On the 12th March 2020, Boris Johnson referred to adopting a herd immunity concept as a strategy to combat Covid19, in contrast to the rest of world at that point in time. A cheap and effective option, except that it would cost an estimated 250,000 lives! A foot-and-mouth approach but with human beings.
On the 16th March 2020, the World Health Organisation was significantly concerned about some countries response to the pandemic, announcing ‘Test, test, test’, a short time after the UK government stated that there was not a need for testing.
It was not until the 23rd March, that the UK announced full (still voluntary) lock-down. It had held off until the time was ‘right’, even though they had no understanding on the extent of infection following lack of testing. When lock-down in the UK was implemented, it was half hearted, with large events over 500 being targeted, whilst cosy pubs, cafes, restaurants where people really socialise closely were not even mentioned. Only later was the ‘advice’ added.
All of this wasted valuable time on an exponential curve of infection.
Whatever the U-turns and indecision on approach, hardware supplies should have been mobilised immediately the threat was realised, whether it be PPE for staff or converting wards in readiness for patients. Preparation for the front line.
Even now that the UK government was at last listening to ‘experts’ (not their recent style), it was still not responding. Often making PR announcements about the alleged progress it was making, even though not corroborating with the front line workers’ accounts and hoping that the early mistakes and preparatory inertia would be forgotten. Yet, still time for plenty of examples of disconnect, all the while losing precious time.
Here’s the thing, there is nothing different about this pandemic to any other viral pandemic. A few basic concepts applied by the countries successfully combatting the pandemic
- PPE for front line workers and key workers – these were always going to be required
- Lock-down and social distancing – timely on the infection trajectory and clarity on purpose
- Testing for the virus – to maximise key worker availability and to trace contact
- Testing for the antibody – to understand the extent of recovery
Yes, most of us will get through this but the UK government has let its people down badly, when there was a window of opportunity to get it right. Huge numbers of avoidable deaths have taken place.
An election is a long way off and this gross negligence and total incompetence should never be forgotten. It is a shameful scandal.