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The whole truth, you can't handle the truth!
Well, here we are, September and the numbers on the slides are looking good, the prospect of a vaccine and lots of holidaymakers and sightseeing foreigners are still short on the ground, the pubs are struggling and the restaurant business can't open, we have to wear a mask, on transport, in shops and supermarkets. And normality is returning. The schools are open, the students are going back to uni and more workers are going back to the office (sorry, BBC have gone very OTT, to omit news that would criticise certain people) just remember all the letters into the head office of the BBC, demanding that a bias towards the left of middle when talking about politics. I can't remember the last time this wasn't all over the news about the news. Some senior backbenchers only wanted to open the country back again. Still no stop of people coming into the country, even through the first wave.
Because of the fear of furlough ending and some of the restrictions are still in place, thousands of workers didn't know when they were going to get paid, more thousands were let go, sacked, finished, fired and rehired, then put back on furlough. Many were jobless with no income. So the majority of those effected had the humiliation of begging for state aid, the food banks, the reliance of family, and debt in the future. There was millions who wouldn't know the future, how the future looked, how many would not have a job to go back to. And then there was the self-employed, it is estimated that there was 3million who couldn't get anything for being in lockdown.
No one was safe, especially from capitalistic bad owners, who don't really care about anything except profit.
There was still the mixed messaging, the cabinets reluctance to agree and of course, questions of how we count those effected and found to have the virus.
Still, the track and trace being useless, people who were not sure what to do when found positive, then those who couldn't isolate because of the threat of losing their jobs. And more than anything, getting any financial help when isolating. The shielding, the at risk list, and of course the care homes, nothing had changed. But other than the odd few in hospital. The country was preparing for the future. The country was borrowing more money, after years of austerity and the destruction of the public sector, the austerity measures were designed to pay off the debt. It's alarming that after so long in austerity, we hadn't paid enough to lower the debt, in fact it increased. There was not enough investment in the infrastructure and growth of the economy was still recovering from the mortgage crisis in the banking world. it's frightening how badly we were prepared for anything. This year and everything that followed was ten years in the making and going to cost the middle and lower classes for years.
With parents buying new school uniforms and books for students and the fees paid for those who are fortunate to go to private schools, these youth going back to digs or for the first time away. Life was getting back to some sort of arrangements to cope with covid, work place for covid, school bubbles, and so on, social distancing being the in word.
October was for all sense and purposes, the new word was variant. What was going on was that the original virus was running out of steam and a new version, was discovered in the UK, they named it the Kent variant.
This spread to most of the world especially North America, until later on in the year came the south African variant, then the Brazilian variant, were the government there, was convinced the president told everyone that it was a form of flu and didn't act upon the evidence of not going into lockdown. How the south African variant or the Brazilian, got to this country, because of open borders, not many checks, no isolation, no organisation and particularly for a highly infectious virus, no system in place to quarantine infectious visitors.
So with that all happening, the country slowly walked into a covid nightmare, that nobody saw coming not even the experts.
The statistics were there, a slow climb of infections and the new variant was spreading, the testing was escalating, knowing who was infected became a novel way of trying to stem the tide of patients who needed hospital treatment. Because this was why it became a reason, for the numbers of new cases. The new variants didn't stop the political bouncing ball of populism.
There was no plans, except for knee-jerk reaction to what was happening. The new thinking was areas of high infections the higher the testing, trace and isolation. This response was simply papering over the need to do anything. the virus didn't care., all through this month, the economy and keeping the hospital with enough infrastructure to cope with the next wave.
I was watching breakfast tv during this period and because of the restrictions on travel for the last six months and the holiday industry, airports and airline companies were really struggling, laying pilots and cabin crew off. A minister from the Greek government was being interviewed, he was saying that the Greek economy was based on tourism as was a lot of Europe's countries, and following that, he stated that the UK was reliant on the city for its wealth and influence. Apparently our economy is based on investment banking, and the business of stocks and shares, money, money, money. This did open my eyes and it became clear to me that if despite supposedly being democratic, we are totally reliant on the very rich, who has a decent lifestyle, and those unfortunate to be begging for decency, reliance on food banks and dodgy landlords, no chance of getting a mortgage, renting has in the last ten years has rocketed. The government pension just about covers your rent and local taxes are twisting the life out of social care. This new government was elected to 'level out' but every day hundreds of those who are struggling because of everything going on are joining the poverty line. The minimum wage is about £50 too low, brexit has exacerbated the situation. The number of EU citizens that because of the overall situation they found themselves, went home. How many times did the experts, biologists, virologists, senior professors from universities, and I will say that one particular lady from Scotland, predicted everything correctly. And in particular, into October due to the obvious surge in cases advised that we should lockdown two weeks before the country actually did. The lack of action because the prime minister was not convinced about another lockdown, did not, at all protect the economy, lives, livelihoods or the NHS. The approach of the flu season and still a couple of months from a vaccine. The majority of the world responded very quickly, we dithered. And delayed, and when it was totally inevitable that at the end of October, a sudden u turn, on a Friday, the country was locking down again.. it was too late and led to a longer-term lockdown that anyone could envisage.
