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Coronavirus - 2020 Vision. The road to Freedom Day Part 2

The complete diary and events of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

PART 2.

 

This day-by-day factual and complete account of events throughout the coronavirus pandemic, written as it happened, gives incredible insight into what life was like during this tragic and historic pandemic in the United Kingdom and worldwide.

It includes facts and figures, government initiatives, news events, moving individual accounts, and the horrific consequences, as they happened each day.

There is also a daily, personal slant on what life was like for the author and his family during what threatened to be an apocalyptic event.

Not including the preamble, the diary covers 491 days, beginning in earnest on 16th March 2020 until ‘Freedom Day’ on 19th July 2021. It has been something of a commitment for the author, resulting in around 1,700 pages; well over half a million words; determined to get the best, and most interesting stories for you to read and to keep as a record of the times for generations to come.

It reveals all humanity in its idiocy, compassion and brilliance; the key elements, significant dates, statistics, human stories, tragedies, government strategies, the twists and turns, the humour and the obtuse.

The coronavirus will define this generation and identify these times, like other rare global historical events such as the bubonic plague and the World Wars.

This book is something to show your children and grandchildren when they ask you what it was like during such a frightening time. It can also be used as a point of reference for historians, commentators, and educators. It is also merely for posterity.

Were you alive? Do you recall it? Do you remember our Prime Minister almost died with Covid-19? Remember, murderers in jail being vaccinated weeks before the prison officers? The Queen saying ‘we’ll meet again’ during lockdown? Surely you recollect the EU conducting ‘an act of hostility’ towards the UK to get their hands on our vaccines? The thirty police officers fined for having a haircut, or the first man in the world to be vaccinated being called William Shakespeare from Stratford Upon Avon!

The whole world was plunged into chaos, with death, suffering and economic disaster. How did we cope? How did all of this happen? According to Keith’s wife, Jackie, it was ‘all because a man ate a bat!’

 

Keith Wright previously worked leading Corporate Investigations for a global pharmacy retailer. He has worked on major Crisis Management Incidents alongside senior executives impacting across the world of pharmaceutical product management.

Critically acclaimed crime novelist, and former CID detective, Wright moves from fiction to a factual account of arguably the most historic natural event to blight humanity in modern times.

He has four children and lives in Nottingham, England, with his wife, Jackie.

 

 

All rights reserved ©KeithWright2021

Copyright©KeithWright2021

 

If you are affected by any issues raised in the book contact:

The Samaritans or check local charities.

 

All information believed correct at the time of writing.

 

Diary entries gathered from an array of publicly available visual, audio and written sources and merged

to give a holistic and creative editorial view.

 

Glossary and source lists are available at the end of the book.

 

 

 

PART 2

 

The worst is yet to come.

I would hope that those truly engaged in these coronavirus events will read the complete tome. I am conscious that it also needs to be accessible, so I made it available in three parts. It is pretty much the first wave in part one, and the second wave in part 2 and our extraordinary journey to ‘Freedom Day’ in the third.

I could never have anticipated how this mess would play-out, nor predict the twists and turns ahead of us, sometimes in the most bizarre ways. Worse, the onslaught this wretched virus continues to wreak upon us is nothing less than a global tragedy. What we have experienced in the last few months was merely a warm-up for what is about to happen. We were playing at it.

We pick up where we left off in Part One of this definitive guide to a deadly global pandemic; trying to live in the ‘new normal’ while preventing cases rising and causing a second wave and horror-upon-horrors a second lockdown.

However, it seems that the die is cast, and rising cases are fuelling further speculation that the tweaked societal restrictions are not going to be enough to contain this virus and sadly, the worst is yet to come.

We pick up where we left off in PART 1.

 

SUNDAY 4th OCTOBER 2020

As we enter the second wave, and entries are increasing, I shall be resuming daily updates, which are more concise and there is likely to be too much information over three days per update. The length of this diary is testimony to this.

Facts and figures.

Nothing for a pair.

Sunday 27th September 2020 – 4,044 new cases and 13 deaths.

Monday 28th September 2020 – 7,143 new cases. 71 deaths.

Tuesday 29th September 2020 – 7,108 new cases. 71 deaths.

