March 22 2021

I spoke too soon about Bristol as several of you pointed out in comments last night. The demonstrations seemed to start off peacefully but suddenly changed in nature from attacking a Parliamentary Bill to attacking The Bill , ie our police..

Many of you will have seen the events unfold on the news. The demonstration was hijacked by a group with a different agenda.This was utterly disgraceful behaviour and caused numerous injuries to police officers including broken limbs and a punctured lung. I am sure in the cold light of the next day we need to have long hard think about this. Meanwhile the police will be searching many hours of video footage to try and find evidence to prosecute the worst offenders.

Some of this behaviour may have been triggered by the frustrations and boredom of the lockdown. New restrictions or just banning all demonstrations could be counter-productive. Appealing to the aggrieved mob to calm down and act responsibly is not likely to be helpful, and would fall on deaf ears.

Many countries including some of our devolved administrations have used local curfews in an attempt to prevent people travelling to demonstrations not in their area. Very difficult to police properly. Could it help? With feelings of anger so high in so many would it make things worse? Our Government, almost by definition, have to become unpopular to get us out of the mess Covid has brought. I am told the new nickname for the OAZ vaccine is the “Aldi Vaccine” or the budget vaccine. There is now doubt that the confidence in the OAZ vaccine has fallen considerably in Europe but also to a much lesser extent in the UK. In France 61% of the population now consider it unsafe, in Germany 56% and in Italy 43% according to figures published by YouGov. I cannot vouch for accuracy. In the Uk some 9% have doubts about its safety. We have enough vaccine data to show that is probably correct with 90%+ of the older age groups having already had a first shot.

President Putin was scheduled to have his first immunisation today. He was reportedly annoyed that the EU did not want his Sputnik 5 vaccine to replace the OAZ vaccine.The situation in many EU countries is getting serious. Boris Johnson has warned that the third wave will wash up on our shores. We need to be so careful. He has apparently been trying to calm the tension between the EU and the UK. As I write there has been no indication as to whether there has been any easing of tension.

In the Brussels area they have only just begun to immunise the 75 to 80 age group. In Spain people are saying how good it was that the UK had left the EU and could do what it liked about vaccination. Many in Spain would like to follow the UK back to its own independence. I wonder how long it will take for the EU to recover from this, if they ever can? I have been reading about a new way to possibly map out the prevalence of Covid by measuring Viral levels in Sewers. We excrete the virus in urine so by sampling the flow and measuring the viral levels you can demonstrate how much Covid there is in the population filling each subsidiary sewer as it flows to a main sewer.

Numbers continue to respond to vaccination and to most of us respecting lockdown rules most of the time.

Sadly because of lack of distancing and crowds like last night we are still seeing over 5,000 new cases every day. This is not good enough! We have to try harder to reduce the spread. We are doing well to reduce the seriousness of cases, with the numbers needing a hospital bed or a ventilator dropping nicely.There really is a race against time before new more troublesome mutations like the South African variant get a hold.

Tests for Covid on 21st March were an amazing 1,893,380. Only 5,342 of these were positive which is only a disappointing 4.7% drop in the last week. If we can only drop 5% a week it is going to take a long time.

Deaths are only 17 (remember still a weekend effect) tomorrow’s figure is likely to be twice that or more. Anyone wants to predict the date this figure will reach 0 ?

Hospital figures are not updated, they will be tomorrow !

Vaccines given are recorded as 1st dose 27.63 million and 2nd dose 2.23 million. The words of the refrain in a song by Joan Baez have been on my mind all day:

When will they ever Learn? ………

When Will they ever Learn?

We need to learn fast, we need to calm down, support one another, especially those getting desperate. We need to steady the ship, regroup and go forward into battle. Songs about the futility of war can resonate with the tragic deaths from Covid.

Stay safe everyone.

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