The Corona Diaries – Day 186

Looks like another fine mess you’ve got us into Johnson. Our new cases have shot up to 6874 with another 34 deaths. Hospital cases are rising and SAGE are predicting a big increase in deaths – past a hundred a day in four weeks.

Talk about complacency and missed opportunities. This summer was the time to really get on top of it, to get the track and trace working and beat it down. It didn’t happen. We languished.

Our lamentable performance has put us worst in the world! Why?? Why is it that the UK, the USA and Italy are doing so badly while countries like Vietnam and Korea are doing so well? We have great healthcare systems and yet we are totally outperformed.

The USA – 208,483

The UK – 41,936

Italy – 35,801

Vietnam – 35

Korea – 399

We visited Vietnam a year ago. It was teeming with people, hygiene was not brilliant. It was a no-brainer. As soon as coroner virus hit they would be swamped with deaths – yet just 35.

So what are the USA and the UK doing wrong?

Vietnam – population 97,338,579 people – 35 deaths

USA – population 331,000,000 – 208,483 deaths  (on the same ratio that should be about a 110 deaths shouldn’t it?)

Here’s what Vietnam did and the USA and the UK failed to do:

The country very quickly enacted measures such as travel restrictions, monitoring and eventually closing the border with China, closing schools and increasing health checks at borders and other vulnerable places. A vast and labour intensive contact tracing operation got underway. Quarantine on such a vast scale is key as evidence mounts that as many as half of all infected people are asymptomatic.

What did we (USA and UK) do?

We kept border open with no health checks

We allowed unrestricted travel

We were complacent and took too long to act.

We are not doing health checks.

Our track and trace system is pathetic

We are not testing enough

We sent out the wrong messages – cheerleading that it was a hoax, that it would be over soon, that it was safe to go back to school and uni, that it isn’t too bad.

We’re still doing it!!

We reopened schools without a good system in place and a track and trace that doesn’t work. Now kids are being sent home right, left and centre.

We sent unis back and now we find students locked down in halls of residence and being told they cannot go home for Christmas.

We opened up offices and public transport, and eating and drinking inside restaurants and pubs.

Is it any wonder that cases are soaring in the UK?

Is it any wonder that they are going up in the States with another 48,567 new cases and 864 deaths?

Is it any wonder that Brazil has 31,911 new cases and another 729 deaths?

No, of course it isn’t! We are looking at a bunch of populist leaders who only care about the economy, are absolutely useless and incompetent and have been sending out the wrong messages and doing the wrong things!

What a pathetic bunch who have ended up killing tens, no hundreds of thousands of people!!

Today it rained. I’ve stayed in to work on my Harper book and play my Billie Holiday, watched an amazing game of football and now, the weather has improved, I’m off for my walk.

Maybe by the time I get back people might have booted Johnson, Bolsonaro and Trump out of office and the world would be a better place.

4 thoughts on “The Corona Diaries – Day 186

  1. Well Opher, I would dispute that the UK has a “great” healthcare system. Socialized health care systems like the UK, Italy and Belgium seem to have led to the biggest deaths per million.

    I too have wondered why virus deaths in the Far East are so few. My suspicion is that Chinese ancestry helps people resist the virus, because it’s of a type they have been subjected to for generations. And people in neighbouring countries, like South Korea, would also have taken on some of that immunity. This could be easily tested: do people in Western “Chinatowns” suffer less from the virus than others around them?

    And you of all people, Opher, think Johnson should have closed the borders? (As the Taiwanese did).

    Time will tell. My best guess is that cases and deaths will go up for a while, but there will be a lot less deaths per case than previously. Then, the virus will fizzle out. The next establishment meme may well be “it’ll all be over by Christmas.” Ha ha. And the bastards will expect us to thank them for what they’ve done to us!

    1. Hi Neil, I’m not convinced by any natural immunity in the Asian community. It certainly needs checking though. I think it is more likely to be practice makes perfect. They are more used to dealing with these type of outbreaks (SARS and MERS) and have found out what works – stringent health checks, follow up and isolation.
      I’m not sure I would have advocated closing borders, but certainly would have insisted on health checks and health follow up. I think I read somewhere that we let two million people into the country during that time without any health checks or follow up.
      During the SARS crisis we travelled from Taiwan to Hong Kong. We had to have temperature checks and face masks. They were stringent.

  2. Now this is interesting:

    But the article says something quite different from its URL. The police went in with batons, so it seems. I actually expected there would be violence at this rally, and I was proved right. But which side started it?

    Opher, what do you think of the right of peaceful assembly to protest? And what do you think of the idea that someone can be “exempted from the regulations” one minute, and not the next? Is that the rule of law?

    1. I think that in normal times people have the right to protest peacefully. But these aren’t normal times. We have a rule of six for gatherings. People aren’t allowed funerals or weddings.
      As a biologist I can clearly see the reason to stop mass gatherings. This is a virus that is killing tens of thousands. Unless people comply with the rules it will kill tens of thousands more.
      There are times when freedoms have to be temporarily curtailed. I don’t have a problem with that – as long as they are temporary measures.
      I think Trump is blighting the public consciousness and QAnon are a bunch of nutcases – as is Icke – a glorified TV presenter.

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