Thoughts on ...                                                                        22/4/22

 

Why we must never learn to live with Covid and what we must do instead 

 

 

Updates 16/7/22 - now 200,000 deaths so far; 18/6/22

 

Massive surge in infections proves living with Covid isn’t working. It never will. No use pretending it’s gone away or getting it will protect you. Only answer is to REDUCE TRANSMISSION by MASKING, DISTANCING, HYGIENE, VENTILATION & BEING CAREFUL WHO YOU HUG.

 

Update 31/5/22

 

The inescapable LOGIC of WHY WE MUST NOT LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID.

If death rate is going up it must be brought down.

If death rate is coming down opportunity must be seized to reduce it further. Thankfully it is coming down at present so now is the time for the change of mindset required to get as close to elimination of the virus as possible.

 

Update 25/4/22: Annual mortalities now 119,444                                                                     

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Living with Covid is not working and will never work. The whole idea that we should learn to live with Covid is seriously mistaken. If we continue to pursue this absurd idea it could prove to be one of the greatest mistakes of humankind.

 

What does living with Covid mean? Essentially it means getting back to leading the lives we had before the virus struck; in other words getting back to normal life – at home, at work, at school or college, in our relationships, in our social interactions and in our leisure activities; no Covid restrictions that prevent us from earning a living, going out for a meal or a drink, having a holiday, or attending a wedding or funeral; no restrictions that require us to keep our distance from each other, limit household gatherings, wear masks, change our shopping habits, or isolate if we test positive for the virus.

 

We all want to get back to normal life. Nobody wants restrictions, which unfortunately were not called protections from the start – a far better term to use as it explicitly conveys the intention to look after each other.

 

But the pandemic has been a unique event in human history, much, much more than a once in a generation event. It has been unique and, never mind the cliché, unprecedented; unique and unprecedented because of the disruption it has caused, its global spread and the horrific and unimaginably tragic number of deaths that have resulted from it. The Coronavirus pandemic has been, and still is, is pure science fiction.

 

Although I am sure there will be plenty who will not admit to it, nearly everyone in the world will have suffered from anxiety of some sort as a result of the pandemic – quite a feat for such a microscopic life-form to achieve. In the UK specifically, many people understandably found it difficult to cope with the necessary protections that were introduced to control the spread of the virus. They have had to endure huge mental and emotional problems arising from financial worries, loneliness, not seeing loved ones or friends, pressures on relationships, or worrying about the health of their children or elderly parents.

 

Perhaps I shouldn’t be but I feel less sympathetic towards those who missed going to the pub, night club or football match, or going abroad for a holiday. It should have been possible for most people to be sufficiently resilient to put up with these less serious privations. Members of parliament who spent their time bleating about people’s loss of liberty and the creation of a totalitarian state did the nation they were supposed to be serving a great disservice.

 

Those who had by far the most physical and mental pain to endure, and continue to do so, have been those who died from Covid, those who have suffered serious illness and those who have experienced the desperate anguish of losing someone they love. Every death has been immeasurably tragic for those who are grieving and this is something we must always remember when we see the horrific mortality statistics.

 

In just over two years 190,000 people have died of Covid. This is 1 person in every 353 in the population as a whole. However, since the virus kills far more people in older age groups, it is truly shocking to discover that 1 person in about 179 in the over 45s has been killed by it. It is my firm belief that the vast majority of these deaths would have been avoided if the government had put lives before livelihood and pursued a strategy of suppression rather than mitigation. Other countries did this and our position on the global dashboard clearly shows the tragic failure of our government’s response.

 

At the time of writing the death toll from Covid is 1636 a week which amounts to an annual rate of 85,072. Having removed most legal measures to control Covid, the government appears to be completely unconcerned at the huge number of infections and hospitalisations, and, even more disturbingly, at the current rate of mortalities from the virus. Given this monumental indifference one can only assume that Johnson and Javid regard the present state of affairs as a perfectly acceptable level of Covid for us to live with.

 

In my view it is a totally unacceptable level which must surely be seen as such when compared with pre-pandemic levels. This is the only honest and relevant comparison to make. Before the pandemic there were no infections, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid at all. It is dishonest and irrelevant to compare these numbers with the peaks of the various waves when they were at their highest.  The fact that they are now lower than the peaks may be comforting for some but it is a dangerous delusion.

 

There is, of course, nothing to stop us living with Covid at any level if we are happy to accept the consequences of not doing anything about it. We would just be thankful for the vaccines and therapies that are so far reducing serious illness and mortalities and if, despite these treatments, there is still a high incidence of serious illness and death we would accept this as inevitable. Unfortunately this defeatist attitude would become embedded in society and result in permanent uncertainty, permanent disruption to our daily lives, and, most crucially, a grotesque amount of permanent, avoidable illness and death.

