err is human’ and I shall now continue this with ‘not to learn from one’s mistakes is inexcusable’. A second lockdown would be proof of the failure of government. I hope and pray that this will not occur but if it does this scribbler will have lost any tolerance with the current UK government and be calling for government of national unity.
So, despite my wish to be writing about something else, this has been my 7th consecutive post on Coronavirus. Next time, something else. As it is said, The Road To Hell is filled with good intentions ……
*Pangram, noun, is a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet at least once. Famously as per ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’. However, the sentence above is one that follows this principle consecutively and via the first letter of each word. Is there an erudite reader who can advise me as to whether there is a specific name for this type of sentence?