The second lock down and the Liverpool pilot
It seems that the Government of the Buffoon is innately stupid. Even when they decide to do; something intelligent; something which others had been calling for for months; something which has strategic merit; and something which is a different approach to the tried and proven to be unsuccessful tactics of the past eight months they still manage to cock it up.
I’m talking, of course, of the pilot of the city wide non-symptomatic testing of as many people as possible in the city of Liverpool which began at midday on Friday 6th November (see below). (Arrangements have changed in the last week and it’s no longer necessary to book, you just turn up at any of these centres.)
But one of the most important things about this pilot is the word ‘pilot’ and what it signifies. My dictionary definition of this version of pilot states; ‘used in or serving as a test or a trial’, ‘serving as a guide’.
That implies that you run the scheme for a certain period of time, evaluate how it has gone – in both practical terms and in the results that were obtained, and then decide on the success (or otherwise) of the scheme and then introduce it (or not) in other areas.
But not the idiots who run Britain.
On the evening of Monday 9th November (three and a half days into the ‘pilot’) the office of the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock – one the of the Three Bellends (see below) – contacts 67 different local authorities (mainly in the North of England) stating that they would also be provided with resources for introducing such city wide testing.
Now I’m all in favour of such testing, have argued that it should have been introduced (or, perhaps, more importantly, ‘piloted’) many months ago and then, after proper evaluation introduced throughout the whole of the island of Britain. But you need information to anticipate any possible problems (as well as highlighting the positives) of such a scheme. This has never been done before on such a scale and teething problems are inevitable but what you get if 68 towns/cities are doing their own thing is 68 versions of chaos – and no lessons for the introduction in rest of the country that will inevitably follow in its wake.
I attended the first day of the test in Liverpool and wrote about the experience on this blog earlier in the week. The of the points made about that visit was that there was no obvious monitoring of the scheme and that those young soldiers inside the building were merely processing people and not noting down any problems or other issues which might have a bearing on the efficient extension of this scheme to other parts of the country. In fact, that blog post is the only thing I am aware of approximating an evaluation of the ‘Liverpool pilot’.
Being a good, responsible and caring citizen of the city of Liverpool I sent a link of my ‘findings’ to the City Council. I never even received an acknowledgement that my notes had been received. As there was no ‘feedback’ requested from participants and as there seemed to be no one monitoring what was happening in the (now) 17 centres throughout Liverpool I doubt whether the Labourites in charge if the city have a better understanding of the word ‘pilot’ (in this context) than the Buffoon down in London.
Politicians of all colours (being at foundation guardians of the capitalist system) follow the same trajectory in a crisis such as this present pandemic. Their principal aim is to come out of the situation making sure that any blame is placed somewhere else, anywhere apart form their own door steps. The consequences that such actions have on the majority of the population is irrelevant.
And don’t get me on the introduction of the ‘second lock down’ in England with its leaks, in-fighting, half truths, selective statistics, muddle guidance, uncertain longevity and possible end.
Was the country prepared for such a pandemic?
Not according to a former chief medical officer.
The present (and second of how many) lock down
To justify another lock down the Buffoon quotes frightening ‘statistics’ which predict virus deaths ‘twice as bad’ as spring.
And continues to stick to the fear factor when those ‘statistics’ are challenged. If you can’t keep them safe then keep them afraid.
Other figures suggest that the ‘second peak might have passed’. But the lock down stays.
Lock downs have been seen by many as just digging a hole from which it is almost impossible to escape. One suggestion is by dividing the population into two – with your house number determining your future.
I don’t understand the nationalists within Britain. For eight months the so-called ‘devolved administrations’, especially in Scotland and Wales, have made an effort to be different from what has been proposed in England. In some ways I can see their point, the Buffoon has never given the impression that he knows what he’s doing and his Government has made so many U-turns most people have lost count.
However, the reasons the nationalist have chosen different paths was merely to demonstrate, however illogically, that they were in control in their little patches of land. In the strategy documents produced in readiness for such as this present pandemic it was stated that the hope was all the 4 separate administrations would work in concert. That hasn’t happened yet.
But, all of a sudden, the Welsh first minister states that all the UK nations should work together in the weeks coming up to Christmas. I don’t really see, apart from a little bit of populist posturing, why Christmas should be any different from the rest of the year.
