February 27 2021

On this lovely spring like day, there is very little news about our Covid pandemic. This has to be a good thing. It was the day the country said goodbye to Captain Tom whose fund raising did a significant amount to keep our NHS going through the toughest of days. His unique way of fundraising was an inspiration for us all, at a time we really needed inspiration. SAGE have strongly repeated the message that it is vital we all continue to respect and adhere to the rules, we must at all costs prevent people from abandoning social distancing. The reasons we must continue must be clearly and accurately explained to ensure people do not give up after their second vaccine.

We need to be very aware of the false concepts of immunity, especially now that 20% of the adult population have been immunised and 16% believe they have had a Covid 19 infection. It is essential there are clear statements about which behaviours, activities and venues are not allowed, where and how the boundaries are defined and why.

For now, it’s still easy. No rules or boundaries are relaxed, and will not be until March 8th. Come the 8th March I will spell out what changes there are and by how much. I cannot stress enough that with the children going back to school we absolutely must not relax at all. The Police say they are committed to their strategy of engage, explain, encourage, and then enforce. The City of London Magistrates Court recently sat all day and only heard about breaches of the emergency legislation for Covid. 2 women were both fined £13,000 for organising parties back in November. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, just as when driving a car you must ensure you know what the law is.

Behaviourists agree and are warning us that people will be less likely to follow the rules if they see less need for them; there is already evidence emerging from Israel that people are dropping their guard. How can we stop this happening? Our national finances have been under enormous strain in the last year or so and with a Budget very soon, some very tough choices have to be made. How and when the 280 billion pounds this pandemic has cost of tax payers’ money can be restored to our coffers? How best to kick start the economy will be hotly debated. Should we look to Corporation Tax or personal income tax rises to pay for this? Should one or both rise, and by how much? How many years should we allow to bring our finances back to pre-pandemic levels? I welcome your comments, try not to be overtly political or personally critical, it’s a sensitive area.

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, is demanding we ‘fix the costs of isolation’ suggesting that the rules are being broken because people simply cannot afford to be off work isolating if they are not being paid. Many self-employed are avoiding having tests just in case they are told to isolate. If this is a significant issue, we have to act to make sure that those of you having to isolate for the benefit of others, should not lose out. Again, your thoughts and comments please.

In the lovely weather today I walked around the perimeter of the garden and paddocks. There are signs of spring everywhere not just snowdrops and daffodils, but daisies are everywhere, birds are singing including a very noisy green woodpecker. Buds, leaves and blossom are also just breaking through. I had quickly put a school nature lesson together in my head, it was such a pity I had no children to share it with. Today’s statistics continue being very encouraging but are not any reason whatever to drop your guard. There have now been 19.6 million first jabs done and 768k second jabs still on target.

A full day’s testing yesterday with 731,410 tests done on the 25th February. And only 7,439 were positive today. This continues to drop and is 17.5% less than 1 week ago. The rate is now 109/100k of the population.

In the hospitals 1,111 were admitted on 23rd February. A 22% drop in the last 7 days. There were 14,808 in hospital on the 25th and 1,971 on a ventilator on the 26th February. These figures are dropping steadily but we need to see them at least half their current rate before the NHS can relax.

A quick look round the world. We rarely get verifiable information from many places but these are the officially released figures as of 22 February.

In South America there have now been 16.9 million cases and 443k deaths. There is an absolute dearth of testing and medical facilities in most countries and the real numbers are likely to be very much higher. Brazil seems to be the worst affected with 2.7 million cases and 130,000 deaths reported but probably underestimated.

In Sub Saharan Africa there are thought to be 2.7 million cases and 69,000 deaths. Again testing and medical facilities are few and far between and these figures are likely to be seriously underestimated.

Russia and Central Asia have now had 5.3 million cases and 97,000 deaths I am equally suspicious of the absolute accuracy of these figures as well.

I can only hope everyone is hearing the message, continue to stay at home, and stay apart. Do not travel any distance except in an emergency.

You must not hug or kiss your grandchildren.

Having both jabs is not at present any authorisation to do anything apart from staying home.

Keep on staying safe

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