Saturday, May 29, 2021

Coronavirus 53 Now It's Deliberate

Now that we've heard Mr Cummings confirm much of what we suspected about the catastrophic mishandling on the pandemic during 2020 one might think the errors are in the past and we are now doing things better.

Not true.

The UK Government has still not embraced the only rational way to minimise harm, a Zero-Covid approach that aims to eliminate the virus. Instead, though it's not explicitly admitted, the mythical 'herd-immunity' is still being pursued.

Our borders are porous; there is very little effective effort being made to stop reinfection from abroad. We still have no effective Find - Track - Trace - Isolate - Support system in place. There has been no serious effort made to improve ventilation in schools and now we even have the lifting of obligatory mask wearing in secondary schools. Data is not being shared. Hospitality and entertainment is opening up and strangers are meeting indoors in ever greater numbers. Further restriction lifting is planned.

The undeniable conclusion is that the Government is allowing the virus to spread, just trying to manage the rate of spread such that the hospitals are not overwhelmed, but not minimising death and disease. That has been the strategy from the start, exemplified by the phrases 'protect the NHS' and 'flatten the curve'. Elimination of the virus has never been the priority in the UK, though such a strategy has been shown to work elsewhere.

This is the paper the paper that must be required reading for all policy developers:

SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties
Miquel Oliu-Barton Bary S R Pradelski Philippe Aghion Patrick Artus Ilona Kickbusch Jeffrey V Lazarus et al.

Case numbers, and the inevitable almost 1% death rate and ~10% long-covid that will result, are once again increasing; we are starting exponential growth again. There is much talk about the mistakes and errors made a year ago but we must not be distracted from what is happening right now. The same thinking is leading to the same errors and consequently more avoidable deaths and disease. The difference this time is that ignorance can not be used as the excuse. This time it is deliberate.

The SARS-Cov-2 outbreak in the UK is today spreading exponentially, the result of deliberate Government policy.

But don't take my word for it, listen to the experts.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

G7 Climate Deceit

Six years ago I wrote this piece about the atmospheric CO2 concentration reaching 404 ppmv. Since then the numbers have risen by over 2 ppm each year, topping out at just shy of 220 this year.

Looking carefully at the noisy data one might just discern a slight slowdown in the rate of increase during this covid impacted year but the rise has again been over 2 ppmv. Methane and nitrous oxide have also risen, faster than ever.
Despite all the talk and all the efforts, humanity has utterly failed to combat global heating. We are still making the situation worse. The best we can admit is that we could have made things even worse.
Yesterday the G7 countries' leaders, from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and USA, published their 'G7 Climate and Environment: Ministers’ Communiqué'.
They say "We will help set the world on a nature positive and climate-resilient pathway to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030 and to keep a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach by making our 2030 ambitions consistent with the aim of achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest."
A limit of 1.5°C temperature rise by achieving net zero emissions by 2050? No, that is wanting one's cake and eating it. It is delusional, the new form of climate denialism, a deceit upon the world's people.
1.5°C limit stands now at the very edge of physical possibility, outside of political reality and impossible if emissions are allowed to decline gently to the so-called 'net' zero by 2050.
Why did the Environment Ministers make the statement? Because they can. It shows willing to address the problem without actually dealing with the problem. It sets a target far enough into the future to ensure it will be somebody else's problem when that target is missed.
But it is a deceit. 

G7 UK Presidency 2021 Logo

Mind you, they have some nice sea-side inspired graphics on the website.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Coronavirus 52 The Reckoning

The UK Government has announced there will be an inquiry into its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, but not for another year.

Lord make me good, but not just yet.

Meanwhile, never mind the Prime Minister's Covid Inquiry, kicked down the road and into the long grass, let's start here: The Independent Panel for Preparedness and Response, have been holding the inquiry ordered by the World Health Organisation last summer, and have now published their report, Covid-19 Make it the Last Pandemic.

The British media have largely ignored the launch of this report*. It is, or at least should be, deeply embarrassing to the UK, and other, governments.

For those reluctant to read the lengthy report, here is an excellent video introduction to the Inquiry and a summary of its findings and recommendations, presented by the leaders of the Panel.

As a follow-up to that introduction, here is the Press Conference of the report launch.

The report not only explores what happened and what should have happened, but makes urgent demands for what should be done, now, to halt the current pandemic, and in the future to ensure that this is the last pandemic.

That's all you need from me so watch, listen, read and tell the world about what The Independent Panel tells us.

*The Guardian (other newspapers are available) has a couple of pieces:

Sarah Boseley's report.

Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's summary of their report. 

As I write this, there is no mention of the report on the BBC News website's 'Coronavirus' page, and I have heard no mention on the Radio 4 news bulletins.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Elections 2021.

The abused voted to support their abuser.

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response whereby abuse victims bond with their abusers. This psychological connection develops over the course of years of abuse. A large part of the English population have developed the condition.

A classic abuser tactic is to create external enemies that explain away any bad experience, and from which the abuser protects the abused, thus reinforcing the dependency.

Over many years the EU was held to be the source of many of our woes, the politicians' lies repeated by their compliant media. Xenophobia was stoked with threats of immigration; leave voters gave succour and support to the racists.

By the time of the referendum the fishermen, farmers, and business folk dependent on foreign trade, had been locked into their Stockholm syndrome state, impervious to rational argument, convinced by what they read in their newspapers that the politicians had their best interests at heart.

Covid provided the coup de grace.

The pandemic was entirely avoidable but the British public were told that the government would protect them. Unlike the experience of several 
Eastern Hemisphere countries, diverse in geography and politics, where a zero covid policy was enacted from the start, resulting in few deaths, the UK Government's approach resulted in some 150,000 deaths and immeasurable suffering.

Just in time for the May 6th elections, the Government delivered what the people wanted to hear: a promise of freedom. Covid restrictions were being lifted and some semblance of normality was being restored. This, they were told, was the gift of good governance. The vaccination programme was another gift, but even this was not the triumph it was portrayed as. The vaccine was no 'miracle' but just what scientists do when given the resources to do their work, and the roll out was not exactly rocket-science. (Bhutan vaccinated it's entire adult population in one week.)

All the while the government were able to transmit what was effectively a Party Political Broadcast every day it wanted under the guise of the 'covid briefing', to leave no doubt who was the protector and benefactor. 

The parallel between the behaviour described by psychiatrists of abuse victims and the condition of the English public was exemplified by the Hartlepool resident who said he voted Tory because there were now nine food banks but under Labour there were none. Rationality is dispensed with, the victim defends the abuser.

The abused English public dutifully trooped to the ballot box (or, more often than not, didn't bother to vote at all).

And all the while around the world the pandemic rages more than ever, each new case an opportunity for viral mutation, and the UK's decision to leave the EU the source of bemusement and ridicule by all who retain their sanity.