Wednesday 22 April 2020


One of the many magnificent moments in 'Les Miserables' comes with the music and lyrics of the number: 'Do you hear the people sing?'

'Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men'

Angry men and women.

I feel angry right now. So angry. And this is an anger that demands justice. 

Les Miserables - The Song of Angry Men. 

We have been murderously misgoverned by buffoons who have put the pursuit of wealth before health. 

Scores of thousands of lives will have been lost in this Covid-19 pandemic due to the incompetence and inane ideologies of morally bankrupt politicians whose election left them holding the power of life and death over us. 

The Lyrics - The Song of Angry Men

These buffoons must face the legal consequences. Administrative malfeasance is one possible charge; so too is corporate manslaughter.  

The words of The Secret Medic in the 'i' newspaper today are apposite:

'By all accounts, it looks as if the UK is heading for one of the worst death rates in the world ... no one should be hindered from engaging in objective scrutiny of government policy. In a
democracy, politicians are elected on the fundamental proviso that they can and will be held to account ... Decisions and policies must be meticulously analysed with no stone left unturned. This is not about apportioning blame for blame's sake ... unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the last global pandemic we experience in our lifetimes.'

We need to understand. We need to make sure the mistakes are never repeated. We need justice for the sake of all those who have died needlessly.  

Johnson's slowness to accept the inevitable has set UK on a path to huge avoidable tragedy
(Skwawkbox: Sunday 19 April 2020)

A mass grave for US coronavirus victims

Boris Johnson's slowness to act on a lock-down of the UK to combat the spread of the coronavirus has cost over 60,000 lives, according to a new study published to the Medrxiv site pending peer review.
The holes he has left in anti-transmission measures, such as:
are likely to increase that number.
The study took the UK's initial confirmed situation on 28 February - and its modelling was a good match to the actual situation by 23 March, the day before the UK lockdown:
Applying the estimated parameter values and assigning hospitalised cases on 28 February as 10 severe, 4 critical, and 5 recovered, the constrained Maximum Likelihood estimates for that date are 1627 infected and 532 mild (see Methods) and the predictions give a reasonable approximation to deaths in the period to 23 March.
The study modelled the spread of the virus, at different levels of lock-down and with varying lock-down dates, and found that locking down just a week earlier would have led to an eventual death toll in this phase of the pandemic of around 18,500 - compared to an expected 81,000 under Johnson's eventual 24 March start date:

The price of delay

An extract of the report explains:
Figure 2 shows the results of a model run with these initial conditions, and a lockdown assumed to reduce [transmission factors] to 20% of its estimate throughout a 12 week period 24 March – 16 June. Severe cases rise throughout the lockout, reaching nearly 63,000 by the end. Likewise critical cases rise throughout, reaching nearly 37,000, and total deaths exceed 81,000.
These results are very sensitive to the starting date of the lockdown. If the 20% lockdown began one week earlier, on 17 March, cases and deaths would still rise throughout the 12 weeks but the totals on 9 June would be around 16,500 severe and around 9,250 critical cases, and 18,500 deaths.
And if Johnson's lockdown had been more complete - plugging the gaping holes listed above, then the total deaths would have been lower still. The study found that reducing the transmission factors to 10% of their original value before the lock-down instead of 20% would reduce the total deaths to a fraction of the likely outcome now:
For a 10% lockdown beginning on 17 March, severe cases peak on 26 March at under 5,900 whilst critical cases peak on 5 April at 2,800 and total deaths by 9 June are 5,200.
Astonishingly, in February Johnson was boasting about his plans to avoid any kind of prevention measures - claiming that this would give the UK an international business advantage:

The SKWAWKBOX has always warned that Johnson's 'herd immunity' plan - which involves almost everyone in the country becoming infected - was never abandoned and that the Tories and their media allies had simply started using new language to describe it.
That continues to be the case, as the government's half-hearted and tortoise-like move to a lock-down - in spite of knowing 6 years ago what would happen if a pandemic hit a UK whose health and public services have been fragmented and stripped to the bone - demonstrates. But the scale at which Johnson's recklessness and laziness are costing UK lives is glimpsed in a study that crystallises the impact of even just a week of Tory foot-dragging, dishonesty and incompetence.

Feeble excuse destroyed by civil servant's admission
(Skwawkbox: Wednesday 22 April 2020 - today)

Sir Simon McDonald on the left; Matt Hancock on the right.

Sir Simon McDonald, the Permanent Under Secretary to the Foreign Office has destroyed whatever shreds remained of Matt Hancock's and Boris Johnson's credibility over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tories had claimed that the UK did not take part in an EU scheme to obtain vital PPE (personal protective equipment) and ventilators when the opportunity was offered, because of 'communication' problems - even claiming that EU emails had been missed because they went to the 'junk' folder.
But McDonald has admitted when questioned by a parliamentary committee that the UK government was fully aware of 'what was on offer' - and made a 'political decision' to reject it:
Front-line NHS staff continue to be exposed to the virus daily because of shortages of PPE - the NHS has now completely run out of some types of vital protective wear.
More than 100 health workers have now died from the virus - while patients will also have become infected, according to health experts, while being treated by 'asymptomatic' staff without the recommended PPE.
Because of a Conservative 'political decision'.
Johnson and Hancock owe their resignations to the families of those who have died unnecessarily and should face criminal proceedings. (My bold print)

A leader par excellence 

Do you remember my blog-posts extolling the virtues of Jacinda Ardern, the PM in New Zealand who has been doing everything right? Here's a link to one for starters - press to find.
Nick Perry, reporting for the 'i' from Wellington in New Zealand, has these words today:
'While most countries are working on ways to contain the virus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it. 
And experts believe the country can pull it off. The virus "doesn't have superpowers", said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland. "Once transmission is stopped, it's gone."
New cases have dwindled from a peak of about 90 per day in early April to just five yesterday, leaving the goal tantalisingly close. So far, 13 people have died.
Dr Petousis-Harris said: New Zealand got everything right. Decisive action, with strong leadership and very clear communication."
New Zealand will stay in lockdown for another week before easing restrictions to restart the economy. '

Oh to be in New Zealand now the month of May is around the corner! We are heading for a death-toll of around 80,000 from Covid-19.

1 comment:

  1. It is such a pity that we "The Angry" who will not be slaves again can not take to the streets to sing the song of angry men very loudly and clearly ..did they know that with lock down we would be unable to do this?