Wednesday 30th September 2020 – 6,914 new cases. 59 deaths.

Thursday 1st October 2020 - 6,968 new cases.  66 deaths.

Friday 2nd October 2020 - *12,872 new cases.   49 deaths.

Saturday 3rd October 2020 - *22,961 new cases.    33 deaths.

That old chestnut.

*Author’s note. Incredibly the government announce they have messed up again. You will see in the figures above the rather large increase in new cases per day. The government has said that this is due to a technical problem. 15,841 of those figures go back over several days. They had been missed and so they have added them on!

Worse, the Track and Trace system has overlooked those exposed to the virus who have been in contact with those testing positive.

To support the assertion that it is a technical issue, the government issued a breakdown of when these figures were missed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is a confusing picture with original figures not matching those published whether through time-lapse or indeed the actual technical issue itself. What I can report is that the total persons testing positive so far in the UK is 502,978.

Slightly marred.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 the Prime Minister said,

 ‘All the people who had a positive test have now been notified, and I think the data that we have is realistic, and again it’s very useful in helping us to identify, you know, where the incidence is and what we need to do to tackle it.’

Mr Johnson went on to say.

 ‘It is going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas, and it may be bumpy beyond.’

Cases in England, according to the ONS were down in the last week to the 24th of September 2020; 8,400 per day as opposed to 9,600 per day during the previous week.

Looking beyond those who have been tested the ONS estimates that 116,600 people had the disease in England compared to 103,600 the previous week.

The r number has again increased and is now estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.6. This is of concern, and this rise needs to be stemmed. The highest areas are London, the Northeast and Yorkshire.

On Friday 2nd September news broke that there had been a huge outbreak at Northumbria University with 770 people testing positive for COVID-19. Only 78 are symptomatic.

St Eustatius.

Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius, and Sabia have all been added to the quarantine list by the UK commencing 4am Saturday 3rd October 2020.

Poland stands at 25.9 per 100,000 of population.

Turkey is an interesting case as it is displaying an infection rate of only 12.9 per 100k which is nowhere near the 20-mark used as the general yardstick for imposing quarantine by the UK. It transpires that Turkey has revealed it has been recording new cases in a different way to the rest of the International community.

Last week Denmark, Slovakia and Iceland were added to the quarantine list.

Italy must be getting pretty close with 20.4 per 100k with new cases.

 

Daily news.

On Thursday, after the briefing by the PM. Tougher restrictions were announced in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

It will be illegal for different households to meet in settings such as pubs and restaurants as well as at home. People cannot attend amateur sports events as spectators and can only attend care homes in exceptional circumstances.

Keeping it together.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘together we need to act’ as the number of cases in Liverpool is 268 per 100,000 population.

Andy Preston, the Mayor of Middlesbrough, said the measures were ‘unacceptable’ and that the restrictions will ‘kill viable jobs and damage mental health.’

In a dramatic response he went on to say,

 ‘I do not accept the government’s intended restrictions – they’re based on ignorance.’

Author’s note. It looks like with this leadership the numbers are not going down anytime soon. Let’s see, shall we?

Negligent MP

On Thursday, we discover an act of incredible stupidity by an MP who is member of the Scottish National Party – Margaret Ferrier admitted to travelling on public transport after testing positive for COVID 19. She said,

 ‘no excuse for my actions, I apologise unreservedly for breaching COVID 19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn’t have.’

On Saturday she experienced mild symptoms and requested a COVID19 test which she took that day. She then travelled by train to Westminster from Scotland. On the Monday she received a positive test result and travelled home by train on the Tuesday morning.

This is extremely irresponsible, and Test and Trace are trying to locate all the passengers on the train and her contacts throughout the House of Commons, the very heart of the British government.

Whip around.

The SNP has removed the whip and so she is no longer an SNP MP and so cannot be sacked by the party. There are calls for her to resign.

The police have been informed about the risk she has placed on the staff and MPS as well as the public. The Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police are investigating.

Paradoxically Margaret Ferrier was among those vehemently clamouring for Dominic Cummings to be sacked when he drove in his car to a location whilst isolating.

 

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS CONTRACTED COVID 19!