 

I cannot bring myself to believe that the British people will accept the present level of avoidable illness and death. Nor can I believe that the British people do not understand the massive disruption to the health service it will produce or the massive disruption to people’s daily lives, to employment, to businesses, to the economy and to education.  Essentially our society is filled with caring and humane people who may be rather easily led at times, as I am too, but who have big hearts and plenty of compassion. It is for this reason that living with Covid will not work.

 

So, what must we do? We must begin by thinking things through calmly and rationally to change our mindsets. Once we have done that we must constantly reinforce our beliefs so they are firmly fixed both intellectually and emotionally. In other words we must persuade and brainwash ourselves, and others, to think and act differently. This is the most difficult part of what we must do but the most important.

 

We must change our mindsets in two respects. First we must not accept that we should learn to live with the virus at any level above a bare minimum that can be comfortably controlled and managed. I have called this Nano Covid and have previously stated that this level should be less than one hundred mortalities a year. It sounds completely unrealistic but it is not – if we change our mindsets in a second respect.

 

We must change from accepting defeat and surrendering to the virus to a mindset that is determined to win the war against it. It is understandable, but not heroic, to ignore it and get on with normal life by hugging your friends, not wearing a mask, going to the pub or watching a game of football in a packed stadium. It is more courageous to confront the reality that Covid is a merciless killer that must be hunted down and destroyed.

 

The way to do this is by launching an immediate and massive counter-attack against it and fighting it all the way. Armed with a “no surrender” mindset the counter-offensive will require three courses of action:

 

1    The whole country coming together in a spirit of determination. We must have a government of national unity in which our elected politicians are not shackled by mindlessly adhering to the party line. We need politicians who can think for themselves and understand the concerns of ordinary people.

A unity government would not only be a symbol of national togetherness and determination it would command wide, non-partisan support for its decisions. Some of these decisions would require reintroducing mandatory measures to protect each other and some would require strong, continuous messaging about what we should all be doing voluntarily as a matter of course.

A spirit of unity should be fostered in local communities too, in towns, cities, villages and neighbourhoods.  Residents and businesses should encourage each other to do their utmost to reduce infections and be given incentives such as community grants, or tax rebates if they succeed.

 

2    The continued use of all medical therapies such as vaccines and antivirals as well as mitigation equipment like screens, air purifiers, and PPE. There should be generous funding of research into the development of new therapies and mitigations, a priority for the latter being some sort of instant Covid test.

 

3    Impeccable behaviour based upon the best of human values and instincts: caring for others, kindness, unselfishness, generosity, determination, self-discipline.

 

These values must translate into all the practical measures we must continue to take in order to protect each other until Covid is virtually eliminated. We must avoid as much close human contact as possible and keep 2 metres apart indoors and outside. We must wear high grade masks, wipe surfaces and groceries, and return to regular hand-sanitising especially after touching things where the virus can linger. We must test as frequently as necessary and always isolate when the test is positive.

 

           *********

 

At present people seem relaxed about the unbelievably colossal rates of transmission which is not surprising if they have had Covid themselves and only had mild symptoms. Unfortunately they are in the grip of a false sense of security as the virus will continue to outwit us. This is not catastrophic thinking but a realistic assessment of what has happened so far with new variants, vaccine waning, low vaccine take up and lax behaviour all contributing to the perilous situation in which we find ourselves.

 

People must be told not to be relaxed about Covid. It is the government’s duty to tell people to be permanently on their guard. There must be strong, honest and repeated messaging that getting Covid can make you poorly, or seriously ill, or kill you. Equally there must be a firm message that by getting it you are putting others in danger, and that the more people who get it the more it spreads.

 

It has been obvious from the start that the less human contact there is the less opportunity there is for infections to spread. Until infection rates are reduced to an absolute minimum the key to driving them down, and keeping them down, will be to have as little close contact with other people as possible.

 

We would not learn to live with murderous and merciless terrorists rampaging across the country and slaughtering our loved ones, friends and strangers at a rate of 85,000 a year. We would not countenance such a possibility. It would exist only within the realms of a horror fantasy.

But this is what we are doing with Covid. We are allowing a merciless, serial killer to murder our fellow humans at random on an unthinkable scale. (1) This is not fantasy it is reality. The virus has brought, and is still bringing, pain, suffering and death, most of which is entirely avoidable. It has to be stopped and it can be.

 

Our leaders have let us down badly and by allowing them to do this we have let ourselves down badly. We have let ourselves down badly as a national society and a global society, and we have let ourselves down as a species.

 

By coming together with love, kindness and determination we will defeat it. We must fight it all the way, never surrender and never learn to live with it.

 

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1    I appreciate the virus is not intent on killing anyone but it can’t stop itself.

 

Note:

 

This link is to an excellent scientific article explaining about new variants and why they will not become less virulent.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00722-z