Opinion: Why stop listening to scientists over Covid?
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As the new rampant Covid variant, DeltaCron is suspected to be striking down every previous Covid avoider like a power-packed bowling ball, all restrictions, protections, monitoring, and testing are binned.
From snotty sneezers in Scotland on work Teams calls, to colleagues and their families taking it in turns to lie down with thumping headaches and soaring temperatures and travellers trapped in their cruise liner cabins after positive tests, “so-and-so has got Covid’ has punctuated my week like over-used commas.
Infection rates are soaring - the number of people testing positive has gone up by 52.4 per cent in seven days - with much talk of new variants ahead.
As graph lines steepen, monitoring, advice, data, and testing are being shelved leaving a nation bemused about what the last two years of hell have been all about.
‘Living with Covid’ is now all down to money. We can’t afford to build defences any longer to what might be ahead.
Deltacron is as infectious as measles. Two years tomorrow, on March 19, 2020, Boris Johnson told the nation that the following 12 weeks could “turn the tide of this disease.”
It was possible, he told us to “send coronavirus packing in this country, but only if we all take the steps we have outlined”, which were mass testing for coronavirus and social distancing to allow the country to return to some form of normality by summer 2020. Tough measures like shutting down cities was possibility, he warned.
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The rest, as they say, is history.
Those words helped to turn us into the most compliant cowed population obeying every rule and restriction chucked our way.
Today, with three – sometimes four – vaccines up our sleeves, mortality rates curbed, and coffers drained, defences are scrapped.
Calls by epidemiologists, whose every word we once hung on, for the government to prepare for what’s to come are now apparently dismissed while we rely on widespread immunisation and herd immunity.
Experts fear that dropping restrictions last month and now the scrapping of widespread COVID-19 testing and monitoring programmes will complicate efforts to track the virus and detect new variants.
The government insists our super-obedience to get jabbed will quell the worst of the disease.
But without testing and monitoring, new clusters or signs that the virus is evolving could be missed.
Scientists say they do not understand why governments are not learning this lesson.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of Britain’s National Health Service said: “The government cannot wave a magic wand and pretend the threat has disappeared entirely.”
But pop into a supermarket today and you’d be forgiven for thinking the last two years have been a bad dream.
Without national guidance what to do, masks are chucked away, just like the independence of the clinically vulnerable, effectively being sent the V-sign by the government and are now under infection-fear house arrest.
I wonder how people who have lost loved ones feel – so far 163,095 who have died within 28 days of testing positive- or those left debilitated by long covid about us all being cut adrift because money has run out.
Hospital admissions across the UK were up 18.4 per cent week-on-week this week, although intensive care patients are still low.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid insists the increase is as “expected” and the country is “in a very good position.”
Covid was the third leading cause of death in January, and legal restrictions were lifted. Chris Whitty urged continued mask use but few are listening.
Dr Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, warned another variant or two every year, based on how rapidly coronaviruses mutate.
Two years on, the disease everyone was terrified of his surging, those who have swerved it have got it, and a successful vaccine programme is warding off the worst, and deadly, effects.
But why stop listening to the science?
You can’t help but think we might end up up the creek without a paddle.
Fit dogs and fat children?
A new adventure playground and park for dogs is loaned for Roydon, near Diss.
Lucky hounds will be able to play in ball pits, sandpits, jumps, tunnels and ‘sensory play activities’ in a field currently used for horses so dog walkers can feel safe letting their pets off the lead to run around freely.
The plans sound wonderful, but it makes me feel about all those children’s playgrounds that are largely empty because children prefer to be glued to their screens indoors than running, jumping, and sliding and spinning in municipal maintained play areas.
Could it be that we become a nation with the fittest dogs and fattest children?
The Next Door app where people swap news, ask questions of neighbours, seek recommendations for tradespeople and sell unwanted tat is an endless source of education, amusement, and befuddlement.
A lengthy conversation this week in my neighbourbood concentrated on what I’ll politely label human waste discovered in local lanes and cut throughs.
How did the identifier know it was a human and not a dog that had deposited it, people asked?
Dogs don’t usually leave tissue paper with it, came the answer.
Theories about the origin of these deposits increasingly pointed to delivery drivers who are regularly caught short by the lack of public loos.
This is a thing apparently and a common issue among delivery drivers.