A week ago, in its Saturday edition (18 September 2021), the 'i' newspaper published an in-depth article by Jane Merrick revealing how No.10 repeatedly overlooked flaws in its strategy as the Delta variant appeared on the world scene and then hit the UK.
On the 1 April 2021 this year, a female staff member in a north London care home, who had received her first dose of AstraZeneca in January, tested positive for COVID-19. Within three weeks of that result, 24 of the 42 residents and staff at the care home - which had managed to avoid any outbreaks during the first and second waves - had also tested positive. Just three of the 24 were without any vaccine protection. Genomic sequencing identified the virus as a variant that had arrived from India, now known as the Delta variant and already the dominant form of the virus worldwide.
|My thanks to Wolverton for this brilliant cartoon - just add to the list those whose vaccine immunity is wearing off after six months|
By 14 May, members of Nervtag (the government committee of scientists which has been set up to deal with emerging virus threats) began to ring the alarm bells. It was not until the middle of June, a month later, that the Department of Health under Matt Hancock responded to the Nervtag discovery that the first case in that north London care home was residing with someone who had returned from India in March and had been feeling unwell. That traveller had correctly followed amber list rules and had been quarantining at home. But other people living at that address were not required to isolate and were going about their daily business.
Even though India went on the red list on 23 April - with all travellers kept in hotel quarantine for 10days - the loophole still persisted for other amber list countries. This, as one source says, was 'akin to giving the thief the keys to the house'.
There was also another flaw in the UK's bio-security infrastructure. At a meeting of Nervtag on 16 April, Public Health England officials revealed that sequencing on international travellers is carried out by private providers with which PHE has no contractual link. The test swab samples from arrivals in the UK could not be analysed for new variants. Thee months later, in July, this was still being flagged as a problem.
Ministers were acknowledging by May that this new mutation was 'a variant of concern' and delayed the so-called freedom day by a month. The lifting of all mandated restrictions did not happen on 21 June as planned but it did go ahead on 19 July. See my blogposts ever since for the pattern of consequences.
|The ambulance service in the UK is at breaking point - and the winter season has not yet begun|
Time for a bit of perspective: More people have died from COVID-19 in the first nine months of 2021 than the whole of 2020 - and we still have three months left in the year, with the death toll climbing towards 1,000 a week during this month of September.
For the man in No.10, the matter-in-hand has always been how to satisfy the natural instincts of that body of Tory backbenchers who do not want restrictions either on the market or on social movement during a pandemic. Last Monday's 'i' revealed Johnson's latest cunning wheeze. David Parsley reported that 'The government has handed local councils and regional health chiefs sweeping new powers to implement Covid safety measures if the NHS in their areas becomes overwhelmed this winter'.
If you are a regular reader of these blogposts, you will know that my line of argument is that Johnson and his lackeys know full well that admissions and deaths will rise in the coming weeks and months. He and they are just letting the virus rip for the time being, encouraging people to believe that the worst is over and we are getting back to normal. The science and the data say otherwise - press this link here to access previous blogposts.
|The double whammy that goes with being a failing state: a morally bankrupt, serial liar as the PM and an inept, putative Leader of the Opposition|
Johnson is determined to avoid any restrictions unless deaths reach the figure of around 137 a day (an arbitrary figure plucked from who knows where by Johnson - see my earlier blogpost). A system of restrictions by local mandate spells disaster and more deaths. Local restrictions will not effectively limit movement in and out of the area - the virus will be laughing with glee, as immunity levels six months after a double vaccination decline (the reported experience in Israel).
And yet, the powerful are able to persuade scientists with excellent reputations to make statements that cannot be all they have to say on the subject. Professor Sir John Bell is now associated with the idea that the coronavirus could resemble the common cold as early as spring next year as immunity to the virus is boosted by vaccines and exposure. The country was "over the worst" of the pandemic and should return to near normality after this winter according to Sir John. Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert is saying much the same thing.
But hang on - the common cold does not have a fatality case rate of 2-3 per cent.
|A reminder there is still HOPE - the New Zealand PM, Jacinda Ardern, who said the pursuit of herd immunity was "unthinkable".|
Here is this week's latest update on the daily figures for coronavirus cases, admissions into hospital, and deaths from the virus:
Here are the latest week's figures for cases, hospital admissions, and deaths, to add to the figures published daily in the 'i' newspaper during September:
Cases Admissions Deaths
Wed 1 September 32,181 (+5,705) 901 (-42) 50 (+2)
Thu 2 September 35,693 (+3,512) 842 (-74) 207 (+157)
Fri 3 September 38,154 (+2,461) 848 (+1) 178 (-29)
Sat 4 September 42,076 (+3,922) 985 (+136) 121 (-57)
Sun 5 September - the 'i' is not published on a Sunday
Mon 6 September 37,011 985 68
Tue 7 September 41,192 988 45
Wed 8 September 37,489 905 209
Thu 9 September 38,975 933 191
Fri 10 September 38,013 863 167
Sat 11 September 37,622 1,063 147
Sun 12 September - the 'i' is not published on a Sunday
Mon 13 September 29,173 1,073 56
Tue 14 September 30,825 1,076 61
Wed 15 September 26,628 1,009 185
Thu 16 September 30,597 936* 201
Fri 17 September 26, 911 836* 158
Sat 18 September 32,651 909 178
Sun 19 September - the 'i' is not published on a Sunday
Mon 20 September 29,612 932 56
Tue 21 September 36,100 930 49 (144: 7-day rolling average)
Wed 22 September 31,564 741 203 (144: 7-day rolling average)
Thu 23 September 34,460 747 166 (139: 7-day rolling average)
Fri 24 September 36,710 714 182 (143: 7-day rolling average)
Sat 25 September 35,623 794 180 (143: 7-day rolling average)
Remember this fact:
Remember what my blogpost on Saturday 4 September revealed, courtesy of an 'i' article - see this link here:
The 'i' article by David Parsley quoted these words from a 'source':
'The Prime Minister is minded to implement another lockdown or new restrictions only if the figure of annual deaths looks like it's going to go above 50,000. That means deaths from Covid of 137 a day, or just under 1,000 a week'.
- In the seven days from Monday 6 to Sunday 12 September, the death toll from COVID-19 was 983 (827+156). I have now discovered a way to access the Sunday statistics - if you would like a link, here it is
- In the seven days from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 September, the death toll from COVID-19 was 1003 (839+164).
- In the six days from Monday 20 to Saturday 25 September, the death toll from COVID-19 had risen by 886.
When will those in No.10 act to stop these unnecessary deaths?
This is still, in Engel's words, "social murder".