Everyone was asking for a circuit breaker of about a month tops, with everyone focused on the Christmas season, because the messages were coming thick and fast, it will be ok for Christmas and it will be great.
As we moved through those months before Christmas, the virus took hold, infections soared, hospitals were getting fuller despite better equipment, understanding, pharmaceutical, testing, masks, PPE. When I say testing the track and chase hit the headlines as it emerged that it didn't work, bad enough the government had thrown millions of pounds into the private company, which had the health minister crooning about the best in the world etc. But to scrap it all again, and start over. And they called it the NHS test and trace system. It had nowt to do with the NHS or the local health officials.
The day that lockdown commenced in October saw the highest rates in the north west particularly around greater Manchester, but became widespread across Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside into Yorkshire, then up to the north east and not long after Scotland was seeing infections growing in the big cities.
Greater London was seeing mounting infections especially in the deprived areas and were Asian and other minority ethnic groups were living, the new variants targeted those who were elderly, or had other existing conditions such as heart, lungs, diabetes when pneumonia occurs.
The death rates continually grew. All the volunteers who helped in the first wave were called upon again as the country was testing, testing and anxious about the winter ahead. The army was called in to help, all extra facilities were put on standby, however we did not have the trained doctors, nurses, ancillary staff and even the infrastructure to staff.
Going into December, we were presented with news of a relaxation at Christmas for five days in which we could travel to see our relatives, go Christmas shopping, and have family around for Christmas dinner and all watch the Queen together. This was met with at first joy, then really? Of course being a Christian, the virus will stop infecting those who want to celebrate!!! Of course this was based on scientific evidence that the virus had plateaued, a and was expected to decline further, so we could enjoy Christmas!
The breaking news despite the opening up messages from ministers was that earlier in the year, two women from the UK had found a formula for protection against the virus. This Oxford vaccine was heralded the game changer, the way out of lockdowns and saving lives. The government gave the task of organizing the roll out to, and it surprised most people, to the NHS! I'm not kidding! Really!
But didn't a Turkish couple working for Pfizer, created the first jab?
The previous ten years of austerity and declining investment, to give the impression that the best health service, was failing because it was public domain, the government has always wanted to bring privatization back into health. And how it is paid for. And the American health insurance companies were very, very, very interested and held talks with the government, during brexit as part of a trade deal and early in the pandemic. As the whole country was clapping for the NHS. With ministers on door steps joining in, the hypocrisy, of what was going on behind closed doors, is an absolute disgrace but hardly unexpected. The president was seen off by the democrats, and the trade talks have not been heard since. By the middle of the month the drop of infections had gone up not down and the death rate started going through the roof. The call to cancel Christmas was getting louder, the vaccine rollout had just started with NHS staff and care homes, the most vulnerable, and then on to those shielding. As the virus so far had targeted the elderly and vulnerable, and I must bring up those NHS staff who died on the front line, that because of how the country wasn't prepared for this or started learning the lessons from other countries and certainly some professors who had predicted everything that has happened. But they haven't, the news about Christmas and vaccines, was going ahead despite the numbers. And the government announced it was cutting the holiday to Christmas and boxing day. And changed the advice on the number of people who could meet with the windows open! We rarely get a hot day, we get plenty of cloud and damp. To describe our weather, it's cold, wet and windy! I know that a really thick layer of a lot of clothing would be required.
Time never stops, nor does this virus, the holidays came and a new year was hurtling towards us. The impact of trying to enjoy Christmas was an unforgivable mistake. The number of deaths were shocking and once again it did occur to me if everything that we were advised to do. Was that it was designed to confuse the general public and everyone getting a vaccine. So that the top Tories could claim all sorts about how Churchillian the government is. And being a free market in a free society, where only if you had money, could you get the help you need. Just one more thought.
If we get a new variant that delivers a load big enough to make the vaccine useless, how long could we do without a vaccine. If the country isn't aware of how this virus can mutate. And doesn't get the whole world vaccines, this could turn from a catastrophe into Armageddon.
Since brexit the power grab, the lack of rights, no constitutional rights, the laws of the land manipulation to benefit the rich. And the country must not go back to normal. Why?
Everyone was surprised when they started hearing that this virus would be with us for quite some time.
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