We awake here in the UK on Friday 2nd October 2020 to the news that the President of the United States Donald Trump, aged 74, has contracted COVID-19 along with his wife Melania, the First Lady of the United States.

How has this happened?

Hope.

The first indication of an issue happened when The President tweeted around 3 am Friday 2nd October 2020, UK time:

‘Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!’

Hope Charlotte Hicks is the 31-year-old advisor to President Trump and former White House communications director from August 2017 until March 2018. She has been working closely with the President and travelled with him to the Presidential debate two days ago.

At 5.54am UK (12 mn Washington time) time the President tweeted:

‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’

At 6.25 am UK time the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump tweeted:

‘As far too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.’

A vigilant watch.

At 7.00 am UK Time the President’s physician Sean P. Conley, DO, FACEP, put out a statement:

‘I release the following information with the permission of President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

This evening I received confirmation that both President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.

The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.’

Speedy.

At 08.56 UK time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted:

‘My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.’

Vulnerable senior.

According to the White House Schedule for the 74-year-old President, ironically, he was due to host a phone call this morning with ‘COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.’

43,000 new cases occurred overnight throughout the United States; they are still amid a devastating pandemic. Their population is five times that of the UK, of course.

The initial reaction to this shocking news scans across the spectrum from those on social media praying for him to die, to conspiracy theories, to world leaders wishing him a speedy recovery.

There has been much made about the President’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the USA with hundreds of thousands of deaths and 7 million have had the virus to date.

Unmasked.

The President has been robust in his antipathy towards masks and demonstrating that he scarcely wears one. So much so that it has become a political issue with Trump supporters refusing to wear them versus Democrats supporting them. Recent criticism of his political rallies, although held outdoors, showed a lack of social distancing and the majority of attendees not wearing masks.

His main competitor for the Presidency Joe Biden will have to consider whether to suspend his election campaign to allow equity if President Trump cannot campaign. The next Presidential debate is due on 15th October 2020, but of course, everything is now up in the air. Presidential candidate Joe Biden will now be tested after the debate on Tuesday may have brought him in close contact with the Trumps.

Danger zone.

More important is the reality that President Trump is very much in the danger zone for someone with COVID-19. He is 6’3” tall and weighs 244 pounds giving him a body mass index of 30.5. He is 74 years old, and we know from the American CDC this means he is five times more likely to be hospitalised and in the USA 8 out of 10 people who have died because of the virus are over 65 years old.

Moreover he is on medication; Rosuvastatin to control cholesterol, Finasteride which is administered for an enlarged prostate which is not uncommon for men of a certain age.

One senior cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said,

 ‘it is likely that Donald Trump has metabolic syndrome which puts him at the highest risk of death or hospital admission from the virus.’ He said, ‘the president faces a three-fold risk of death and five-fold risk of hospitalisation.’

Rife.

On Friday, President Trump was admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Centre by Presidential Helicopter; Marine One. The establishment is a military hospital geared out for the President to work from and to simultaneously receive the best medical care. The suggestion is that he is only having mild symptoms, but speculation is rife as information has been reluctantly and scarcely released. 

Drinking cocktails.

After taking ill with COVID-19, Mr Trump’s physician, Dr Sean P. Conley has informed us that the President has been injected twice (up to Saturday) with an experimental 8g dose of a Regeneron cocktail of drugs containing various medication as well as Remdesivir. He has also been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.

On Saturday the President’s Physician Sean Conley gave a press conference outside Walter Reed, alongside around 8 other nurses and doctors treating the world leader.

A breath of fresh air.

He was a little evasive, notably around whether the President had been given oxygen. He did say that the president’s fever was now gone, but that it would be day 7 – 10 that indicates which way it is going to go with the patient.

Day 7 should be Thursday 8th October, next week. I say ‘should be’ because the Physician mentioned that it was 72 hours that the President had been infected, yet that would make it midday Wednesday, not late Thursday night when it was announced by the White House.

The media seem a little sceptical that they are being told the whole truth. CNN report that a White House source close to numerous reporters has said that the President’s vital signs over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical and that they were still not on a clear path.

Author’s note- having watched the Physician’s press conference and comments by others that he brought in, I did not feel wholly convinced. Hopefully, there is nothing to be concerned about.

8 senior White House officials and Senators and 3 journalists have now tested positive with COVID-19. All of these people attended the White House gathering where the President announced the candidate for the Supreme Court, Amy Cony Barratt.

Tweet.

As Saturday progressed The President tweeted:

‘Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!’

Did President Trump personally tweet this? You decide.

Upbeat.

Just when you think that things could not get more bizarre, as we eased into Sunday Mr Trump’s Physician Sean Conley again spoke and this time confessed that the President had in fact been given Oxygen on two occasions, (despite initially denying this). He said the denial was to keep things ‘upbeat.’

Author’s note. This admission now makes everything coming from him totally untrustworthy.

Regardless, they said that he was ‘not yet out of the woods,’ but they were ‘cautiously optimistic.’ Dr Conley said the President had a high fever on Friday and a blood oxygen level below 94% before he was taken to hospital. His blood oxygen level is now at 98%.

We also learned that the President had been given Dexamethasone, the steroid treatment which is only given when a patient has been given oxygen support and usually to those most ill.

TFI Friday.

When was he given this? On Friday or latterly? If on Friday, then it may be plausible that he is starting to feel better. If today, then it implies that he is still very unwell.

Covid school.

The madness continues. Trump puts out a video where he speaks to camera, as follows:

‘(The Staff are) Just absolutely amazing and I just want to thank them all, the nurses, the doctors, everybody here. I’ve also got to meet some of the soldiers, the first responders, and…what a group, I also think we’re going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street, and they’ve been out there for a long time. They’ve got Trump flags and they love our country, so I’m not telling anybody but you, but I’m about to make a little surprise visit, so perhaps I’ll get there before you get to see me, but when I look at the enthusiasm, and we have enthusiasm like probably nobody’s ever had, people that love the job we’re doing have more enthusiasm than maybe anybody.

 It’s been very interesting, I’ve learned a lot about COVID, I learned it by really going to school, this is the real school, this isn’t the let’s read the books school, and I get it, and I understand it, and it’s a very interesting thing, I’m going to be letting you know about it. In the meantime, we love the USA, and we love what’s happening. Thank you.’

Yes, people of the future, now reading this. This is how he spoke; with enthusiasm ‘like probably nobody’s ever had.’

Cavalcade.

So, from the not so sublime to the ridiculous. The next thing we know there is a cavalcade of cars driving outside the Hospital up and down the adjacent public road, where a hundred or so Trump supporters had gathered.

In one of the cars was President Trump in a mask and waving!

Extraordinary.

Author’s note. Turns out at COVID school he got a D.

25th Amendment.

Anyway, if the worst-case scenario occurred and the President died or was put on a ventilator, Vice President Mike Pence would take the reigns as acting President. The President would invoke the 25th Amendment and write to the Chair of the senate, Nancy Pelosi, to inform them that he would hand the presidency to the vice president. A letter would then be written to revoke it once the incapacitation was resolved.

Author’s note. It feels like the world is holding its breath and while he is reportedly not suffering at the moment, we know from our own Prime Minister that the disease can turn very quickly, and he almost lost his life. On social media they are selling gold $100 bills saying, ‘Trump beat COVID’. I tweeted that they should wait a few days before making a purchase.

Crosshairs.

Our Prime Minister worked in Number 10 for over a week with the virus and then suddenly plummeted into ICU and near death. Admittedly we have learnt a lot since then, and Dexamethasone and the cloning antibody treatment will help Trump to some extent. It is still a killer virus, though and he is trapped in the crosshairs.

As of today (Sunday) the USA has had 7,416,126 cases and 209,787 deaths. We aren’t hearing much about those, however.

Incidentally…

A couple of side stories related to the President’s illness:

Bizarrely one US resident a guy called Tim Hogan @TiminHonolulu tweeted an hour before the announcement that he predicted President Trump had the virus. How did he know this? He observed via the internet that the USA had put up an aircraft on the West coast, an E6-B followed shortly afterwards by another. He said he would expect them to pop-up if he tested positive.

These are the planes that

 ‘has the ability of killing everyone on earth if someone attacks the US with nukes in a first strike.’

