Coronavirus – Britain’s Response

Following on from my previous blog, about the media’s reaction to the Coronavirus, my second blog on the subject will be on how Britain responded to the outbreak.

Public Reaction

As the news spread that there was this new virus about, us Brits reacted with the standard ‘It’ll never happen to us’ mentality. And how wrong were they?

When the coronavirus started to rear it’s ugly head, and the media started to broadcast the news, a lot of people looked on in shock as they watched the severity of how quickly it was spreading.

Yet, there was also the deniers, who kept on playing it down and constantly saying that normal flu kills people annually than this virus does. And a few months into the pandemic, this is still happening. And this is something that has really grated on me, because I think the comparison doesn’t help.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that this is a new virus, and no-one has immunity, and there is currently no cure! With flu, people have the ability to have an annual flu vaccine to minimise the risk of contracting it.

Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesos, WHO Director General – 3rd March 2020

As per social media standard, people denied that Coronavirus was more serious than seasonal flu, and downplayed the issue by stating as not everyone who has, or recovered, from the virus has been tested so the percentage is incorrect. And that seasonal flu is still worse.

I agree, I do believe that the percentage will drop when we have the ability to test for antibodies, however it is not important at the moment. The factor that the government, and the world, are trying to do is reduce the number of deaths that is happening.

But in the same respect that we don’t know that the full number of people affected by Coronavirus, we also don’t know the full extent of people affected by seasonal flu. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, the symptoms that people are experiencing are different, and even some are asymptomatic and they are not aware they have it. In the same respect, this is also the same for seasonal flu.

So if we expect the percentage of Coronavirus to be lower than what is being reported, then shouldn’t we be expecting the same from seasonal flu? So taking this into account, regardless of the percentages being talked about, wouldn’t it still make Coronavirus more dangerous seasonal flu?

Finally, we also need to remember that Coronavirus is one strain, but seasonal flu is a collective batch of different strains. If we split these into their different strains would we be having this same conversation?

Social Distancing

When Coronavirus started to hit the UK, it wasn’t long before we were being provided with guidelines to follow, which included social distancing. And while the majority of people are following the government’s requests, you got the dimwits that totally ignored this, and filled up their local parks and created one of the busiest days that Snowdon has ever seen. With people blatantly ignoring the social distancing request.

So how did the government react to this blatant defiance? They put us on lockdown. It was inevitable that a lockdown was going to happen, but the government was trying to keep some normality thinking that we could act like adults and follow the rules. But alas, as per fucking normal, the dipshits don’t know how to follow a straight line, let alone keep 2 metres between each other. So everyone got punished.

Yet we are three weeks into lockdown, and the knob-jockeys still don’t know what social distancing is or how to follow a stupid fucking guideline of ‘don’t go out’! Such as rapper Bugzy Malone (yep, hadn’t heard of him either), who was involved in a serious quad bike accident two days after we were placed into lockdown. And as much I am trying to sympathise with him, a part of me is also like ‘what were you doing out on a quad bike in the first place?’.

Don’t get me wrong, as the weeks have progressed there are more people that are following the guidelines, however last week the government has threatened that not following the guidelines could lead to further restrictions. Yet we carried on and ignored it!

To help tackle, the spread of Coronavirus, the police have been provided with additional powers to support them with their role, which includes fining people who do not comply with the guidelines set out by the government.

With anything that is new, and quickly rushed through parliament, there are issues. With over 100k police officers in the UK, confusion and misunderstanding of what is eligible can be created, and we can hear about these stories such as police watching that you’re only buying essential supplies or that children can’t play in their garden.

For those that know me, I’m always been overly critical of the police (not necessary the officers), because of previous experience and their lack of support when it was required. However, under the circumstances that we are in, the officers are generally doing a good job.

While some people have been giving a fine, the majority of the time people are told to move on and follow the guidelines. Yet, people are still flaunting the rules. And all this will do is extend the lockdown.

Greater Manchester reported that they had over 1000 coronavirus related breaches, which included 660 parties! Now that we’ve been a few weeks into lockdown, people are very aware of what the rules are, and the police have given people enough leeway. I think now we need to be tougher before the government think of restricting the guidelines further.

Anyone who is not following the guidelines, should now automatically get a fine. Leeway needs to go. Anyone that is throwing parties, should get the heaviest fine that can be provided.

Map of Greater Manchester showing all the coronavirus breaches

This lockdown is costing us in so many ways. We can’t see our friends and family. When someone is ill, we can’t be there to support them. People are dying without their family by their bedside. Funerals are being held with minimal attendance.

Plus there are the financial issues that this is costing the country. The government have put a lot into place to try and support the UK, but there is no ‘magic money tree’, and this will cost us in the future. So let’s use the fines to help plug that even if it’s only going to be a pinhole in the overall cost!

On a lighter note, throughout the whole of this, there is one thing that I’ve noticed, that we Brits are getting to do a lot more of an activity that we just love to do…queue!

Shoppers, with trolleys, queuing outside a shop and maintaining social distance

Government’s Response

As the pandemic has reached different countries, there are similarities that they’ve followed. But there are differences too because we’ve been learning as we go along.

Boris Johnson has been placed into a situation that not many leaders have been in, and future leaders wont either for a long time. And credit where credit is due, taken into account that what we’re experiencing is relatively unknown, they are doing a good job.

Don’t get me wrong, the response has not been perfect and mistakes have been made, but generally he’s doing the best that he can do in an extremely bad situation.

However, in something that I wouldn’t expect from a Conservative government, the level of support to people and businesses has been unprecedented. The packages that have been put in place to support small businesses, and to make sure that the amount of people that lose their jobs is reduced, is actually really good. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than fuck all.

