I watched Professor Sir Ian Diamond, the head of the Office of National Statistics (ONS), deliver an online lecture about the work of his organization last Monday. He was the guest of the University of Southampton and his talk was very impressive. When he declared that 'timeliness, quality, transparency, relevance, and innovation were at the heart of everything we do', I am convinced. Every evening, I add the day's statistical data from the ONS to my monthly chart and the flow of figures is unfailing.
|Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Head of the ONS|
I can see that the numbers of patients on ventilation has been declining - 868 on 1 January 2022; 793 on 12 January 2022; 675 on 20 January 2022; 598 on 25 January 2022; 483 on 3 February 2022. The headline in the 'i' newspaper yesterday (Friday 4 February 2022) seems justified: 'Number of Covid patients in ICU falls dramatically'.
I assume my 'i' newspaper is following a mainstream pattern when it emphasizes the mildness of theOmicron variant. I know there is a 'nudge unit' working from No.10 Downing Street and it seems only too predictable that the dominant theme in the media will be that Johnson's government was right to lift all restrictions. Yet, as the ONS figures show, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has remained high.
Taking the 7-day average for daily cases of people testing positive (and remembering that these figures are shaped by the intensity or otherwise of the testing programme), there was a sharp increase at the beginning of January - 155,785 on 1 January; 183,084 on 5 January, followed by a steady decline to 100,052 on 17 January. Since then, there has been a further gradual decline to the 85,604 recorded today ( 5 February). However, today's figure is still startlingly high, given that this is a novel killer disease. But what do you expect if you remove all restrictions? This, after all, is the herd immunity game. As long as the hospitals are not overwhelmed, we open up society and the economy. The pursuit of profit trumps the loss of lives that follows.
|The real world of COVID|
Make no mistake. Lives are being lost. Very many.
Taking the 7-day average for daily cases of deaths, there has been a sharp increase in the first half of January - 130 on 1 January; 156 on 6 January; 190 on 10 January; 267 on 14 January. This average figure for deaths then plateaued - on 2 February it stood at 258. We now have over 178,00 British citizens who have died because they became infected by SARS-CoV-2. This, to use the phrase first coined by Engels, is social murder. The mainstream media will not go there, of course - but an increasingly large number of people are using these two words to describe the policy of the British government.
|Coronavirus - a killer disease|