It is a message to America’s adversaries that even if the leadership may appear unstable their military systems are intact and ready if needed. We and the world watches and waits.

Corky Siemaszko of NBC News tells us that President Trump is not the first president to be infected in a pandemic. President Woodrow Wilson caught Spanish Flu while he was negotiating the German surrender aftermath details in April 1919 in Paris.

His second wife, Edith Wilson, covered for him and said that he was suffering from exhaustion because of overwork.

 

Sunday newspaper headlines:

Trump: Will I die?

 – Sunday Mirror.

Trump gambles on radical new drugs to beat the virus

 – The Sunday Times.

Boris’s Dad broke his Mum’s nose

 – The Mail On Sunday.

Just how ill is President Trump?

 – Sunday Express.

Trump given oxygen as vital signs concerning.

 – The Sunday Telegraph.

Fears grow for Trump’s health amid chaos over election plans

 – The Observer.

 

Family life.

Murder.

On Saturday 3rd I was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham – The Alan Clifford Show, to promote my latest crime thriller novel, ‘Murder Me Tomorrow.’ I appear regularly on Alan’s show but always in the studio. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions I had to do it over the phone. This brought with it certain complications. I had to move locations at one stage, and they went to music because the signal was not good.

Having moved and returned to the show once the signal improved, it was a little confusing as Alan, and I often chat in between records off-air, but in the studio, you can clearly see what is happening; on the phone less so. Anyway, the subject matter of our talk helped to indicate what was happening—just a little glimpse at some of the minor irritations affecting everyday working life.

Herd Immunity experiment.

Today, Sunday, I drove my son, Harry, to the University of Exeter, Southend-On-Sea Campus. When he got there, he was given a COVID-19 antigen test, with a pinprick to his finger. He was negative - he has not had the virus.

That is it now. He is in amongst it. Let us hope all is well and the best-case scenario, which is to be asymptomatic before he comes home happens, or he avoids the scourge altogether. He is in the South East which is one of the best parts of the UK at the moment so I’m sure he will be fine, if he can get past the first couple of weeks as those students from around the country gather together.

He will be in a bubble so let us see how things pan out. I am a little nervous about it. But I am his Dad after all. I don’t like the thought he might be a Herd Immunity experiment by the government.

Quote of the day:

‘It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit’. – Noel Coward.

 

MONDAY 5TH OCTOBER 2020

Bare back rider.

Today there was speculation that the President might return to the White House from hospital. I would be very surprised were that the case, it seems to be the intent to show him as a strong, super-hero type leader. Next, he will be seen, bare chest, riding a saddleless horse, like Russia’s President Putin, I am supposing.

Wrestling in France.

Meanwhile in France, they continue to wrestle with the second wave of the virus and have announced that they are again going to shut all bars and cafés from Tuesday for at least two weeks. The government there has raised the coronavirus alert to maximum.

Globally there has been 35,654,271 reported cases of COVID-19 and 1,046,809 deaths.

Wrong again.

I was wrong; at 6.30pm Washington time, the President Donald Trump indeed checked himself out of the Walter Reed Hospital. What happened next was quite extraordinary and almost a rehearsed movie surpassing the drive-by waving session of the day before. I watched it live with my chin on the floor.

The President walked out of the front doors wearing a mask and stepped into a cavalcade of cars 12 in number. They drove a couple of hundred yards to the waiting helicopter ‘Marine One’ and Mr Trump got into it.

A little strange.

The helicopter was then followed on camera all the way to the White House lawn, which was probably around ten minutes or so. This was when things got a little strange.

The President got out and walked up a large flight of steps to the front veranda of the White House. He had a backdrop of American flags. The President stopped and turned to face the cameras. He then purposely ripped off his face mask in a defiant gesture and after a short while saluted as the helicopter took off.

Gasping.

Beyond this, as the cameras zoomed in on the President as he stood regally on the White House terrace, he was struggling for breath. He was sucking air in through his mouth in that way where your chest rises and falls, almost gasping. He was grimacing and gritting his teeth.

He then turned and went inside the White House where there were many people waiting for him. This is a man with COVID-19 and according to experts will be shedding millions of particles of the virus. Astonishing.

