Shock capability is an original feature.
If that’s what you lose, you lose all humanity.
Latest estimates suggest that Covid-19 has killed 93,000 civilians in the United Kingdom.
I’m trying to imagine how high it would be to hit 93,000 stacked coffins, or how deep a plague pit would have to hold 93,000 corpses.
There are no more horrific photos to jolt the senses because they are decently disposed of out of sight. Live UK coronavirus: 24 percent spike in people testing positive in England last weekContinue readingThe Guardian has done its utmost to remember some of the people who died of covid: their memories, these family tragedies. And yet there is something lacking, a national sense of the real terror that has come upon us.
A plane crash, an earthquake, floods, the collapse of the Twin Towers – the heart is suddenly grabbed by these disturbing visual news events. These pandemic deaths outnumber those of the blitzkrieg and flying bombs (an estimated 61,000 dead), yet somehow the frequent ringing of the ONS bell for our fast-rising dearly departed has not yet shaken the nation sufficiently. A deliberate denial adheres to the disconcerting assurance that the dead are all aged, sick, or with “underlying diseases” while some of these “diseases” turn out to be far away.
Hundreds of thousands of very good years of life are wasted regardless of age, measured in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), the number used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to quantify the life-saving benefit of drugs and treatments. In our eat-out-to-help-out madness moment back in August, ONS estimated the health impact of Covid-19 infection: “Between March 2020 and March 2020, ONS estimated the health impact of Covid-19 infection.”
But that was before the second and now third wave of the virus, with current rates of infection exceeding the 2020 high, break-point hospitals, and a possible three-month shutdown causing more QALY losses. This is not new news, as several scientists, including those in the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), have said that in early March, when Boris Johnson was still fooling around and shaking hands, thousands of lives would have been saved by a lockout. The timeline of inaction is too painfully familiar to rehearse again, but it may be career-defining for that summer image of the maskless Rishi Sunak serving food to customers who take his bribes to breathe on each other in restaurants.
The deadly repetition by the administration of the same errors should shock; all the dithering, delay and deference to the lunatic libertarian fringe that consistently protests against the closing of schools. What made Johnson decide to close schools between Sunday’s Andrew Marr show and the about-face on Monday? The surveys, owned by No 10 and Savanta Comres, which found 79% of the public to be closed, just 9% against: people are smarter than the right-wing head nuts.
Michael Heseltine summed up Johnson’s leadership style last September: he “waits to see which way the crowd will run, then charges forward” and yet the nation still does not seem adequately surprised by either its prime minister or the unnecessarily dead thousands. When they voted Johnson, they knew what they were getting, and his party is still associated in the polls with Labour.
In other words, Britain seems a little lacking in its shockability. Everyone sees the debacle of testing and monitoring (test results never arrived for some of my Covid-afflicted relatives – when they called to find out more, they were informed that “they often get lost”), despite massive amounts of money spent on private companies. The failure of this “moonshot” indicates that the expectation that the vaccine will be administered on time is optimistic: general practitioners are already canceling vaccination appointments because the lack of promised supplies is holding them up.
Airports, meanwhile, remain wide open to all infected new immigrants, though Priti Patel makes news about the expulsion of a handful of much less violent individuals. Several Covid contracts were awarded to businesses and individuals.