25 June 2020
Prior to Lockdown
On March 21st 2020, prior to England entering any sort of Covid-19 lockdown I wrote a blog post about my feelings that Boris Johnson was moving far too slowly with lockdown.
If I start venting on here about something it means I’m concerned. Now I was really concerned about Covid. Not many other people were, including our own Government.
Thankfully on the 23rd of March we entered into a light lockdown that limited our movements and shut down many businesses. Due to this a furlough scheme was introduced and as I write many people have still not gone back to work. The economy is in big trouble and in 9 days many more businesses, including pubs, will reopen to try and stimulate some kind of reversal to the impending recession.
Three months down the line it is obvious that the Government have really messed up with Covid. They did not heed the lessons from other countries and locked down far too late which has no doubt cost many thousands of lives. We have some of the worst excess death figures in the world, the worst figures in Europe and a Government that refuses to take any responsibility.
But let us not dwell on the past. All this will come out in the future public enquiry I will have these posts to refer to that it was me, in fact, the centre ground, evidence based Joe Bloggs who seemed to have a better understanding of Covid than the Government…
I said we were acting too slowly, we should lock down hard, that we should use the example of Italy who were two weeks ahead of us, but that was all ridiculed. Now in the UK we have 150+ deaths per day where some European countries are reporting single figure deaths.
We have opened up shops but the weekend of the 4th July will see pubs open. Initially we thought that pubs would reopen using beer gardens but they are fully opening as long as they can stick to social distancing measures.
Shops are a risk but we’ve been shopping in supermarkets throughout so I’m not sure that this will cause Covid cases to rise but I am worried about pubs.
I’m not sure how sitting inside a small building with lots of other people who are drunk is a great idea. It seems like the last thing you’d want to do to slow the spread of an airborne virus. Then to open these premises on a SATURDAY when most people are off work and on the 4th July which is synonymous with independence and celebration just seems a little bit crazy. Just like it was when Boris said don’t go in pubs but didn’t close them, or when he gave them a few hours notice that they were closing that everyone used as an excuse for one last hurrah. Like I say, crazy.
I hope I’m wrong, I really do, but I’m thinking that we’ll see cases rising by mid-August. And I also think that we may have to lock back down as the app-less track and trace system that the Government has created is not fit for purpose. But I hope I’m wrong.
Personally I don’t think I’ll be off to the pubs anytime soon. Maybe to the odd beer garden for a pint but not if it’s busy. I think it’s a bit reckless to be sat inside with a load of strangers for hours getting drunk whilst our daily death rate is so high, but that’s just me.
22 August 2020 – Cases Rising – Local Lockdowns
Cases are on the rise and local lockdowns are occurring in greater numbers.
We have seen them in Leicester, Luton, Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale, Salford, Blackburn, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Preston, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale & Kirklees.
Thankfully they haven’t needed to close businesses but it is a concern as even in North Yorkshire we are seeing cases rise.
The death rate appears to have fallen though, we are currently on 2 Covid deaths per day. The concerning graph is this one though:
Hopefully this levels off.
3 September 2020 – Testing System Struggling
Reports on the BBC are concerning:
If the testing system is struggling that means that cases are rising, not levelling off or falling. Over the last couple of days we’ve seen more Government incompetence with a lockdown U-Turn that was pretty embarrassing for Matt Hancock.
As cases increase, pubs get busier, social distancing standards slipping we now have the schools going back. Looking back at my blog timeline it takes a couple of months for a low virus number to start being a problem. 1st UK case was on 29 January 2020 and the lockdown begun on 23 March 2020. But then cases took 3-4 weeks to reach really high levels, so are we looking at the end of September to see new infections meaning we need to shut pubs / shops back down?
What is obvious is cases are going up EVERYWHERE and the temperature is dropping. We are entering Autumn is a bad place:
- Cases rising
- Economy opened back up
- Schools back
- Pubs filling up thanks to EOTHO
- Social distancing appears to be forgotten about
- Temperature dropping so people meet indoors
- TESTING STRUGGLING TO COPE
- Government giving out mixed messages (again)
We could have a very rocky few months ahead, especially as the recession bites.
Finally we can see from this updated chart that we are now at 1,508 daily new cases compared to 1,033 daily cases on 22/8/20. A 50% increase in just over a week.
If that trend continues we could be looking at 3,500 by the end of September which is around 70% of the level we experienced at the peak and would surely would lead to further lockdown measures. This would mirror of neighbours in Europe who are seeing rates increase to worrying levels.
You get criticised for criticising without giving thoughts on what should happen, so here goes…
- The PM needs to address the nation, warn that a national lockdown is a risk if we don’t get serious about social distancing and respect the local lockdown rules.