The president went on to make a statement that Americans had nothing to fear from COVID-19 and they must not let it dominate their lives.

 ‘Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.’

He said he felt better than he did twenty years ago.

An invincible hero.

We know he is on powerful steroids which can give you a tremendous sense of well-being and invincibility, as well as mess with your mind. The President incredibly retweeted a message from a journalist @MirandaDevine of the New York Post. Part of the tweet read:

 ‘If the President bounces back onto the campaign trail, he will be an invincible hero, who not only survived every dirty trick the Democrats threw at him, but the Chinese virus as well. He will show America we no longer have to be afraid.’

President Trump added to the retweet:

 ‘Thank you Miranda. Was over until the Plague came in from China. Will win anyway!’

High as a kite.

In a video message he said,

 ‘We’re going back to work; we’re going to be out front. As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. I know there is a risk, there is danger, but that’s ok. Now I’m better and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.’

Legs away.

We know from our experience with our own Prime Minister that this virus can suddenly take your legs away from you and within an hour be in ICU fighting for your life.

The President, to quote his own physician is ‘not yet out of the woods.’ His one advantage is the timing of the infection because he has the benefit of new therapies which our Prime Minister did not have. The Dexamethasone, Remdesivir and a cocktail of new and not yet available drugs which give him a much better chance of survival.

210,762 Americans have died with COVID-19 in the last 5 months and 7,494,357 have been infected with the virus.

So, do the Americans have a President who is strong and tough and kicking COVID’s ass? Or one who in the name of vanity and image is recklessly sending out the wrong message to the world, a false message that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about? You decide.

Quote of the day.

‘For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.’ – John Steinbeck.

 

TUESDAY 6TH OCTOBER 2020

Facts and figures.

On Tuesday there was a total of 2,783 patients in English hospitals with COVID-19.

A week prior it was 1,881. Sadly, there were 349 on ventilators compared with 259 the week previously.

 

Daily news.

No change in condition.

Today the President tweeted a message to the American people:

 ‘Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our country? No, we have to learn to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!’

Coach trip.

Rishi Sunak has launched a £238 million scheme to help the jobless get back to work. 13,500 work coaches will deliver the programme as it progresses. Only those on benefits will qualify and the scheme will support and advise those looking for work in ‘growing sectors.’

That is fine and dandy but with four million unemployed projected for the end of the year, it would be nice to actually have the jobs to apply for first.

The initiative is called ‘JETS,’ the Job Entry Targeted Support scheme. Theresa Coffey the Works and Pensions Secretary said,

 ‘JETS will give recently unemployed people the helping hand they need to get back into work, boosting the prospects of more than a quarter of a million people across Britain.’

It feels a bit like putting the cart before the horse. A bit gimmicky. Something an invincible hero might do.

Quote of the day.

‘I like to be admired from afar, and then complimented up close.’- Gena Showalter

 

WEDNESDAY 7TH OCTOBER 2020

Facts and figures.

Here in good old Blighty, the papers say that ‘less than half’ the population in the UK will be vaccinated next year and some younger folks may never be vaccinated at all.

Hospital admissions in England are rising. This is a little more significant perhaps than the new cases data, as we never learn how many of those tested are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms other than we know it is the vast majority.

On Sunday there were 478 new hospital admissions in England, which is a 25% increase on the 386 the day before and the most since 3rd June when it was 491.

Missing.

As the government sort through the missing 15,000 infections and try to catch up with contact tracing, we learn that infection rates have more than doubled in some parts of England.

London’s cases were the highest with 4,824 in the week from 24th September 2020. London is a highly populated area, and the actual rate per 100k is 51.8.

Humungous.

Then we have Manchester with a rise of 2,740 cases the equivalent of a humungous 495.6 instances per 100k.

After Manchester we have Liverpool with 2,273 new cases standing at 456.4 cases per 100k.

Then Knowsley with 682 cases making it 452.1 per 100k.

My home city of Nottingham is among the big climbers along with Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield.

A higher degree.

Nottingham, astonishingly, saw its infection rate more than quadrupled from 52.0 to 283.9 per 100k with 945 new cases.

However, we now know that Nottingham University has joined others and had a major outbreak with 425 students testing positive and 8 members of staff. The University is running an asymptomatic course of testing. The University has 35,000 students.

