Conservatives are very keen on war time analogies – “Blitz spirit”, Dunkirk spirit” and all that. But in the war against the virus they are proposing to surrender. This is not their finest hour.
Omicron is still surging. Government figures as of 9/1/22 show cases up 6.6% over the previous week – with over 140,000 cases a day – and hospitalisations up 57.7% – with 2,434 a day.
The 7 day average of deaths is also rising and stood at 182 a day on January 8th. Up from 131 a day on January 1st and continually rising in between. There were 313 deaths on Saturday.
Despite this, the government has announced an end to the need for PCR tests for international travellers and is floating two extraordinarily reckless further measures.
- Abandonment of free lateral flow tests
- Abandonment of mass vaccinations beyond the third dose.
Dr Clive Dix, the former head of the vaccine task force is arguing that “Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end” and – pinch me if you’ve heard this one before – that we should treat Covid “like flu”. Vaccinations should be restricted to the most vulnerable. So far, so Great Barrington. Deja vu all over again.
The problems with this are obvious.
- Covid is not like flu. It is much more lethal and much more transmissable. Allowing it to be “endemic” means accepting significant levels of deaths on a permanent basis.
- There is no “long flu”.
- Not being able to test will keep the figures down – in a rather Trumpian way – but not reduce the actual infections, simply abandon any attempt to keep track of it. Wealthy people who can afford it will, no doubt, buy tests. The people in low paid jobs who are least able to work from home, the front line workers, people who live in overcrowded conditions, in fact the people most likely to catch it and die from it – will not be able to.
- Omicron is not the last variant that will evolve, if it is left to do so.
- Vaccine immunity wears off. As does immunity from having had a previous variant. Omicron is already infecting people who are triple jabbed. Keir Starmer is a case in point. If he had a badge for every variant he has contracted, he would have an armful.
- Having no further vaccines, when vaccines are the primary line of defence being set by the government, means abandoning the line of defence.
- The Health Service is already under massive pressure with one in ten workers off work around New Year, more than 20 hospitals declaring critical incidents and 27,000 resignations between July and September last year alone.
Put simply, this approach means that we – and the NHS -are being thrown to the wolves by the sort of eugenicists who thought at the beginning of the pandemic that culling the elderly and vulnerable would be a stimulant to the economy (and no doubt still do).
Now the UK has had 150,000 deaths from this virus, this is no time to abandon the struggle against it. An active virus suppression strategy in China kept Covid deaths there to just two (TWO!!!) last year. Of course, if you listen to the BBC – or worse – this is clear evidence that the Chinese are mad; which makes you wonder just how sane we think we are.
This should be called out and firmly opposed by Labour and the trade unions. We need to be fighting for a zero Covid strategy.