- A weekly Coronavirus briefing needs to be brought back with all figures (new infections / tests / deaths etc) reported so the public can see the REAL infection rate.
- A deadline of 1 October 2020 to slow the infection rate or additional lockdown measures to be brought in such as visiting people in their homes banned to a certain degree for a period of a month. This may focus the minds of the public.
Let’s see what occurs.
8 September 2020 – Cases Rising Rapidly
So it seems things are moving much quicker now. The media is leading with the news over the last couple of days new cases are up to nearly 3,000 a day. I didn’t think we’d see rises like this until the final week in September.
You can see from the graph below that both cases are rising and so is the weekly average:
Now the public and the Government have been told by their leading experts that this is a dangerous situation we wait to see how long it takes for the Government to act. One worry is that they won’t act until the death figures begin to rise but with the new way that these are reported will this delay any needed action?
With new and improved treatments could we be looking patients lasting over 28 days on ventilation and then sadly passing away, not being picked up by the death count thus not showing the true situation?
Either way we already know it takes a couple of weeks for new infections to start impacting on hospital admissions so might we see some movement from the Government around 24th September? Will this be too late to halt the rapid increase. We will see.
9 September 2020 – New Measures – Rule of Six
The Government today will announce new measures to reduce the Covid spread. The main measure will be reducing the number of people who can meet to 6. Obviously with Matt Hancock it wouldn’t be as simple as starting it tomorrow – no, we will wait until Monday.
The Government have all week blamed young people for the spread and then gives them another weekend to go out and spread it. What a carry on.
What is positive though is that action is being taken and sooner than I thought it would. It is also good to see that Boris Johnson will be making the announcement today.
Mail Online (cough and apologies for using them) have some interesting quotes from Matt Hancock today:
Mr Johnson had a conference call with police last week during which he was urged to simplify the rules so enforcement was easier.
The Health Secretary said the Government was moving to ‘simplify’ the rules around social gatherings by limiting groups to six either indoors or outdoors.
Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Hancock said: ‘It will be much easier for the police to enforce because the previous rules where you had two households it was much harder to work out what was and wasn’t OK.’
Fines for those who breach the rules will range from £100 to £3,200, the Health Secretary said, although there will be exceptions for events such as weddings, funerals and Christenings.
‘We have got to bring in clear, stricter rules this autumn unfortunately to stop the spread of the virus,’ he said.
‘One of the things we heard back including from the police directly was that we needed a simpler set of rules that are very straightforward, (that) everybody can understand, and we will be publishing those rules very clearly and then enforcing against them.’
As you can see from the highlighted test in the quotes above it is a blatant admission from the health Secretary that the Government’s rules aren’t simple, easy to enforce or easy to understand. If this is the case surely it is an utter dereliction of duty that this has not been rectified earlier.
It has been glaringly obvious that the rules have been confusing. I’m not sure why the people responsible for them haven’t realised this by now.
It is positive that there is a change – that rules will be simpler, that they will be enforced and that early action is being taken. Let’s hope this continues.
I personally don’t think these measures will be sufficient and that further measures will need to be brought in by the end of the month. I think the confusion over the last few months has meant people won’t stick to the rules and without a broader lockdown or curfew the new infection rates will continue to rise.
I believe that as these new infections translate to hospital admissions the Government will panic and we might even see pubs etc closing back down for a month or so to try and contain it. The pressure as schools shut down to enable deep cleans etc but pubs stay open will surely be too great and they will HAVE to close for a period of time.
As usual, I hope I’m wrong.
15 September 2020 – Testing System Failing
Yesterday the ‘Rule of Six’ came into force prompting stories from Police chiefs stating that guidance has not yet been issued to forces.
One criticism of the Government is when they announced these new rules on 9 September 2020 is that they were not immediately implemented. If they were part of a pre existing plan surely guidance would already be ready and waiting. It would appear the ‘Rule of Six’ was quickly cobbled together. As I write the rules are in place but still the Police can’t enforce them.
And whilst cases rise it has come to light that the testing system is failing under the strain DESPITE the Government stating in their official figures that there is still over 100,000 spare test capacity.
I covered this on 3 September 2020 and it appears the situation is still getting worse.
Something is clearly wrong here. This post from full fact.org shows that on 5 August 2020 Nick Gibb, MP, stated that the UK was testing 330,000 people a day. It transpires that this figure at the time was in the region of 52,000. You will agree that is some difference. So big in fact it probably can’t be a lie – Nick just doesn’t understand the difference between total tests and how many people are tested.
