May 31 2021

Out and about today in the wonderful Bank holiday sunshine, there was very little evidence that anything was wrong, yet we are in the midst of a global pandemic, but life goes on. The only real evidence was the occasional person wearing a mask as a chin support. I think I saw more as discarded rubbish then those being worn properly. The other signs were on the ground where people are advised to stay 2 metres apart. After a year’s wear and tear many of these have seen better days now.

Whether the final restrictions can be discarded in 3 weeks is still debateable. Many cautious scientists are urging a short delay to be sure how the Indian variant problem develops. The Prime Minister will be desperate to avoid any delay as that would mean even further loss of popularity. The Cummings affair has left big questions in everybody’s minds.

The data is still inconclusive. The number of new cases are certainly increasing but the effect on the health service at this moment is easily manageable.

As this had been a Bank Holiday the statistics are incomplete with most not updated for several days. The last figure for the number tested was on 27th May and was 959,007. Yesterday 3,383 people tested positive. This is a daily rising figure being 28.8% higher than 7 days ago. The rate is 28.6per 100k of the population now positive, Hospital data is also several days old. 133 were admitted on 25th May. There were 870 patients in hospital beds on 27th May and 120 of these were on a ventilator. There were 6 deaths making 58 in the last 7days. This is a small rise per week but statistically difficult to give any significance to because of the low numbers.

As for the immunisations ,the 25 million marker has been passed for 2 doses, and over 39 million have had just one. We are well on target to have fully immunised all adults by the end of July.

Blackburn has displaced Bolton as the area with the highest number of cases. There remain 8 Local Authority Areas that are all hotspots for the Indian variant. Despite the political fuss it surely makes sense to stay away from those areas. It’s no different to saying I advise you to wear a raincoat because it is raining there!

There is a petition asking the Government to allow early retirement on full pension, paid early, for some employees nearing retirement age who have been made unemployed as a consequence of the pandemic. It seems a sensible and cost- effective move for some yet it has only acquired 133 signatures. It needs 10 thousand for the Government to respond and 100 thousand to obtain a Parliamentary debate. With only a week to go it stands little chance of success.

Do not forget you cannot normally travel to France unless you have a French or EU passport. All British visitors need to be quarantined for 7 days on arrival and have the usual testing.

Something that I seem to need to attend frequently these days is funerals. (It’s the age thing!) There is no longer a restriction on the numbers attending but there may be a restriction based on the size of the venue to allow proper social distancing.

Just a reminder India have now seen 28 million citizens affected with 329 thousand deaths. There have been 24 thousand deaths in Delhi alone. Brazil has 461 thousand deaths in 16.5 million cases.

There will be a public inquiry once this is all over, hopefully next year. It would be too much of a distraction to try and hold one now despite the obvious calls from those aggrieved by it. From my work on the prior planning, I can say with confidence that we had lost sight of any possibility that any pandemic could occur that was not due to influenza. In the early days much work was very hastily put together instead of carefully planned. The lessons from SAARs was well reported by Dame Deidre Hine but her information and recommendations got lost in reorganisation.

For now, please follow the guidelines, do not relax your guard, protect yourself from the foolishness of others. Get your vaccine done, wear your mask, stay apart, and all stay safe together.

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