Then the following day the same Welsh first minister declares that GCSE and A-levels in Wales will be cancelled for 2021. Which is not the same in the rest of the UK and which will cause all kinds of problems and conflicts, if not treated very carefully, when it comes to University application time.
A report by the Institute of Government highlights how the childish squabbling of the Nationalists have not served the people throughout Britain at all well.
The spread of the virus
How the news was reported in the days before the second lock down.
Nearly 100,000 catching virus every day.
‘Second wave’ could last until April in ‘worst-case scenario’.
Understanding ‘aerosol transmission’ could be key to controlling coronavirus.
Coronavirus rules in England aren’t working, scientists say.
Does coronavirus spread more easily in cold temperatures?
This was talked about at the very beginning of the pandemic, i.e., that face coverings cease to become effective if basic hygiene practices are not followed. But how many really people follow good practice? Face masks should be washed and tumble dried each day.
The poor suffering the most
Again one of those issues that have been reported on a number of occasions – but still worth noting. Despite protestations and false concern expressed by the Buffoon the pandemic still leaves poorer families £170 a month worse off.
But, it seems, more people have recovered their concern for the poorest in society. There was a ‘dramatic softening in attitudes’ even before the covid pandemic after years of Thatcherite sponsored selfishness and lack of concern for others. Also there’s a consequent increase in the desire to tackle the tax avoidance practised by the rich to pay for higher benefits.
Unemployment, yet to reach its peak, will also effect the young and those from ethnic minorities the most.
Another U-turn (this time on free school meals) which benefits many in the short term but which shys away from the main issue.
Redundancies at record level as pandemic takes further toll.
Way back in 2012 a post on this blog considered that the aim of the Trussel Trust (the biggest charity operator of food banks in the United Kingdom) ‘to have a food bank in every town and city’ was a shameful goal for any organisation to have in one of the top five richest countries in the world. Such an aim is merely putting a sticking plaster over what is a suppurating wound of hunger for a significant proportion of the population. The fact that eight years on the demand for their services has increased many fold just goes to show that food banks are, in many senses, part of the problem and not the solution.
As with many consequences of poverty in Britain the covid-19 pandemic has not caused the problem – exacerbated it yes, but what it has mainly achieved is the uncovering of the full extent of poverty throughout the country. A recent report from the Trust observed that 2,600 food parcels provided for children every day in first six months of the pandemic.
Food banks are getting visits from the so-called ‘newly hungry’.
Increased control by the State
As has been stated here a number of times capitalist states will use any crisis to increase their control of the population. Measures might be introduced under benign circumstances but the problem is these measures, or more especially the laws that allow them, tend to stay for long after the initial cause is just a bad memory.
Such an example is Manchester University installing fencing around student accommodation – and in the process handing out public resources to private business – which sees the rightful and legitimate opposition from the students.
The university initially insisted it had written to students informing them about the construction, but has since acknowledged work began “ahead of the message being seen”.
What a bunch of wankers!
The privatisation of the pandemic and corruption runs rife
Over the last seven months unimaginable amounts of money have been thrown at the ‘private sector’ – whether to keep companies in business or the more important task of transferring monies from the public to the private purse. But the ‘private sector’ will never be up to dealing with such as a pandemic as the over-riding principle is always the maximisation of profit – which will always go against the public good. Even though the ‘private sector’ has shown itself wanting since the pandemic broke they will still be brought it to cover any cuts in the public sector which successive governments (of whatever colour) had introduced in the name of ‘efficiency’.
Whitehall scrambles private sector to avoid second wave disaster.
Not satisfied with taking the money being offered the gangsters of capitalism still believe they have to resort to fraud. £45m deal for NHS masks collapses amid fraud claims. The contract was still awarded even though the Government was warned, in June, that things were dodgy.
Labour demands answers from vaccine head over PR bill.
Although not directly a matter to do with the pandemic but a situation which prepared the country for getting itself robbed stupid once money really started to slosh around. This is a matter of Tory ministers directing monies to their patches so they can claim the credit for ‘improving’ their own area – whether that was a priority or not.
More on ‘collateral damage’
Mentioned in virtually all postings after we had been living under the pandemic for a few months it’s still worth re-iterating that the world still goes around even with the virus. The lack of a proper strategy generally, in all countries worldwide, means that the so-called ‘collateral damage’ keeps increasing.
50,000 cases of cancer left undiagnosed due to Covid disruption. And that could double within in year if the same approach is followed.