Obviously this all stems back to Matt Hancock’s promise to test 100,000 people a day. On the week leading up to this target being due it was no where near to being met so they added in tests that had been posted out and reported these as ‘completed tests’ and changed the target from ‘people tested’ to ‘tests completed’. All very shady. But around this time they had to stop reporting the people tested figure as this would contradict the target being met.
I digress. The scandal currently in progress is despite the Government knowing for 6 months that testing, track and trace needs to be improved we have seen tests unavailable in the 10 worst affected areas in the UK.
The Government isn’t denying this. They are currently trying to force new Brexit legislation through Parliament that it is thought could enable the UK to break an international treaty. Boris thinks the ‘oven-ready deal’ he negotiated and signed is actually a load of rubbish and he needs to break international law to fix it. You couldn’t make it up.
Cases are rising still:
And hospital admissions are creeping up. These two graphs showing the increase over the last month:
The top graph shows as of 11 August 2020 admissions were 112.
Bottom graph shows as of 11 September 2020 admissions were 205.
We’ll keep an eye on this as sadly I think it will increase at some speed over the next few weeks.
16 September 2020 – Rationing of Tests
(Where possible I try not to link to sites like the Daily Mail or The Sun but as they traditionally are Boris Johnson Government supporters I will use them increasingly just to show how they are turning on Johnson and his ineptitude.)
Government advising that tests are to be rationed. Transpires we are only testing 62,000 people per day. Would seem to indicate that we never hit the 100,000 target. Not much hope that we’ll hit the 500,000 target either.
Government scientists advise that if ‘Rule of Six’ fails we may be subject to further measures in 2 weeks. If that’s the case why wait nearly a week to introduce the Rule of Six?
It’s beginning to feel like lockdown all over again. The Rule of Six won’t work in 2 weeks, we can’t even test enough to see if it is working. We’ll have to rely on hospital admissions. Now if these are slow we might react too late. Either way we are driving down the motorway at 100mph with a blindfold on.
“A deadline of 1 October 2020 to slow the infection rate or additional lockdown measures to be brought in…”
I previously mentioned a self imposed deadline of 1 October 2020 for the Government to bring in further measures, it looks like this might become a reality as 2 weeks from today is the 30th September 2020.
“I’m thinking that we’ll see cases rising by mid-August. And I also think that we may have to lock back down as the app-less track and trace system that the Government has created is not fit for purpose.”
On the 25th June 2020 I wrote that cases would rise by mid-August and due to the failure of track and trace we’d be back in lockdown soon after. If I, a mere Northerner, can see this coming back in June why couldn’t Boris Johnson or his Government? And if the could see it why not try and prevent it by sorting testing, track and trace and get the rules simplified so people can understand them. Surely it’s not that hard?
18 September 2020 – Circuit Break
Another meaningless name for lockdown action. Today Matt Hancock has advised on BBC News that there will be no need for a national lockdown as they are introducing ‘Circuit Break’ measures.
His explanation is pretty convincing – it’s not really transmitting at work so it’s social settings that need cracking down on.
Isn’t it pretty obvious? You don’t get it at work as employers have a legal duty for social distancing or you work from home. You don’t get it whilst shopping. You don’t get it from the post. You get it where you aren’t being vigilant – PUBS and round your FRIEND’s HOUSE.
They really should just immediately shut pubs for a month, furlough all the staff and pay them 50% of their last months takings. Then ban people, again for a month, from mixing outside their households unless you are in a specific bubble. Job done.
What will happen though is we will have another national lockdown and it will be too slow. Cases are predicted to top 10,000 per day in the next few weeks – they are doubling every 7-10 days.
As we can see from the above chart the cases are still rising. The daily figure has risen by 774 in 3 days. That is very worrying.
I have also noticed that the Government have changed the way they are reporting testing capacity over the last few days as pressure on them has increased:
(Left image 15/9/20 – Right image 18/9/20)
As we can see, the ‘Testing Capacity (all pillars)’ figure of 317,917 published on 15 September 2020 has now been removed. I’m not sure why they have done this but it will be interesting to see if this capacity reappears in the coming days as evidence they have resolved the issues. Or it may just be it has been taken off to avoid any questions as to why the extra capacity is not been used. Either way it’s odd and it needs an eye keeping on it.
21 September 2020 – The Whitty & Vallance Briefing
So we’ve just had a briefing detailing the current state of Covid in the UK. It’s not good. By the sounds of it cases are doubling every 7 days which would take us to nearly 50,000 cases per day by mid-October.
According to Whitty and Vallance this would equate to 200+ deaths per day by mid-November. Scary times.
