Monday, September 06, 2021

Coronavirus 57 Is It Over?

First thing I heard on the radio this morning was that the London Metal Exchange was going back to open-outcry trading. First email I opened was from my granddaughter's school explaining that 'bubbles', staggered arrival times and spaced out seating were no longer required. It seems that the nation's hive-mind of popular opinion now holds that the pandemic is over and everything is getting back to nearly the old normal.

Later we learned that 41,192 new cases were reported today, covid related hospital admissions are averaging almost a thousand per day and deaths are averaging over a hundred per day.

The pandemic, despite any wishful thinking by a great many people, is very much not over.

Vaccination is a bonus, of course, reducing the death rate dramatically, though infection, transmission and long-term disease, while reduced, are not prevented. JCVI argued against covid vaccination for children because they are not directly very much at risk. Rubella causes only a mild illness in children yet we vaccinate them all to protect pregnant women and their babies from what is often a disastrous illness. The vaccination reluctance of some members of the JCVI is inexplicable. 

As I've been saying to anyone who would listen (not many) since February 2020, if nobody met anybody else outside their own household for about a month the pandemic would be over.

Of course that's hard to achieve; folk like to eat and have the light on. We do need a very strict lockdown, with every security and mitigation measure we can think of for the few who do have to meet others. That will drive R down well below 1, and prevalence will soon drop to the level at which an effective track, trace, isolate and support system can work. Then the pandemic will be over and the virus eliminated in short order.

All of that is as true now as it was in early 2020, before 150,000 avoidable deaths occurred. (To date Covid-19 has been named on the death certificate of 156,119 people.) Politically it is now harder to achieve than first time round.

Tragically, our government has not the slightest intention of doing what is required to eliminate the virus and end the pandemic. Instead it will muddle along, avoiding the complete collapse of the NHS as its primary goal, and, as the Prime Minister indicated, taking it on the chin and letting the bodies pile high.

The stark choice before us is between:

1. A few weeks of very strict lockdown and other appropriate measures that will end the pandemic in weeks, or

2. Allowing the pandemic to continue indefinitely, with repeated cycles of new variants, booster jabs and the inevitable extra death, disease and suffering it will cause.

Tragically, our government will again make the wrong choice. Because popular opinion trumps science.

At least the men (yes, all men) of the LME will be able to shout at each other to fix the day's prices for copper and aluminium. So that's all right.



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