Journal of the Plague Years 2020-2?

London during the Great Plague 1665

London during the Great Plague 1665

Journal of the Plague Year 2020-2?

When news started coming out from China, just before the Chinese New Year holiday in the middle of January, about an unknown virus that was spreading quickly around the city of Wuhan there was no indication that within a short two or three months virtually every country in the world would be taking measures to mitigate the effects of the virus in an effort to keep death rates low.

I’m sure there were some people who saw this as the beginning of a pandemic but I wasn’t one of them – thinking that it might cause some disruption in China; mess up the holiday plans for millions of Chinese workers who only get the chance to go home to see their families this one time of year; cause a bit of a blip in the Chinese economy (which would be somewhat ameliorated by the fact that a great deal of industry would have been closed down for a couple of weeks anyway due to the holiday) but not that the world would almost grind to a halt by April.

The little over a handful of viruses that have seemingly come from nowhere over the last twenty years or so – and which had only caused major problems relatively locally – had obviously lulled us into a false sense of security. If a virus did break out about which no-one had any idea then it could be contained and, as with most diseases, it would be those in the poorest countries of the world that would suffer the most – not the ‘sophisticated, industrialised’ societies.

Our ignorance was one thing our stupidity in believing the politicians and those we have allowed to become out rulers is another. They lied when they had said, numerous times over the years, that there was nothing to fear as they had considered the threat of any pandemic and would be able to deal with it if it should dare to cross our borders. Both their reassurance and our trust will be our undoing.

There are 195 countries in the world and there have probably been even more than that number of ‘strategies’ to deal with this pandemic (nationalist movements in countries like Britain, for example, meaning that one ‘official’ country has four strategies). There hasn’t even been unity in those political structures that are based, however different they may be, on the idea of being together. The United States of America has been anything but and the European Union has displayed a remarkable level of disunion.

Although perhaps a little slow off the mark I decided that I would try and document how this pandemic developed in one of those countries, Britain (sometimes called the dis-United Kingdom).

The idea is not to be a news update, matters move to fast for that and there will be a great deal of information I will not even be aware of, but to document some of the incompetence, inconsistencies, irregularities and general chaos which has been a characteristic of this pandemic. Such chaos is not just in Britain, few countries will come out of this smelling of roses, but it’s in Britain I feel I have the right to point out where I think matters have been handled wrongly and/or where things could have been done better.

I’ll get a lot of things wrong, I’m sure, but then I don’t have access to all the ins and outs of what is happening. But those who are in that position should be held to account when the reckoning over the management of this situation is carried out in the future.

That’s assuming, of course, that their incompetence doesn’t kill us all.

As people are supposed to have a lot of spare time in the present circumstances might I suggest you could do worse than read Daniel Defoe’s ‘A Journal of the Plague Year’, a fictional account of the Great Plague of London (perhaps we would now call it a ‘fictionalised drama’ as he based much of it on research – he, himself, was only five years old at the time of the outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1665).

I think its quite remarkable that we haven’t really learnt a great deal in the intervening 355 years however much we might think we are technologically, scientifically and medically much more advanced than then. Run and hide has still been the response – together with fear and ignorance.

Below are links to those posts which started towards the end of March 2020 until …. who knows?

Turning a problem into a crisis – Tory inactivity (and hypocrisy) in the face of the covid-19 pandemic (23rd March 2020)

Inept politicians deepen the covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom (1st April 2020)

The covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom – 2nd April (2nd April 2020)

Britain – start of week 3 of the pandemic lock down (6th April 2020)

Covid-19 in Britain just before the Easter ‘holiday’ 2020 (9th April 2020)

Covid-19 over the Easter 2020 weekend in Britain (13th April 2020)

Covid-19 in Britain as the country enters ‘Stage 2’ (18th April 2020)

Eight weeks after the first covid-19 death in Britain (29th April 2020)

Britain and the Pandemic – May Day weekend 2020 (2nd May 2020)

Getting closer to it – but still no real strategy in the UK covid-19 pandemic (6th May 2020)

Britain and the pandemic – during an uncharacteristically sunny Bank Holiday weekend (8th May 2020)

Britain at the time of ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’ – a strategy of sorts (13th May 2020)

Now into the third month of lock down – confusion remains in Britain (20th May 2020)

Britain still in covid-19 lock down – with the lunatics in charge of the asylum (22nd May 2020)

June 2020 – Britain still with covid-19 – and Cummins (2nd June 2020)

When you thought the situation in Britain couldn’t get any worse – the Buffoon opens his mouth (11th June 2020)

On the eve of the announcement of the most substantial relaxation of lock down so far – will the British people be led over the cliff like lemmings? (23rd June 2020)

July 4th – ‘Independence Day’ or Armageddon. With less than 24 hours to go before ‘The Great Relaxation’ how prepared is England to face the ‘new normal’? (3rd July 2020)

A week of incompetence, hypocrisy, revenge and corruption – life returns to normal in the UK – what it’s like to be in Britain when lock down is ‘relaxed’. (11th July 2020)

24th July – perhaps – will go down in history as the day that face ‘coverings’ became mandatory in English shops and other indoor locations. (24th July 2020)

From bad to worse – August 2020 in Pandemic Britain. Covid-19 hasn’t caused all these problems, it’s just torn down the facade. (11th August 2020)

Britain teetering on the brink? … as children go back to school and more return to work. (25th August 2020)

Will it be Armageddon? Britain returns to school and work. (1st September 2020)

The start of a second lockdown – or measures to prevent one? (15th September 2020)

Increased restrictions in September – too few or too many? (24th September 2020)

How many days from a second national lock down – if only a ‘circuit breaker’? (8th October 2020)

Seven months into the pandemic – yet back to square one (19th October 2020)

Lock downs (under various guises) spread like a virus across the United Kingdom (28th October 2010)

Early lessons from the Liverpool, city wide, covid testing pilot (9th November 2020)

The second lock down and the Liverpool pilot (13th November 2020)

Britain staggers from one ‘lock down’ to another – but still no clear exit (23rd November 2020)

The eve of yet another change in tactics – doom and gloom in the UK early December 2020 (1st December 2020)

The arrival of the first vaccine – the end or the beginning of the problem? (10th December 2020)

Nine months and a day since the beginning of the first lock down …. (24th December 2020)

A new year – but nothing has changed (4th January 2021)

The vaccination programme gathers pace – but will it be enough? (15th January 2021)

A year since Britain first heard of covid-19 (25th January 2021)

Will the vaccines stop the pandemic – or will we go to war over their supply? (3rd February 2021)

Tens years for lying where you come from – how long for culpable homicide? (10th February 2021)

Tories return to the old normal before the country gets used to the ‘new normal’ (17th February 2021)

Does ‘too little, too late’ become ‘too much too soon’? (23rd February 2021)

UK Budget 2021 – relief for business; suffering for the poor (8th March 2021)

The first anniversary – how many more before the end? (23rd March 2021)

How secure is a return to a ‘new normal’? (7th April 2021)

Football kicks covid into touch – if only for 48 hours (21st April 2021)

A Tale of Two Countries – Britain and India (5th May 2021)

It’s not the virus that’s the problem – it’s the parasites who run society (26th May 2021)

Britain – a nation in waiting (12th June 2021)

No strategy – no way forward (1st July 2021)

The future of the country in the feet of a football team (11th July 2021)

England on the eve of ‘Freedom Day’ (18th July 2021)

Britain at an hiatus – the calm before the storm? (5th August 2021)

Pandemic – what pandemic? (24th August 2021)

Britain turns it’s back on the world with its vaccination programme (14th September 2021)