Britain at an hiatus – the calm before the storm?

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Britain at an hiatus – the calm before the storm?

I wonder if people in Britain in past epidemics were sitting around speculating if the epidemic was actually over or whether it was just the calm before the storm.

In the past most people wouldn’t have had a clue about what was happening in the rest of the world and so wouldn’t have known, for example, that the Black Death that swept across Europe from 1346-53 was already ‘burning’ itself out in the first countries it hit before England was affected. That burst was over in about 18 months in Britain. The so-called ‘Spanish’ Flu pandemic of 1917-8 lasted no more than two years – although when it did hit it was much more virulent than covid-19 – at least so far.

So perhaps people didn’t really have time to think in the past. Now we have too much time to think. Globalisation (capitalism’s solution to all ills) has meant that a virus doesn’t arrive in one wave it can arrive time and time again. Social media and fast communication in general mean that news, good or bad, real or ‘fake’, can arrive at the opposite side of the world in an instant. Scientists who are looking for their ’15 minutes of fame’ make prognostications about what will be the consequence of different policy decisions and if they are correct we never hear the end of it, if they are wrong then they slink into the corner until the next opportunity arises.

And as there are as many approaches to a pandemic (that effects every country in the world) as there are countries in the world then there’s always the chance that something totally unforeseen might arise out of a policy decision thousands of miles away which might have ‘unintended consequences’.

To deal with a pandemic a worldwide strategy was needed, is needed, but there were barely any formulated strategies in any country before, during and since the virus landed across the respective borders.

In Britain at the beginning of August (18 months since the virus arrived on the island) things are looking ‘quiet’.

England lost the European Cup but it didn’t lead to the end of the world as we know it. Restrictions were released (or perhaps not, in certain circumstances) a couple of weeks ago and the predicted explosion in infections, hospitalisations and deaths has not (yet) occurred.

In place of expanding massively efforts to vaccinate the majority of the world where the percentage levels of those vaccinated are in single figures the big debate in Britain is about what should be the age of the children where the vaccination programme will end – even though it has long been accepted that they are the least vulnerable to the virus (or at least to any serious infection). Now the debate has changed – we need to vaccinate the children to protect the rest of the population in Britain. We seem to be dealing with an epidemic and not a pandemic, ignoring the billions of people who could be infected in the future and thus see the appearance of more virulent forms of the virus.

The ‘doom-sayers’ in Britain have not been proven correct. The same people are ‘predicting’ serious outbreaks come the autumn and winter so whether they will be believed is in question.

By our selfish, Euro-centric, northern hemisphere, racist approach to the rest of the world we might end up proving them correct after all – but not for the reasons they are arguing at the moment.

Vaccination programme in Britain ….

UK children about to turn 18 could be first in covid vaccine queue. Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, says she would be “baffled” if the UK opted not to vaccinate British teenagers.

Vaccines for covid are much more effective than for flu – and reminding people could drive down hesitancy.

New covid-19 vaccine warnings don’t mean it’s unsafe – they mean the system to report side effects is working.

What is a breakthrough infection? 6 questions answered about catching covid-19 after vaccination.

If I’ve already had covid, do I need a vaccine? And how does the immune system respond?

Covid vaccine set to be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds. When billions of people, worldwide, much more vulnerable, haven’t as mush as had a look in. Why? Narrow-minded, parochial parliamentary politics (playing to the lowest common denominator); stupidity and fear (created by the Buffoon and his Government); Eurocentrism (even though there’s talk of the whole world being in the battle against the virus); and pure selfishness.

….. and in the rest of the world

CoronaVac vaccine: its results are patchy, but the world can’t ignore its usefulness.

Russia’s Sputnik V covid vaccine is safe and very effective but questions about the data remain.

Stalled Russian vaccines cause global anger. How much of this is just a political game? Promises of hundreds of millions of vaccines for the poorer countries of the world haven’t really been forthcoming following the hype surrounding the G7 meeting in Cornwall in June.

The ever changing virus

The beta variant is surging in mainland Europe – should the UK be worried?

‘The war has changed’: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paper warns Delta variant is far more transmissible.

Scientists warn of risks in easing UK controls for vaccinated arrivals.

‘Herd immunity’

Something that comes and goes in the news.

Is covid-19 on the run in the UK?

‘Freedom Day’?

Why ‘freedom day’ is the latest example of covid propaganda.

‘Freedom day’? Removing covid-19 restrictions will vastly reduce the freedoms of some.

July 19: Three experts share their thoughts on the end of covid restrictions in England.

The trajectory of the pandemic

Why covid cases are now falling in the UK – and what could happen next.

UK can expect thousands of covid deaths every year, warn scientists.

Poverty in Britain

How will universal credit cut hit struggling families? The DWP doesn’t know.

Wearing masks – or not

Should you ditch your mask once restrictions are lifted? A philosopher’s view.

Masks: how and when to ask someone to wear one – without getting into a fight.

‘Long covid’

With one in three patients back in hospital after three months, where are the treatments?

Symptoms experienced during infection may predict lasting illness.

Why Scotland needs to fund long covid rehabilitation now.

Study finds long-term covid symptoms rare in school-age children. Yet the vaccine programme in Britain is to include more of the young people in the country.

‘The Buffoon and the Pandemic’.

Dominic Cummings tells BBC Johnson denied covid would overwhelm NHS.

Following the data?

Covid data is complex and changeable – expecting the public to heed it as restrictions ease is optimistic.

Vaccine ‘passports’

Vaccine passports: what businesses need to know – and why they should have more say.

France’s covid health pass raises serious ethical questions.

‘Collateral damage’

Covid has caused ‘hidden pandemic of orphanhood’.

Media must rise above pitting scientists against each other – dealing with the pandemic requires nuance.

Britain faces ‘decades of financial risk’ as £370 billion pandemic bill mounts.

Poor mental health leaves pupils three times less likely to pass five GCSEs.

RSV: what is it, and why are child cases surging in the wake of covid?

Lack of government covid plan for English schools ‘unforgivable’.

NHS drops from first to fourth among rich countries’ healthcare systems. Not strictly ‘collateral damage’. The pandemic just made a bad situation worse.

Covid disrupted treatment for 30% of NHS cancer patients.

Who’s making it big from the pandemic?

Coronavirus business loans: some directors may have defrauded billions from UK taxpayers.

Regulator imposes £100 million fine over ‘6,000%’ price gouging hit to NHS. Two points to be made here. A £100 million fine is chicken feed for these pharmaceutical companies. And no mention of the profits some of them will be making in the next few years from covid vaccines – most of which were developed with public finance and/or based on previous public funded research.

Cheapest test kits for travellers on UK government site unavailable.

As Delta spreads, Pfizer and Moderna get set for a booster shot to profits.

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