I’ve been working on the third volume of my Corona Diaries. I will be publishing it today. This is the introduction:
This is it! The moment you have all been waiting for! This is the third volume of my Corona Diaries! Enjoy!!
During lockdown I was running a daily diary on my blog. Well, in all honesty, it was much more of a rant that a diary. It combined the mundane (descriptions of the weather, my daily walks and what I was up to, the music I was listening to, what I was busy writing), sightings of the wonders of nature, and the more topical (what was happening that day as regards the pandemic along with my thoughts and feelings about how Boris Johnson and the gang of thieves was dealing with it).
Looking back I can see I was not greatly impressed with the way our Bullingdon boys were handling the crisis, neither was I enamoured with what was happening on the world stage – particularly among the populist imbeciles like Bolsonaro and Trump. The way they were profiteering out of the crisis incensed me. I was impressed with Jacinda Ardhern and the Vietnam response.
As a scientist I firmly believe in vaccinations and saw that, despite the speed with which the vaccines were brought in, the results were good. When you vaccinate there are always risks. Some people will inevitably have a bad reaction. Some will die. For me it is a simple equation; you weigh up the risk. What was the risk of dying or having a nasty long-term illness from catching the virus weighed up against the risk of dying or having a nasty long-term illness from being vaccinated. It’s a no brainer. The risks from vaccination are far smaller than the risks from covid.
However, one has to have a caveat to that; in order to weigh up the risks one has to have accurate data. Particularly with the level of lies and Tory spin, coupled with a deficit of good, accurate data, it was difficult to gain solid facts. However, I remain confident of my decisions. Vaccination is safe. I’d take another jab as soon as it’s available.
I hold the populists like Trump and Bolsonaro responsible for deliberately undermining experts and scientists for their own ends.
While I think it is always good to keep a healthy degree of scepticism (scientists can be corrupted and used by unscrupulous big business employers) to chuck out science in favour of superstition and conspiracy is plain nuts.
The unfortunate legacy of Trump and Bolsonaro is the rise of brainless conspiracy theorists, the undermining of science, and a return to mindless superstition.
Trump and Bolsonaro profited greatly while we all lose heavily and will pay a massive price. Not only have they created hate and division in society, verging on civil war, but they have fostered extreme racist and fascist groups, antivaxxers and climate change deniers – all of which are somewhere between misguided and repugnant.
In hindsight things could certainly have been handled differently. The government had the facts and still made a pig’s ear of it. The details about the virus rapidly became obvious and should have informed policy. Policy should have been much more nuanced. From an early stage they knew much more about the virus than they let us know. They chose to take the action they did. Some facts they knew:
- The virus was not as deadly as first thought
- The medical services could still be overwhelmed
- Long covid, with damage to lungs, heart, brain and kidneys, was a problem for a large number of people
- The virus was spread by airborne droplets
- It affected certain groups of people much more than others. The elderly, obese, certain ethnic minorities, those in poverty/overcrowded accommodation and those with underlying health issues were badly affected. Young people and healthy adults were far less at risk.
A sensible government would have organized the response differently. I would suggest:
- Meeting outside produced minimal risk, so people should be allowed to meet, suitably socially spaced, outside, with no direct contact.
- Pubs and restaurants (etc.) could operate outside in well-ventilated areas.
- Schools could stay open.
- People could still go to work with increased ventilation and spacing. An exception being refrigeration units which seemed more at risk.
- Vulnerable groups should be isolated but could meet outside with social spacing.
- Sports events could take place with proper spacing.
- Schemes such as eat out to help out could have been restricted to outside.
- Vaccination should have been brought in for vulnerable groups first, then adults and not children (who do not need it).
- It became clear that vaccinated people could still spread the disease so they still needed to take precautions when dealing with the vulnerable.
If I can come up with a set of better rules than the government managed, why, given the mass of scientific brainpower and superior data, couldn’t they? It seems to me that they were far too concerned about politics and profit. They lied and spun instead of doing what was right. All those extremely well-paid jobs for the boys, VIP lane handouts to Tory donors, along with direct payments to their own firms, and such-like, smelt of the rotting stench of profiteering.
My daily rants were becoming more and more abusive as I became furious and incensed at the outrageous way this was being dealt with. How people like Rees-Mogg, Lady Mone, Boris Johnson, Hancock and Dido Harding can live with themselves is beyond me. Making money out of misery is inexcusable. We’re left with countless tons of rotting useless PPE and billions obscenely spaffed down the drain. We’ll be paying for it for generations while the recipients of those ludicrous contracts live the high life on the millions they purloined.
You see, I’m still utterly incensed! They’ve got away with murder!!
Opher 20th July 2021