And yes, during this time, they have been reactive more than proactive, but the government is literally making this up as they go long. They are making decisions and solutions once they come up. And I totally understand that.

However, this doesn’t change my stance on the Conservatives or Boris Johnson. Once this is over, they will go back to their normal self and penalise those that need it the most.

In relation to Johnson, he historically and continuously lied to us. So it is very difficult at times to really believe some of the stuff that he says. When we live in a world of social media, things will always come back and haunt you, which Johnson has found out.

So when the news broke that the UK would not participate with the EU in relation to ventilators, and this was all a ‘mix-up’, you can’t help but wonder how much of a lie they are telling. Let’s be honest, politically this would be a disaster. Getting into the same bed with the EU, the same union that we have decided to leave (don’t get me started on that). So if we agreed to join in the ventilator scheme, you can see that people would use this as ammunition that we are better in the EU.

But no, instead the UK has ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson. You know, the company that was pro-Brexit but then moved to Singapore for tax purposes. Yeah, that! I just hope that Dyson hasn’t included their standard OTT price tag to go along with the products.

What if?

There are two things that I have seen on social media recently in relation to the way that I think needs to be addressed.

Firstly, there are the anti-Tories who are reminding people of the damage that has been caused during the parties tenure. Let’s remind ourselves, that they are the party that has stripped the NHS of valuable resources and money. And now we’re learning drastically at what cost that has on us.

It’s also reported, that the government had done a pandemic test several years back, which failed drastically. They ignored and hid the whole thing from the public. At the moment, this isn’t the time to raise questions about that, but it should be when everything has calmed down and normality is coming back.

We can praise people for their current actions in this situation, there is nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t mean that we forget about their previous historical actions. And it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to forgive them for the way they’ve acted previously. Boris is still a racist, Raab still has no idea about people unless they have money, Patel is missing in action! Although Boris & Raab have shown a different side to them that actually makes them a little bit better. Patel…not so much!

On the other hand, I’ve seen the Tory supporters on social media defending Johnson and saying that Corbyn wouldn’t be able to do as good a job. But how do they know that? What is the point of ‘What ifs?’ How do we know? What if Thatcher was in power? My opinion, the unemployment rate would be a lot higher, because she would never introduce a furlough package. She wouldn’t give two cahoots about the people…because she never did!

A tit-for-tat on who was leader and how they’d react doesn’t help. You can look at the manifesto, and notice that the current party are now implementing some of Labours policies to support people throughout this time. In fact, a Tory source has stated that they are going to implement the majority of the Labour manifesto during this crisis.

Do you remember that free broadband for everyone manifesto that we all joked at? Not lying, I went ‘you what?’ too. The Tories didn’t think that broadband was an essential commodity, but has now done a u-turn, and put steps in place to make sure that people are always connected. So is there not some truth in relation to offering free broadband after all?

So while we mock that we would be in a worse situation if Corbyn was the leader (granted he would have approached it differently), acknowledge that what he suggested was actually viable and worthy of consideration.

Again, I will reiterate, what I said at the time of elections, I don’t think either Corbyn or Johnson were worthy to be Prime Minister…and I still don’t. That has not change. Once thing have gone back to ‘normal’ it will be the same shite that we had before.

However, the ‘What if’ shite is pointless! What if Labour got in and implemented the policies that the Tories are doing during this crisis? What if we spent less money on Brexit and used that towards the NHS instead? What if we didn’t ignore the failed pendemic test in 2017? What if Boris didn’t shake hands with Coronavirus patients?

We live in a world of what ifs, but what the fuck does it achieve?

Boris Johnson is the current Prime Minister, and people have a right to praise or criticise him and the government for the actions they take. We live in a diplomatic society to make this acceptable. Just because we don’t agree with that party or their policies; we can also put our hands up and say that they are doing a good job at that time.

Coronavirus hits the government

Before I end this blog, it would be wrong to not speak about how Coronavirus has hit the government.

Johnson was the first leader in the country who was tested positive for Coronavirus and needed to go to intensive care, and this created a lot of news for the media for a week.

Although there is a few pointers that I want to raise:

Never be happy, or wish someone dies from Coronavirus! I don’t like the guy, but that is a fucking vile attitude to have. He has a family that needs him. He is human, he makes mistakes, but wishing someone dead? Really?

Don’t get me wrong, having empathy for someone who has contracted it, is different. If you have placed yourself into a situation when you don’t have to, and this increases your chance of contracting COVID-19, then why should people feel sympathetic? But, again, I’m not getting into a ‘what if’ situation here.

Secondly, just because someone is a fighter and ‘he will pull through’ from this is, is a pile of fucking crap! While I get why the government are trying to remain positive, this kind of language is damaging. Basically they are saying that if you die, you just weren’t tough enough! Fuck off! We are seeing people, with no underlying health conditions losing their battle with the virus. So please can Dominic Raab, go and see these families face-to-face and explain why they weren’t a fighter!

Finally, while the government have been facing criticism for the lack of testing, why did the Prime Minister get the right to jump the queue? Let’s remind ourselves what the government guidelines are: if you have symptoms then you self-isolate. Only if things get worse and can’t cope, then you get in contact with the NHS.

Yet, we are being told, that as soon as Boris Johnson had shown symptoms he was tested? Why? We are continuously criticising that there is a two-tiered social system, and all this has done has proved to be correct.

Now I get that he is a key figure in the country at the moment, and I actually don’t disagree that he may get preferential treatment in intensive care, but it’s only fair that he should follow guidelines the same as everyone else is expected to until that additional support is needed.

But, I’m glad that he is out of intensive care now, and I do wish him a speedy recovery. In the same respect, my wishes go to the thousands of those that are still in ICU.

Coming Next

The next in this series is about the World’s Response to the virus. Sorry Trumpy, but you will be slated!

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