Sheffield’s new cases more than doubled from 91.8 to 233.1 per 100k with 1,363 discovered in the missing time period.

Of course, all of these 15,000 infections that were lost in the computer, are way behind with contact tracing, which is hardly likely to help limit the spread.

Calamity.

How did this calamity occur? How could 15,000 cases be missed? Ed Conway, the economics editor at Sky News, has shed some light on the ‘technical glitch.’

Author’s note. It is not a glitch at all, it is poor planning in my view.

Less than excel-lent.

What happened is that the government has used ‘Excel’ spreadsheets to monitor reported cases and feed into the track and trace system.

It is a great system apart from one thing: it only has 65,536 rows and won’t work beyond that, and inputted data is then hidden.

The newer Excel system has a million rows, but of course, this is the government, so therefore much of the work is done on the cheap old system.

This anomaly is something that is well known by those working on large projects and is why they rarely trust Excel for big databases.

The new Excel system is available in the existing pathology labs and has been before COVID-19 showed its ugly face, but no-one has yet managed to connect it to the new Bio intelligence labs set up recently during the course of the pandemic.

According to PHE officials around 12,000 of the missing cases were delayed by only one to three days but the remaining 4,000 were delayed by as much as a week. This could cost lives.

Don’t spoil the ship for an ‘apeth of tar.

Incredibly around £12 billion pounds has been pumped into the test and trace system, and yet it has fallen foul to a known issue in a computer which could have been resolved with a £100 upgrade.  Apparently, an investigation has been launched into the error. You could not make this up, folks.

Last orders.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister announced that she was closing all pubs and restaurants across the ‘belt’ of Scotland for an initial period of 16 days, including Edinburgh and Glasgow and stretching east to west. The r rate in Scotland is now standing at 1.5.

Outside of the belt area. Pubs can open but only sell alcohol outside between 6 am and 6 pm. In addition, face masks must be worn in all public settings including work, etc.

The ban extends to a stricter regime with regard to households, and no-one is allowed to have anyone in their homes or gardens who do not live there. The normal exceptions about household numbers apply.

What are these exceptions to visiting households?

  • To attend a birth at the mother’s request.

  • To visit a person who is dying.

  • To fulfil a legal obligation.

  • For work purposes.

  • For the purpose of education or training.

  • For the purpose of childcare provided by a registered provider and informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble.

  • To provide emergency assistance.

  • To enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.

  • To facilitate a house move.

  • To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person.

  • To continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.

I never promised you a rose garden.

There has been initial speculation that the President’s admission to hospital was a publicity stunt and that the President has never had COVID-19.

Author’s note. I think he did and he still has it. Why? Twenty-one people along with the President, from the Rose Garden event proposing the new Supreme Court Judge, Amy Coney Barrett, a few days ago, have now caught COVID; Governors, press people, aides to the President and of course his wife.

This coupled with his condition as he stood on the White House veranda, gasping for air, the other day, convinces me.

 

BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

I ought to mention a growing conflict regarding lockdowns in the UK. I have touched on this before, but there is a sense that the ‘revolution’ against locking down in part or whole continues to gather steam.

I have collated the main points brewing at the moment and they are listed below:

  • Several thousand Scientists write to the government (The Great Barrington declaration) requesting they re-consider the strategy being employed and use herd immunity now that therapies have improved.

 

  • 20 areas have been in lockdown for 2 months and 19 of them have had cases increase considerably, not decrease.

 

  • Mayoral leaders of major cities, notably Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool have written to the government requesting they be allowed to handle it themselves particularly with track and trace.

 

  • The damage to the economy, jobs, health, and mental health is taking a terrific hit and the reaction to COVID-19 is incommensurate to the ancillary impact.

 

  • The reaction is incongruous. In 1989, 80,000 people in the UK died with Flu, yet there was not the merest hint at the extreme measures being taken with COVID by the government at the time.

 

  • The estimates originally modelled by SAGE scientists which turned out to be false are still driving the approach. Initial estimates of deaths for the UK went into the 1-2 million and a ‘best case’ scenario of 250,000 deaths. This needed urgent action. However, now with a better understanding of the disease, we have had 43,000 deaths thus far.