Some of these problems have been put down to the too simple message of ‘Protect the NHS’.
And with such situations comes the recriminations.
Another study has shown that a four-week cancer treatment delay raises death risk by 10%.
And a study from the United States indicates that a significant number of people who contract the virus also suffer mental health conditions in the aftermath.
Almost 140,000 patients waiting longer than a year for NHS treatment.
One rule for us – another for them
A crisis is an opportunity for the rich – even the most talentless.
While the rest of us are worrying about seeing relatives and job security, the super-rich are flying to party islands on private jets.
Cummins has got away with it for a while – will that continue (probably).
THE hot potato of the pandemic continues to be thrown up in the air.
England’s contact-tracing system needs better data handling to beat covid-19.
Prior to the announcement of the pilot in Liverpool (see below) it was stated that 10% of England’s population could be tested for covid-19 every week. To really get on top of the spread of infections in the UK many more people nationwide will need to be tested on a regular basis. But again the question has to be asked – What about the poorer parts of the world?
We were told suitably qualified personnel would staff the call centres. That doesn’t seem to be the case as teenagers ended up operating crucial parts of England’s test and trace system.
The NHS app evolves, this time sending more people into self-isolation. There are always problems when more people are told to do something which doesn’t make sense to them – and which might seriously effect their general well being. Perhaps a sledge hammer to crack a nut.
The debate about what happens to information gained by the app and how secure it is continues to run
And then sometimes it doesn’t work.
More than 7,000 of the app’s users were given the wrong self-isolation information due to a faulty update
City wide testing – the Liverpool ‘pilot’
This is one of the few good ideas that have come out of the ‘battle’ against covid-19. And Liverpool is a good choice as a pilot it being a medium sized city, a diverse population (in terms of age, ethnic variety and wealth). It could bode well as a way to deal with the virus – if it works.
The Army are supposed to be in charge of this (which started on 6th November) and everything will depend upon whether there has been local input to the locations of the testing centres or whether an outside organisation thinks it knows best. If it has been properly planned (and it is hoped that the planning for this began some weeks ago and not the day after it was announced) then it could be a way out of the total mess and chaos that has characterised the so-called war against this tiny virus. Obviously only time will tell. With the second national lock down having started on 5th November (so not much burning of the failed Catholic regicide in effigy this year) and due to last for a month – which coincides with the Liverpool pilot – then if positive results have not been achieved by the end of the 28 days then we are really snookered.
Some various news reports of what might be the most significant positive development for months.
Liverpool to pilot city-wide coronavirus testing.
New procedure offers results in just an hour, rather than the more usual 24 – 48 hours.
Up to 500,000 people in city will be tested in bid to measure feasibility of mass population screening.
Liverpool Covid tests will ‘open door to more routine way of life’.
But those frightened ‘scientists’ who can come up with nothing new – even though the old tactics have not shown themselves to be effective – try to pore cold water on the initiative.
Vaccine and immunity
A vaccine might be on the way – but don’t get too optimistic.
But another look at immunity might be more positive.
The big issue of recent days is the announcement of a ‘90% success rate vaccine’. Matt Hancock, who has been mercifully quiet recently, claims the credit and states that the NHS ‘is ready’ to introduce a mass vaccination programme when it is already pushed to the limit due to decades of cuts and financial neglect.
But after the euphoria of the announcement comes the cooler analysis. Good news yes, but …
‘Back to normal by spring’ – are we expecting too much from the first COVID-19 vaccines?
The ever expanding effects of covid-19
Look at your feet if you think you may have contracted the virus – for covid toes.
Reactions to Government policy
Pub renames itself The Three Bellends with dig at Johnson, Hancock and Cummings.
Not much fun being a mink in 2020
Denmark announces cull of 15 million mink over covid mutation fears.
And the Dutch mink don’t fare any better.
Fears over mutated covid virus from mink lead to Denmark travel ban.
No one, yet, has made any comment of whether the new vaccine which has been so trumpeted in the last couple of days, will be able to cope with the little present the mink have given the world.
How the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha’s care about it’s subjects
William Saxe-Coburg and Gotha – the heir to the oppressive monarchy of Britain – contracted the virus earlier in the year but kept it quiet as ‘he didn’t want to worry the population of the country’. It’s good to know that some rich boy is really concerned about our well being.