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Friday, 03 April 2020


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Well, at least we will know in a month whether or not to hang Mr. Ferguson. Because this time we'll know what happens when his advice is ignored.

There are elements in Britain and the US and elsewhere who are deeply invested in as much devastation from "shut down" fever as possible. By mid summer we should have a good read on this whole thing as well as who stood where. Who benefits from economic shut down?

Some of our United States, all with Republican governors, are conducting an experiment to some extent like the Swedes'. Five have still not issued any stay at home orders.

Florida has finally adopted a state-wide order, but it overrides stricter city and county policies. Evidently its governor is just fine with 'Big Brother' as long as he's playing the role. In the next few weeks we'll see the results, though there are bad signs in Florida, Louisiana and Georgia already.

Probably Bob you already have (maybe unrealized) a clue that where one state's concerned out of those you grouped - we already had "social distancing" in place. Matter of fact going back close on 300 years.

Well except for in the cities, what ones we necessarily have. But far as me having much to do with our cities if I didn't have to make bi-annual trips to the big VA hospital I can't think of a single dadgum reason I'da visited any of 'em since about 2001.

Perhaps Bob it's too early for a retrospective?

Regardless I think perhaps even you might allow "the experts" are not always to be gifted the star-status given how blinkered our legacy media certainly is.

Jeremy Warner is all you need ...

I told you the "we-we-we" sector of Blighty was shite. The absolute worst public services in the world for the money.

Here's all of it from beyond the paywall ...

Belatedly, the Government has finally woken up and taken steps to ramp up testing for coronavirus. But can it really take a month to get up to German levels of it?

The excuse offered is Britain’s lack of a significant diagnostics industry, which is having to be built from scratch. If we’d started a month ago, it scarcely needs saying, we’d already be there.

Tardy, incoherent, and constantly shifting, the Government’s approach to the pandemic seems to date to have been governed by little more than wishful thinking. Let’s hope that yesterday marked a decisive turning point.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston show earlier this week, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, the UK’s deputy chief medical officer, said that he thought testing for coronavirus was “a bit of a side issue”, and that the important thing was “social distancing, stopping people coming into contact, so that the rate of new cases slows.”

This bizarrely ill-thought through view – careless as it is of the economic consequences of the lockdown – is substantially at odds with experience in countries that via extensive testing, tracing and isolation have successfully managed to get on top of the virus.

It may also go some way to explaining why the UK is so shamefully trailing others in testing large numbers of its citizens, nevermind frontline health workers. If Public Health England thought that lockdown was more important than testing, it is no surprise that it has been deficient in rolling it out.

As it is, national humiliation of epic proportions is threatened, with decades-long damage to the economy and our international reputation. That a country with such a proud scientific and medical tradition is for now being forced to source the bulk of its testing kit from a developing economy, China, makes our inadequacies seem doubly demeaning.

Low-grade line-managers have combined with gullible political advisers to produce a perfect storm of blunders which has left the scientific community flabbergasted at the country’s ineptitude.

Being asleep at the wheel is one thing; Britain is hardly alone in that department. The disease crept up on us at lightning speed, and is outside all recent experience. Nor can we yet be certain which strategy works.

But what is obvious is that we desperately need a route back to normality if we are to save what’s left of our fast dying economy, and that mass testing is the most likely way of delivering it.

Read my lips; testing is not a side issue, nor can putting our economy into lockdown via physical distancing, which seems to have been Public Health England’s preferred approach to the pandemic, be anything more than a stop-gap solution to the healthcare and economic challenges thrown up by the viral outbreak.

From the start, the big public policy challenge in the Covid-19 pandemic is that of getting the right balance between healthcare and economic concerns. Tip too far in one direction, and we risk badly damaging the other.

What we know from the way other countries have responded, and were told weeks ago by the World Health Organisation, is that testing is the key. Once those infected are known, they can be isolated alongside those they have been in contact with, reducing the rapid spread of the disease. It also allows the NHS to know when it is safe for health workers to return to their jobs.

Britain’s apparent inability to test to scale was never a resource issue. It’s true that Germany, whose testing is far more extensive than Britain’s, also spends a lot more on healthcare than the UK – 11.2 per cent of GDP against Britain’s 9.8 per cent (the read through to per capita expenditure is broadly the same).

Yet similarly high levels of healthcare spending to those of Germany have not prevented France from experiencing similar problems to Britain, with inadequate testing and personal protective equipment.

Meanwhile, South Korea, which spends only 8.1 per cent of GDP on healthcare, has managed to establish itself as the gold standard for testing and containment. Like China, there are now very few cases of new infection coming through, allowing the economy to start opening up again. This is not just an issue of timing. The peak in South Korea was far lower than we are seeing in Europe and the United States.

The problem in Britain can therefore be laid squarely at the door of confused political direction, managerial incompetence, and logistical inadequacy. It is striking that whereas the UK’s privately managed food supply chains have been able to rapidly adapt to the new reality, such that empty supermarket shelves were really only a week long problem, publicly managed healthcare has been scandalously late in rising to the challenge of mass testing, leaving destruction of the economy as the only apparent alternative to a potentially very high Covid-19 death toll.

So when we bang our pots and pans, and cheer our heroic front-line NHS staff and care workers, it’s worth remembering that it needn’t have been like this; like the rest of us, they have been failed by the system.


Even Charles Moore gets it at last ...



If you live where you can get a cold or flu, you live where you can get C19. It will take longer but get to rural areas eventually. By not locking down, rural areas will keep the pandemic going harder and longer.

Scientists always make mistakes, but they have the scientific method to help correct them. Doctor Fauci admitted being wrong a long time before any politician I know about.

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