  • And so it goes on…

 

Not so Great - Barrington.

At the top of this list is something called ‘The Great Barrington Declaration’ which is named after the place where it originated.

It purports to be signed by at least 5,000 Medical and Public Health Scientists and more than 11,000 Medical Practitioners, along with 155,000 members of the general public.

The declaration was drafted by Professor Sunetra Gupta an eminent epidemiologist from Oxford who believes that those who are vulnerable should be shielded while everyone else carries on as normal until we have herd immunity. I am paraphrasing.

It was then signed by a batch of 35 scientists initially.

Wishful thinking.

It is well known that this is a contrary and to some extent potentially viable alternative, but of course not without its risks. Many eminent scientists, disagree; Dr Rupert Beale- Group Leader of Cell Biology at the Francis Crick Institutes’ Infection describes it as ‘wishful thinking.’

It is suggested by Nafeez Ahmed of The Byline Times that the declaration is part-funded by a controversial right-wing American billionaire Charles Koch, and a group AIER hosted the initial event and ran the website of the Great Barrington Declaration.

AIER are sometimes backers of climate change denial and consist of major conglomerates such as ExxonMobil, Phillip Morris tobacco, Nike, Pepsico, Visa, Mastercard and many more if this ilk.

Johnny Bananas.

There are suggestions that many ‘signatures’ are faked and indeed one is signed ‘Johnny Bananas.’

Author’s note. Mr Bananas, apologies if you exist.

Does the context of the declaration matter? Possibly, because sometimes the motivation for action is based on ancillary consequences of those actions, as well as pure health, such as the economy. That is okay and anyone’s prerogative. Is it the case here? You decide.

Author’s note: My view on the overall premise? Clearly the government are caught between a rock and a hard place. There is a school of thought that we should merely protect the vulnerable and anyone under 60 with no co-morbid conditions can get on with life while still social distancing, washing hands, tracking and tracing, and wearing face coverings. At times, I am not far from that thought myself, but naturally there may well be things we are not party to. The local lockdowns taking place are covering much of the north of the country and the full impact of the economic hit has yet to fully manifest itself.

I am not totally there, as, if the local lockdowns are working it would be foolhardy to move from a winning strategy.

It may be too early to decide as we monitor the effectiveness of local lockdowns and decide from there. As I have already hinted at, there is a mini herd immunity programme taking place right now via the back door, with allowing students in their tens of thousands to return to universities. The key element now at least is that deaths are still relatively low compared to what they have been. Keep it on the table, but not yet.

Retrospective note by author: On Sunday 11th October we learn that the Great Barrington Declaration has been ‘censored’ by Reddit – social media and seems to have a ‘shadow ban’ on it if you Google it.

 

Family life.

Abundance of caution.

We have heard governments use the expression ‘an abundance of caution’ many times during the pandemic, usually when someone is taken to hospital or there are further restrictions being imposed. I guess this filters down to us plebs. I am writing this at a Costa Coffee house. Here’s how my abundance of caution works when I do this:

Enter coffee house wearing a mask. (It’s the law).

Use the NHS track and trace app to QR code your presence at that location.

Have a disposable takeaway cup.

Choose an outside table so there is no issue with unventilated areas, even if it is a little colder than perfect.

Select a seat far from others and have back to any other customers.

Remove face mask.

Open my laptop bag and take out 2 anti-bacterial wipes and clean the table and other surfaces I may touch.

Put laptop and cup etc. on clean table.

Use hand sanitiser to cleanse hands.

Begin writing.

Scaredy cat.

Here you have my own ‘abundance of caution.’ Am I a scaredy-cat? I don’t think so. I would still tackle an armed criminal wanting to rob you, should the circumstance come my way, just as I did in my twenty-five years in the CID.

Do I look when I cross the road in case I get hit by a lorry? Yep.

Am I just taking sensible precautions that are scarcely an issue? I think so. But each to their own.

When I started this diary, I would never have believed that it might be necessary to qualify such actions. This has been the fascination of the process; discovering human behaviour as individuals, and as a tribe in all echelons of society.

 

Quote of the day:

‘The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.’ – Robert Hughes.

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