So the media reports that Johnson will be making an announcement tomorrow. No 10 says not but if he is making a rare appearance I presume it will be new measures. Sounds like we may be seeing a limit of mixing outside of your household and maybe even the reduction of hours / closing of hospitality venues.
We will see what tomorrow brings. It all seems very predictable. I think we’ll see some measures but they won’t be as firm as what is needed so it will drag on and I still think we’ll end up in another national lockdown. I hope not.
22 September 2020 – New Restrictions
Today the Prime Minister announced new ‘lockdown rules’ in England which is primarily start working from home again and pubs are to close at 10pm. Apart from that nothing much has changed.
Will these rules work? I don’t think they are strict enough and that we’ll see further measures in mid-October as the evidence, we are told, suggests the majority of transmission is occurring in people’s homes, not in pubs and workplaces.
Scotland has stopped people meeting in each others homes. This is what we should have done. I think this stinks of too little too late, just like back in March.
As we can see from the latest figures, new infections are at 4,926, up from 1,033 on the 22 August 2020. A month ago. I think by 22 October 2020 we’ll see a much higher level without additional measures.
7 October 2020 – New cases through the roof
We won’t dwell on all the obvious reasons why cases have shot up (Universities and no nationwide action) but cases are going up up up!
Today in Prime Minister’s Questions it came to light that over the last 10 weeks 20 areas have been under local measures – only 1 area has seen cases drop. This approach is not working.
Deaths are starting to rise:
Testing seems to be levelling off. With cases rising as they are that is bad news – it isn’t more tests that are causing more positives:
And again they have changed the way they are recording it. Now we have PCR tests – no Pillar 1 and Pillar 2. It isn’t helpful that they seem to change the way they display these statistics to the public with no obvious explanation.
“It isn’t helpful that they seem to change the way they display these statistics to the public with no obvious explanation.”
On the 18th September 2020 we first heard of the ‘Circuit Break’ rules. It’s now nearly THREE WEEKS later and we still haven’t been close to implementing this national action despite cases rocketing.
This Government really are scared to act.
Tonight on the news it would appear that we are being primed for national measures. They speculate that these may be announced next week. I gather from what I have read and heard that the Cabinet are arguing about these measures, hence they are late to be announced. Nice to see when their priorities lie.
I’m getting sick of this inaction. We have known for weeks that some kind of national action needs to be taken or cases will continue to rise. Local lockdowns are never-ending and haven’t worked.
12 October 2020 – Different Measures (again)
They aren’t following the science. If they were restaurants would close when pubs shut. You aren’t save from Covid just because you have a plate of chips in front of you. I digress.
Today Boris has announced his traffic light system. Well it’s not a traffic light system, that would be too simple. Instead we have a three-tier system. To make it even more complicated the tiers don’t have set measures.
- Tier 1 – Middle risk – Covid is here, rule of six, pubs shut at 10pm. All rules that have a minimal effect on suppressing Covid.
- Tier 2 – High risk – Tier 1 rules and no mixing of different households indoors, rule of six outside.
- Tier 3 – Very High Risk – All previous rules, no household mixing and pubs shut. Other rules appear to be individually negotiated with local council chiefs / mayors.
So really not much more clarity. Different areas still can be on the same tiers but have different measures.
We currently have more people in hospital than we did when we went into lockdown on the 23rd March. Yet we are pissing around with unproven systems whilst the track and trace system flounders.
It’s obvious, that like Boris’ other recent rule changes, these new rules will have little effect and we will continue to see the virus spread – even Chris Whitty says that they won’t work! Numbers may drop as students recover but figures show it has infiltrated the older members of the public and it will cause carnage. We’ll see these rules changing soon no doubt!
13 October 2020 – Starmer backs the Circuit Breaker
So this week SAGE published their advise to the Government on 21st September. It shows that the Government ignored most of it (surprise). But Kier Starmer has taken it upon himself to challenge Johnson on this as call for a Circuit Breaker.
It’s like Groundhog Day. The Government ignoring advice and acting late AGAIN. We discussed on this blog weeks ago about the Circuit Breaker when the phrase was introduced to the public on the 18th September.
We then had the Whitty & Vallance Briefing on the 21st September which now looks like it was them trying to scare the Government into action.
Anyway, if one thing is sure, now Johnson has said that a Circuit Break will be a disaster for the country he’ll U-Turn in November and we’ll have one last ditch effort to get it under control before Christmas.
Oh the joys of a Johnson Government. It only took them 5 months to decide if wearing masks was a good idea. Maybe they will act a bit quicker this time around eh?
28 October 2020 – Tier 3 for Christmas
Government scientists are warning that the whole of England could be in Tier 3 lockdown by the end of November meaning Christmas under lockdown. And don’t be confused, Tier 3 is lockdown. No mixing, no pubs, working from home, people not working etc.
Boris Johnson has well and truly lost his bottle. The hesitancy he showed back in March has come back twice as bad. Since we first began local lockdowns on 22 August 2020, over 2 months ago, it was obvious that these measures were not hard enough to stop the infections.
It is now obvious that we are in trouble so why not crack down HARD now? We need a full circuit break lockdown now, for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, inclusive of older children not going to school. He needs to bring the public with him and assure them that if we get 95% compliance we may we be able to have Christmas with our families.
As you can see from the figures and graphs above everything is going up.
This morning we have also been told:
- If we get a vaccine it will be imperfect so not as effective initially
- Track and trace is getting worse
- The death toll has passed 60,000
- Calls for a full UK lockdown are growing
Yet if you still speak to some people they think the Government is doing a great job. No, they aren’t. Yet again they are dithering and delaying any meaningful action that could slow or halt this rise.
29 October 2020 – France and Germany Lock Down
So yesterday France and Germany made the decision to impose full national lockdowns on their countries. France have double the rate of infections as the UK have a lockdown with no set end point and Germany who have half the infections as the UK hope to only lock down for 4 weeks.
As usual there has been no real response to this from the Government. We are just continuing with our broken tier system that for the last 3 months has failed.
It is suggested by the media that we will soon be in a national lockdown but then the Government say that their Tier system is working. I smell bullshit.
What will happen is this:
- Infections and deaths will rise in the UK
- Well see France and Germany’s infections drop
- The UK, after being advised to go into a national lockdown back in September, will finally have to have a national lockdown. Initially it will be everyone in Tier 3 (mid Nov) but we know that is too soft. Then the Government will create a new tier (end Nov) as cases continue to rise. It will be called Tier 4 and will be a March style lockdown in all but name. This will stay in place over Christmas. We’ll then be allowed a day off from lockdown on Christmas day, cos it’s Christmas innit.
31st October 2020 – Boris U Turns and Locks Down
Saturday came and it was leaked that we were having a four week lockdown. It was some U Turn that! I won’t bore you with the arguments, they are above!
It’s happened a lot quicker than I thought, a whole month quicker. I think we be in lockdown longer than 2nd December though, maybe up to the 11th.
26 November 2020 – Tiers Are Decided
So today we found out what our tiers are and needless to say we are now in Tier 2 despite our infection rate being much different from October. They are just toughening up.
I’ve not written anything since we locked down as I am sick of it now. We have the 5 days off over Christmas then back to tiers… how mental is that?
I think after a lockdown we are being too hard, people have been locked down for months, they need a break or they will just ignore it.
Vaccines have been announced since we locked down – we need to get these out asap and get this over and done with.
21 January 2021 – A lot has occurred! The End id Nigh!
So much has happened since the Tiers were decided. We discovered a ‘Kent variant’ which was more transmissible this plunging into another national lockdown in January. This was after we went up the Tiers from 2, to 3, only 1 day off for Christmas instead of 5 and then into a national lockdown on New Years Eve.
Since then we have managed to vaccinate 4.6m people in the top 4 Tiers which is great but what prompts me to write this final blog update is the news that other variants, particularly the Brazil and South African ones, might render the vaccine ineffective.
This was also on the news tonight but for me the implications are far worse than us needing a vaccine every year as detailed in he article. It is the very end of life as we know it.
A new way to exist
Currently we don’t have enough vaccine to go round the UK, nevermore the world. There are countries with massive infections rates which mean there are trillions upon trillions upon trillions of Covid all duplicating themselves, only rained in by social distancing. Already we have seen 3 new variants, all more infectious and two possibly vaccine beating.
We’ll need to build factories and have massive labs, pumping out veils of new vaccine types on a mammoth scale. Without this it’ll just keep mutating. We need to vaccinate the world in one go, but tat will take years to organise.
Globally all the major economies will be massively in debt compared to their GDPs – lord knows what this means but it sounds bad.
Winters will be socially distanced and locked down – humans will only come out in the warm months as it will only be safe to mix outdoors. Zoom meetings will be the normal Friday nights down the pub. Borders will be closed, airlines will go bust, millions will be unemployed, poverty will be rife. It’ll be like Mad Max.
I hope I’m wrong but I can’t see how we get out of this now the virus has started mutating in the way it has. One thing is for sure I think, if over the next couple of months vaccinated people start getting the new variants and ending up in hospital we are fucked. If they don’t we might just have a chance.
And finally I hope this post was just a bad dream, that come summer it will all be over and we never have to lock down again. We can just hope x