Sunday, 12 April 2020

Corona: running out of patients?

All of this lockdown effort is less to do with controlling the outbreak(s) as it is preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed. If the government were in any way serious about containing the disease then we'd be engaged in aggressive contact tracing but there is no evidence the government is seeking to contain the virus or that it ever did seek to contain it.

But even the fallback position has already failed in that the NHS has been overwhelmed. It can no longer function as a comprehensive health system. Instead it's Coronavirus meatgrinder to sort out the dying from the salvageable. This function is soon to be expanded to makeshift facilities throughout the country with their accompanying temporary morgues.

Were it that we had anything approaching good governance, they'd have taken steps to ensure Corona was kept well away from hospitals, utilising whatever alternative spaces they could to ensure a health system could continue operating. Having surrendered hospitals and clinics to Corona, we now have next to no everyday health provision and that which is still in operation is more likely to infect you with Corona than cure whatever ails you. If you have a life threatening illness the chances of it now killing you have substantially increased.

Already the government is failing to give an accurate account of deaths from Corona, with a silent epidemic now running through care homes and private residences, meaning we are left to guess just how severe the impact is, but we may never know just how many are to die because they didn't receive proper treatment for other conditions or injuries. If there is one reason to keep traffic off the roads it is less to do with containing Corona as it is preventing road traffic accidents clogging up A&E departments.

The worst of it is that there is no end to this. There is no end in sight. They have screwed things up so badly that there isn't a way out. We will have to go in and out of lockdown for the foreseeable future, in the hope that, eventually, a vaccine is produced and we can return to some semblance of normal life but then lockdown or no, it will be some years before we have a health system running at anything like it's current capabilities - assuming we can afford it. The related deaths column in mortality statistics will grow year on year.

The full horror of Corona has seemingly yet to sink in with the Twitter commentariat, many of whom are agitating for a return to normal on the basis of some flaky statistics. We see the likes of Delingpole and Hannan bleating about lifting the lockdown. If the government responds to pressure and lifts it in the same cack handed way it was imposed, and we see the morgues overflowing, it's entirely possible public order will begin to disintegrate.

Either way, there is only so much people can take. All it needs is a trigger. That is totally unpredictable but there is a limit to what people will tolerate, especially if they feel that the government has lost its grip. Johnson may well be enjoying the fawning adulation of the press and swathes of the electorate but for the moment we have a stable internet, full bellies and safe streets. That can change in no time at all.

The Road Haulage Association tells us that the UK industry is reaching crisis point with many transport firms on the brink of collapse. Some 46 percent of UK registered trucks have been taken off the road since the epidemic began, and many firms are in danger of going out of business permanently. First the luxuries will run out and then the essentials will start climbing in price. The government has made promises to protect incomes but there are millions who likely fall through the cracks and low paid workers whose income cannot match the price increases. Then when medicines stop going where they are needed people will start to panic. 

Meanwhile, the number of "isolated incidents" of plod overstepping their authority will start to snowball, especially having more time on their hands than they know what to usefully do with. Since they won't be patrolling anywhere where they might get pushback, they'll be out in the sticks making a nuisance of themselves. Sooner or later people are going to get fed up of it and lose patience with the authorities in general. Borismania could rapidly evaporate. 

Those who think the recovery of the PM also means the outbreak is also turning a corner are soon to be disappointed. We are in this for the long haul. The government thus far has been able to mask its incompetence in the fog of panic and confusion, but sustained bungling will have people asking the questions our media should be asking now. With health provision completely obliterated, public order hanging by a thread, and no end in sight, this administration is not going to enjoy the sort of honeymoon it anticipated.

Were that we had a media capable of intelligently probing government and a viable opposition to speak of, the wheels would already be falling off the Johnson administration. Its lack of clarity, professionalism and credibility on Brexit would ordinarily have seen Johnson fighting for his political life at the last election. He is primarily the beneficiary of of a convergence of unpredictable events. But those who live the sword... die by it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment