Those of you who follow my blogposts will know that there have been two categories into which many of my blogposts can be placed: the threat posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the threat posed by Boris Johnson. There has been some overlap, of course. I have noticed that the viewing figures for my blogposts about the dangers of the coronavirus have been declining since January of this year. That was when the man who is still PM decided that we would all learn to live with COVID. I referenced such sad evidence of people turning a blind eye to the danger that has cost almost 200,000 British lives in the title for the last but one blogpost I published on 26 June:
THIS IS A BLOGPOST THAT WILL ATTRACT ONLY A SCORE OF READERS - IT'S ABOUT THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS - (here's the link, if you want to risk the read)
I was more or less right. Almost a month later, it has picked up only 27 views.
The last blogpost I published, only a fortnight ago, has, however, already had 51 views. The upbeat title: 'THE POWER OF HOPE' may have helped. It is the illustrated version of my talk at the Penzance Literary Festival about my latest book, Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic. (Here's the link to a risk-free read, although of course I would love to see my sales figures rise as more people buythe book for themselves or as a present for others.)
|Press here for more|
It's worth noting that my most popular blogpost in the last two months, recording 63 views is:
TWO ST IVES BOYS AT LEVANT - A CHAMPION CORNISH MINE - WITH VIDEO ACCOMPANIMENT (Here's the link to the story featuring John Toman and me - the two follow-up blogposts that tell of the visit to Botallack and Cape Cornwall are also well worth the read, too)
You will note that so far in July I have only published one blogpost. That's almost unprecedented. Let me explain. I have been writing a series of six blogposts (I will be putting the finishing touches to the last one today) which carry the general title:
THE WORLD SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A NEW QUAKER ATTENDER
They will provide a perspective on life, its nature and its meaning, which I hope readers will find thought-provoking. I know I have loved composing them.
More on those six new blogs in a week's time when I will publish an introductory blogpost. The first of the series of six will appear on Monday 8 August and the rest at weekly intervals afterwards with the last one appearing on Monday 12 September.
Meanwhile, back to the elephant in the room - COVID-19.
|SARS-CoV-2 - the virus|
I used to rely on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website for daily updates on data relating to COVID-19. Every day, I recorded on my own pages the number of cases testing positive, the number of people being admitted to hospital with Covid, the numbers on ventilators, and the numbers dying. Grim work - but I felt it was very necessary to communicate these figures to people who otherwise might not access them, at a time when the actions of government were often running contrary to medical and scientific judgement.
But now, the ONS website has become far less useful. An update is only available once a week. Most of the statistics are for England only, and not for the UK as they were previously. National testing has ceased, apart from the very important data concerning infection that comes from the Zoe app (see my last blogpost on the coronavirus). Why is this the case? Has funding for the ONS been reduced? How much control is 10 Downing Street exerting?
What I did establish from last Wednesday's examination of the figures that were released was that there had been nearly a doubling of hospitalizations of Covid patients since the beginning of the month (1 July - 9,389 in hospital with Covid; 20 July - 17,019). There has been no updating of the figures for deaths from Covid, based on the dying within 28 days of infection criteria, for a couple of months. The more accurate figure that statisticians worldwide use is based on a death which records COVID-19 on the death certificate. By this measure, we have now, by last Wednesday reached 198,552 deaths. On the 1 July, the figure was 197,288. There have been at least 1,264 deaths in that 20 day period. How many of those deaths could have been prevented by different government actions? We seem to have an spoken continuation of the herd immunity policy that Johnson and Cummings initiated back in February 2020, this time with the partial help of a vaccination programme that for people like me, still under 75, is being held over until the autumn.
Remember page 31 in Dying to Know?
"At a private engagement at the end of February, Cummings outlined the government's strategy. Those present say it was 'herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad."
|Just a reminder about who was directing operations throughout most of 2020|
As for the media coverage of this ongoing deadly saga, my sources are the 'i' and the 'Observer' newspapers. Here are extracts from an 'i' article on 7 July under the carefully glossed main headline:
Fewer Covid patients on ventilators despite rise in cases
There is another minor headline here, too:
Critical health workers 'exhausted
The article explains that hospital numbers are going back again towards levels we saw in January and April. Somewhere between 3-5 per cent of the population is infected with coronavirus. The figure for those on ventilators was 219, lower than in previous surges, and this was because of the relatively high rate of vaccination and antiviral drugs such as remdesivir and molnupiravir. The stabilization of intensive care patients means no new measures are expected in UK hospitals.
On the 14th July, the 'i' carried this headline:
'Covid jab effectiveness 'falls 66% in two months''
This time the minor headline strikes an upbeat note:
'Fall in cases raises hopes latest wave has peaked'
But read on .... 'However, cases are still three times as high as they were on 27 May, the last time infections fell'.
On the 16 July, I breathe a sigh of relief on reading in the 'i' this:
Further booster jab for over-50s as cases surge
And then on the 19 July there was this headline in the 'i':
Think you have a cold? It's probably Covid
Read on and discover that:
- Covid cases have come down slightly from their latest record high of 351,546 daily symptomatic cases, recorded by the Zoe app on 10 July
- But at 344, 010, they remain exceptionally close to their all-time high and are far higher than they have been for most of the pandemic.
- Furthermore, they are predicted to remain at steadily high levels throughout the summer before soaring again in the autumn after the schools go back.
- Clear and consistent messaging
- Increased efforts to promote vaccine uptake
- Installing/upgrading ventilation/air filtration in all public buildings
- Free lateral-flow testing
- Financial support for all those self-isolating after infection
- Promotion of higher grade masks (FFP2/FFP3)
- More global provision of vaccines and anti-virals
To conclude, an image of a real leader of a wonderfully sane government on the other side of the world: