5

Apr

The Coronavirus saga in the UK


The Coronavirus saga in the UK

The Coronavirus saga in the UK Loading

The Coronavirus has hit the world at an unprecedented rate and nations that were in denial are deeply regretting their earlier reactions to the virus. The virus has taken more lives and brought entire nations down to it’s knees. UK has suffered a huge toll with this virus and has brought loggerheads with the Govt and the public. Read all about this pandemic on a daily account on this blog post since the virus hit the UK shores.

Update 26th May, 2020

The ongoing saga with Dominic Cummings continues today following his opening public statement on the Rose Garden in Downing Street. The statement by Dominic Cummings followed by a rigorous round of questions by emotionally charged reporters probably won some sympathizers for his actions on driving to Durham during lockdown. However, analyzing the interview in detail, actually leaves more unanswered questions than before. In particular, his actions of leaving London for Durham was rather weak in the first place since care was always available in London. Also, he was spotted with his wife going on a trip 30 miles from the Durham home and his excuse for checking his eyesight for the long drive back to London. His narrative of the whole incident between 31st March to 14th April potentially oversteps the Govt guidelines despite the Govt insistence that what Cummings did was within the guideline.

The main issue on the Cummings news is that there was considerable distraction from the work in hand that is critical to controlling this pandemic. It’s very unfortunate that a weak leader like Boris Johnson cannot swallow the pill and dismiss Cummings and move on with the critical work ahead. Instead he chooses to stay steadfast to his defense of Dominic Cummings causing more rift among the people of UK and people working within the constitution. As I indicated before, the decision that the PM will make will have a huge impact to his future political career. So far, the outlook does not look good for the PM and as mentioned something will have to give. In my personal opinion, Dominic Cummings will need to go or the PM will lose a lot of faith with the public.

On another note, the Bank Holiday monday saw a record number of people appearing on the beaches due to one of the hottest day in the UK. I personally think that this may spark a new cluster of the virus infections with a potential for a second wave. Although, we won’t know the impact of this until after a few days.

Dominic Cummings on the Rose Garden of Downing Street facing reporters on his explanation for his actions for driving to Durham during lockdown.
John Hopkins global coronavirus map as of 26th May 2020

Update 24th May, 2020

The last few days have heated up on the revelation that Dominic Cummings the chief advisor to PM Boris Johnson was found to have broken lock down rules by taking his son and wife on a 260 mile trip from London to Durham on 31st March following the lock down announcement by the Govt.

Today the brief by the PM Boris Johnson supported their stance that Cummings did nothing wrong and did so within the legal bounds. This has sent a backlash of contempt by not just the public but by politicians from all corners of the UK. Many vigorously dispute the PMs argument on Cummings situation and believe that the policy has been bent to support Cummings but not the public. No doubt this argument will carry on in the coming few days and something will have to give. The brief by the PM on the defense of Cummings is weak and the opposition leader Kier Starmer has made this very clear in his public announcement. Many are asking for Cummings to stand down and resign.

From my viewpoint, the decision of the PM is contrary to public opinion and Cummings did break the law according to the lock down rules. He should step down voluntarily asap. There is too much at stake here and the PMs trust will slide significantly if he continues to make an exception to Cummings. I feel that Cummings will resign on his own accord since there won’t be any rest from the public or the media on this issue. However, the PM has made one of the biggest blunders in his political career and even if Cummings decide to stay or not, the Govts. trust and popularity will wain in the coming months.

On another note on this presiding Govt. Since the last national election, Johnson won through a clever ploy of the market and a play on Brexit. Unfortunately, Labour that was the best candidate did not win due to their lackluster and mixed messages to the public. Also, Corbyn did not have the leadership qualities of ‘get up and go’ that people come to expect of leaders. The win was based on the ‘leadership’ abilities rather than the best person who was t fit for the job which was Corbyn by far. Having seen Johnson in power for the good part of 5 months, I am disappointed with the work he has done so far. You will read from some of my earlier blogs that highlight the lack of action by the Govt over this crisis. It almost feels like this Govt has never stepped outside its comfort zones seeking critical information from other nations in helping with tackling the virus. I have pointed this out right from the beginning that this was a dangerous and ignorant approach to take and my points are somewhat substantiated by the recent events of the past few days.

The reality is that the buck does not end with anyone except the PM and despite the many warnings, catastrophic deaths in care homes, no track and trace in place just shows the level of incompetency by this Govt. The results speak for themselves. I have always wondered why this is as I would need to go beyond their daily briefs and go behind their backdoor meetings and decisions that emanate from there. I think it has much to do with the ‘school-boy’ antics and attitudes of the Govt that we can do better. Hence the reasoning for ignoring the wider scope of the virus issue happening all around the globe. In a crisis like this, you don’t sit around and wait for events to unfold and test your theories, you go for the juggernaut and strangle the virus from taking hold. Instead, the Govt chooses a phased approach, introduced herd immunity and then abandoned it, then decided to put all of it’s effort on ‘protecting the NHS’ and thus overlooking the critical areas where the virus was having it’s greatest impact. For example, the aforementioned care homes, the swift action required for track and trace which the Govt deliberately abandoned. The latter was critical to many of the nations controlling the virus at the early stages of the outbreak, examples include S. Korea, Germany and many other nations. How this can be an oversight baffles me but from what I can stitch together from events unfolding and having unfolded throughout this pandemic, I can confidently say it was down to the arrogant nature of the people in charge and the chief scientific advisors to the Govt. What worries me even more is that the Govt seems still slow to learn from it’s past mistakes and continues to hold steadfast to that ‘club’ mentality which was sorely felt from the PMs brief today.

PM Boris Johnson under fire from his defense of Dominic Cummings over the lock down rules. Photo courtesy of the Guardian.

Update 22nd May, 2020

The main topics of the day was the was the 2 week quarantine of international travelers arriving to UK and the reopening of schools on the 1st of June. Many airlines have complained that the 2 weeks quarantine was not sustainable because many coming back will use the public transport so the aim is somewhat defeated. Opening schools have many saying that it was too early and the Govt backtracking on their original intention of opening on June 1st. However, another contention was that the track and trace application needed to be in place in order for schools to open, however this almost seems unlikely. On other news the Govt has borrowed over 60 billion pounds and now feeling the pinch in the economy. The figures show that the UK has never been in this kind of position since the World War 2. Naturally, the closure of business over the lock down means that lower tax receipts for the Govt and a reduced consumer spending. Many businesses are not able to sustain their operations with costs of rent and no production. The outlook looks bleak for the present moment and like the World War 2, the UK will need to pay off this borrowing for many years to come.

The R factor currently stands at between 0.7 and 1.

I will now go and explain the total lack of foresight and poor conduct by the Govt on this pandemic. There is no doubt the the number of deaths of 36,000 could have been reduced if they got their act together.

Track & Trace:

I am still baffled that the Govt is still struggling at this stage to bring about a workable solution that will be critical to limiting the spread of virus. S. Korea and like other nations has this kind of system in place as far back as January, so why does the UK have to develop their own when it can be readily available from those nations. I can speak well on this point because I work in the area of software development. We have a terminology that we use all the time, we call this ‘reusing code’. What this means is that if software is already built there is little to be gained to rebuild the same thing and many companies opt to reuse this code. You could say if something has been done, why reinvent the wheel. The same applies in this track and trace. As I indicated in my earlier blog posts, S. Korea had an advanced track and track which they deployed early in the outbreak in their country and as a result they have managed to limit the total deaths to very low levels as compared to other nations. Armed with this knowledge you are probably wondering why on earth did the UK govt did not approach those countries for those systems.

Care Home Deaths:

As I have mentioned previously, the lackluster approach by the UK Govt at the early stages of the virus was a big reason why the deaths in the care homes have gone out of control. They have admitted that their focus was not on the care home deaths but on the NHS. Again, it baffles me that the Govt should have their whole focus on the NHS, basically overlooking crucial aspects of controlling the virus but preparing the NHS to take the load of COVID-19 virus cases. If you are not baffled as I am, maybe their slogan of earlier Stay Home > Protect the NHS > Save Lives says much. To me it says that protecting the NHS is more important to the crucial aspect of saving lives by ANY cause. Piers Morgan have rightfully criticized the Govt all along with their approach.

2 Week Quarantine:

Today’s daily brief by Priti Patel emphasized their stance on this issue of quarantining international travelers. To me all this ALL to LATE. Where was the Govt in March 2020 on their stance on this issue when the pandemic was rife and growing at an alarming rate. When I arrived in mid March, I did nos see any masks or temperature control as they are putting in place now. ALL to LATE, now that the virus has diminished in veracity, the Govt is taking rigid actions now but not when it should have been in place. Also, why the rigidity now when many countries have brought down the numbers to manageable levels. What surprises me is that the Govt has had full control of what they could have done and they are only showing this now, but ALL to LATE. I am not sure if their rigid actions are as a result of their incompetency so far and to win public opinion.

Govt continued conduct:

I am deeply disappointed that the Govt is now attempting to take actions that should have been done at the early start of the pandemic. I have written earlier blog posts that clearly show their lack of actions and to see it now gives me pause for much thought. Also the actions they are taking now still does not reflect the actions taken by other nations which suggests that the Govt still operates in isolation without any insights from outside nations and sources like WHO.

COVID-9 deaths as reported by the John Hopkins map as of 22nd May, 2020

Update 19th May, 2020

Today was the most shocking and striking revelation of the UK govt. failure to respond to this pandemic all along. The daily brief held by George Eustice, environment secretary and Angela Mclean, chief scientific adviser to the Dept of Defence. The journalists that were firing the questions actually grilled the govt panel of two with questions where their responses were skimmed or just simply not answered. I think for the very first time instead of hearing a over inflated response to a specific question, we got a real whiff for the very first time of what was and still continues to happen behind Govt. doors over this pandemic. I was surprised that the BBC did not get any wind of this as I thought that this briefing gave a clear picture of how the Govt did not take the proper course of action. This whole revelation came about due to right questions posed by the journalists during the question period.

One of the questions from a journalist pointed to the WHO’s advise back in Feb 2020 that a track and trace with testing was vital to control the pandemic. A decision within the UK was made to abandon this approach and the journalist correctly asked why this decision was made and based on what scientific evidence. She went further to ask who had the ultimate responsibility of making those decisions. The scientific adviser Angela Mclean positively fell uncomfortable with this message because no doubt she was party to that decision making. Naturally a glossy response was made to that question which had zero bearing to the original question.

On another question, the panel were asked about the enormous evidence from other nations pertaining to the virus and how the Govt was using this. This point was one of my burning issue that I raised back in middle of March 2020 and now I feel I got some answers. The secretary’s response was simply that they were examining the data. If you followed this brief you will know that their notions of other nations data was tertiary in their opinion. From this I can deduce that they did not look at other countries data as evidenced by their rejection of WHO’s advice on Feb 15th 2020.

From the sound of all the rattlings and rumblings going on about the Govts. failure to handle the high care homes deaths along with further evidence of their poor decision making throughout this pandemic, there will be more rumblings to come for sure. I put all of this criticism and blame on the shoulders of the PM, Boris Johnson. His absence from the daily briefings also makes you wonder how truly responsible he is to this national crisis. It appears that he will be starting these daily briefings from tomorrow, we shall wait and see. In the meantime, I for sure will be hesitant and very uncomfortable with whatever advise he throws at us.

Angel McLean, chief scientific adviser who is a key adviser to the Govt and largely responsible for the key decisions that the Govt has made thus far.

Update 18th May, 2020

There was a lot of controversy today on the new symptoms that have been added to the list to watch for but was not there before. These symptoms include the loss of appetite and loss of taste and goes in addition to the known symptoms of cough and fever. The Govt has been tackled with providing reasons for excluding these symptoms from the list when all other nations had included it.

In the debate today by Dominic Raab and Prof Van Tam, the question of the exclusion of symptoms was mentioned and Prof Van Tam gave a somewhat elaborate reasoning for excluding it until now. It seems to me that when a virus of this nature is on the attack, any and all symptoms of the virus should be accounted for and left to the individual to decide the actions to take. Again, a rather vague and cloudy explanation of the Govt stance is based around unfounded theory and scientific speculations. In the same manner, I am deeply disappointed that their whole approach to track and trace is laced with timidness and not the veracity that is required during a crisis. You need to just check many other nations around the world who deployed the track and trace almost immediately as soon as the virus hit their shores. The most notable country was S. Korea but even India had this in place where they were able to curb the number of deaths to astonishingly low numbers. UK have been extremely slow to react to this simple piece of technology and it seems like they need to go through procedure after procedure to get anything moving. Sounds awfully familiar!

The track and trace becomes even more critical when one considers that the reopening of the economy would entail close control of the virus and the magic R number which they seem to keep going on about. Another point that was made during questioning was as to why the UK was taking a tougher stance on the quarantine levels of passengers coming into the UK. The rules say that one has to quarantine themselves for 14 days when entering the UK. I am afraid that the UK has done everything in a lopsided manner that has caused the virus to claim more lives than it should have. Maybe the Govt is trying to make up for lost grounds but they would be seriously undermining the trust of the British people if they think they can win back their trust through extraneous measures.

Today the total death count reported was 161 from the previous day which is a lower figure by far from a week ago. The slides that was presented in the brief pointed to a reduction of cases, deaths across the board which was received with a sigh of relief. However, a second wave of the virus would put the UK back to where it was a month ago and even more severe if we are not too careful.

The Govts advise on Controlling the Virus and Staying Alert.

Update 17th May, 2020

There was much discussion on the topic of opening up the schools in June 1 but only for Reception, Years 1 and 10. It does make you wonder how they arrived at those specific years as the most important to go back to school. One of the arguments of opening up schools was the deprivation many children were facing due to the lockdown. I personally feel it’s a weak reason to choose to open up schools as there is a far greater threat at stake here. I am of course talking about the virus and the potential for a second outbreak. Although many measures were being taken to ensure the safety of the children and teachers many of the unions feel it’s premature to open in June 1. Liverpool has made the decision to keep schools closed until mid-June. One of the criticism made of the Govt was their decision to reopen schools without any consultations with the local councils. This has caused an uproar and mainly in northern England where the are continuing to see a rise in deaths.

It must be said that reopening schools for those years does not make it mandatory for parents to send their children to school. They may wish to opt out of sending their children to school without facing any consequences if they feel it is safe to do so.

Today’s brief led by the Business Secretary Alok Sharma made several announcements related to the vaccines against the virus. The two main institutions Oxford University and Imperial College have both made progress on the clinical trials of vaccines against the virus. The Govt is preparing and making way for any successful vaccines to come out of their labs to be manufactured rapidly at large scale and made available to the UK population. If trials are successful this year, the constructions of a new facility underway will cope with the increased demand of manufacture. It makes me wonder that with America and China as the most technologically advanced nations in the world, why they would not be first to come up with the virus. Having said that, any nation that successfully finds a vaccine will be in a position of power. We can at least get a glimpse of how these two nations may look into profiteering from this advantage point. From this point of view, it is probably wise for the UK to continue it’s own research and development in finding a cure. I was somewhat happy to hear that the Govt will make this vaccine available at a lower cost to the under developed countries around the world.

The Govt is pumping an additional funding of £80 million to the two institutions to further this work on the vaccines. So far almost
£250 million has been allocated which includes costs related to the construction of the manufacturing capabilities. Let’s hope that the two centers of brain are able to put their energy together and come up with something fast!

Update 16th May, 2020

A quick summary of the important events transpired today in the UK. There is growing concern among the public that the lockdown rules that are being relaxed are even more confusing. This is further exacerbated by the new COVID-19 slogan, Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives. It does make you wonder how people should stay alert further if they have not been doing so already. Have they been asleep all this time? How do you ‘Control the Virus’ when it’s an invisible enemy. What are we doing before that we weren’t doing properly. I am beginning to think the message is more directed to the Govt. officials than the public. Even J. K Rowling criticized and responded immediately saying: “Is Coronavirus sneaking around in a fake moustache and glasses? If we drop our guard, will it slip us a Micky Finn? What the hell is ‘stay alert’ supposed to mean?”

The new slogan is understood to have been drawn up by Australian strategist Isaac Levido and Ben Guerin, the Conservatives’ 2019 election social media strategist. Well that explains it all, the Govt is only after getting public vote of confidence and not really about doing anything real and effective. Read more on the link below.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/coronavirus-government-slogan-alert-a4436421.html

You maybe wondering why I am making such a noise about this. Basically, I have found that the very things I have been making noises about have sadly come true. I just wished the Govt took a similar stance to me.

Death count of UK from the John Hopkins daily stats as of 16th May 2020.

Update 15th May, 2020

Today on the BBC news, it was found that the ‘R’ figure had gone up from what was 0.4 to almost 0.7-1. As we know, the R figure needs to stay below the magic 1 number which would mean that the rate of infection would be less. At it’s peak, the R figure was around 3 until the lock down measures were put in place.

As I had said in my yesterday’s analysis of events, the relaxation of the rules to lift lockdown needs to be done with utmost caution. I personally feel that the Govt is not equipped to handle a second pandemic and as a result to be more rigid with their decisions regarding lockdown. Read my detailed take on why I think this is important in the 14th May, 2020 post below. As further indication that they are not prepared to ‘recede’ in case of a second pandemic is due to the complete lack or omission of how they would revert back on the alert levels they have provided in their slide (Fig M15a).

Fig. M15a Alert levels to indicate how to come of out of lockdown but no information on actions by Govt to enforce lockdown in case it goes the other way.

During the daily brief by Matt Hancock, he spoke about the measure to be in place from reopening schools on June 1st. Another indication that they have not really thought this through is that they are confident that children are least likely to be asymptotic to the virus but forgetting that they could be carriers to the adults that come into contact. It takes one child to bring back the virus to the household from an infected teacher say. Since children are very likely to be less disciplined than adults in touching, embracing etc. there is a good chance that they may pick up the virus on their clothes, head, feet etc. From this point of view the act of just cleaning hands is not sufficient and to keep children apart is extremely difficult. I am not comfortable sending my daughter to school unless I know that the numbers in the population has dropped to a level that is safe. It is also very risky to put her in harms way when we know that we are ‘just coming out’ of the pandemic.

During the question time, a journalist posed the question of when the Govt. started enforcing the rules for care homes since the number of deaths has proven to be catastrophic. He was quoting the words of a minister that seem to contradict the actual facts. It was obvious that this was an incredibly uncomfortable topic for the Govt. to handle. At one stage Hancock wanted to turn to the next journalist without any closing remarks to which the journalist continued with a second question. See Hancock’s reaction to this in Fig. M15b.

Fig. M15b A surprise question for Hancock when asked second time about the topic of care home deaths.

I think the whole topic of the slow reaction to the virus should be put forward to the Govt and not just related to the care home deaths. Who knows how many lives could have been saved within the general public if the Govt decided to take swift and tougher actions early on in the pandemic. There was a previous question related to this which was that the expected death count in UK was not going to exceed 20,000 but the latest figures are about 35,000 deaths from this virus. It would be a lost cause to keep going back to the roots of the problem and hammering this into the Govt but what we should be doing is how they are going to handle going forwards. Unfortunately, I am not very reassured by this Govt going forwards as you can see from my argument.

On other news highlights, the other UK nations such as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are treading far more carefully with reopening the lock down unlike the UK and so they should be. With the R figure moving upwards this maybe a genuinely good reason for them to do so. I wanted to remind readers that when the Spanish flu of 1918 hit San Francisco, the city prematurely opened up the city too soon only to tackle a second wave far more deadly than the first. You can read more on the link below.

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-san-francisco-can-learn-spanish-flu-pandemic-coronavirus-1918?r=US&IR=T

There are lessons to be learnt from history and our Govt should be aware of this but I am not so convinced since they did not learn from other nations that was facing this crisis early on.

Update 14th May, 2020

Today a big announcement was made regarding antibodies testing by the Swiss company Roche. It seems that the company has made a breakthrough in the most accurate tests to date for detecting antibodies in humans. One of the primary driving factors aside from testing and finding a vaccine was to find a reliable antibody test. Many companies have attempted to bring these tests to market but failed in its accuracy. The UK is working out deals with the company to buy millions of these tests.

You maybe wondering what these tests mean and how they help to combat the overall virus. Basically, the antibodies tests will indicate if the person had contracted the virus and have developed antibodies that have prevented them from contracting the virus. If a large group were tested for the antibodies tests it can add important data as to how to control the virus. For example, we all know the routine tests of today allows us to study the flock of people carrying the virus and hence take appropriate action quickly. Add the antibodies tests to this and we can see if any clusters or groups of people have developed immunity to the virus. In this scenario if there were a pool of carriers within this group it can be said that the spread will be minimal if the person is in contact with the person that has antibodies. However, this assumes that the person with antibodies is unlikely to contract the virus again. The chances of the person contracting the virus again is slim but the data is important to collectively calculate accurately the rate of spread.

If those people who had antibodies have been proven to conclusively not contract the virus again, they would effectively get back to normal life free from any further worries.

The Govt brief today was presented by the Transport secretary Grant Shapps. He went to lengths to talk about the expansion and modernization of the transport infrastructure. The works for rail and roads were done at record breaking speeds due to the lack of people using them as a result of the pandemic. It did occur to me that this was the right time to do this work and probably a very smart move by the Govt. I was wondering if Trump had the same kind of thinking since the US transport infrastructure is on the decline, I doubt it.

The slides presented today showed similar graphs from yesterday starting with their alert levels of 5 stages. I personally think that these alerts are meaningless unless you have a system in place to quickly reduce these numbers. There seems to be no measures in place and not even mentioned but the practice of just opening up the economy slowly. As I indicated in my yesterdays post, the swiftness of action and measures to take action due to a second wave is critical to the loosening of the lock down measures. Unfortunately, there is no indication of this and therefore poses a highly risky approach to opening the economy. I almost feel that the Govt feels overly confident in their handling of the virus just like they did when it started and look where it got us now.

Testing and confirmed case numbers which shows that the virus spread is dropping. From the Govt briefing on May 14th.

Update 13th May, 2020

Today on the Govt briefing, there was continued discussions on transitioning from the lock down in a controlled manner. The new slogan is supposed to reflect their new measures ie. Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives. Unfortunately, I have indicated before that the slogan has been conjured up by design houses that aim to sell to the public rather than do what is best. It’s a sad reflection of Boris Johnson’s character where he is perceived by many to be a showman with not much substance. Kier Starmer the opposition leader again went on to criticize the govt for the enormous number of care home deaths of 10,000 so far. As I have said before, it’s no surprise there because the Govt did not do anything constructive in the first days of the pandemic and then when the shit hits the fan, they had other things to worry about with the least being the care homes. Come on, I get off the plane on March 14th to find that UK is in complete slumber compared to the rest of the world, it should tell you how prepared this Govt was. Instead it decided to consult with PR firms on how better to tackle the virus. A question that should be hammered into the Govt is why they ignored all the signs from the rest of the world or not consult with them at the early stage of the virus. You will see that I have been saying this all along in March of this year from my blog posts below.

An interesting point that Starmer made to Johnson was why the slide on the global comparison was conveniently taken in the recent debates. It’s an interesting point because it clearly shows that UK is the leading contractor of this virus and deaths far surpassing Italy and Spain. It would surely look bad on their part, but then again, it may give them a ‘kick up the *se’ to see urgency and actions to do what it takes to make it better.

I fear that Boris Johnson like Trump is going to come out of this severely bruised and crushed by a virus that they thought could be easily contained. Boris and Trump are born from the same thread in that they view ‘public’ opinion as the center stage for all their dealings as opposed to doing the right thing.

On the summary of the brief, the relaxation efforts will be tied to the R factor and the slow opening of the economy. He talked about opening the housing market in a controlled manner to allow estate agents and potential buyers to do business. The action that the Govt is taking is extremely risky with a view to opening up the economy so soon and I will give my reasons. Firstly, at this stage in time when the number of deaths are still relatively high and we have just come out of the peak, we are at a high risk of a second wave of the virus. Also a very important reason why I would not rely on the UK Govt on opening up the economy is that they don’t have solid plans of retracting. That is to say, based on their earlier failures to react to the virus, they fall into the same trap when a second wave hits. I feel more reassured when countries like S. Korea, Germany or China are controlling the way economy should start. Only because they are more better and well equipped to handle it. Just look at the new outbreaks that just materialized in S Korea where they have tracked a person in a nightclub and doing everything in their power to control it. Also look how swiftly China takes action in locking down an entire city on a moment’s outbreak. Do you think UK has this kind of capability, I fear not. From this point of view UK should wait long after the virus has diminished before reigniting the economy. They just don’t have what it takes to handle a second coming.

Are we heading to another crisis even worst than the first one?

Update 12th May, 2020

It appears that leaders around the world have and continue to face strong criticism and scrutiny over their handling of the virus. Not least is the UK PM, Borish Johnson and his doppelganger cousin Donald Trump of the USA. Although both don’t always see eye to eye, for example the policies surrounding the Chinese tech firm Huawei over 5G networks they have nevertheless had a warm transatlantic relationship. On the matter of the COVID-19 pandemic their handling of the virus has come under intense fire of late. Piers Morgan of the GMB show criticized Boris for his lack of clarity on the message regarding staying at home and going to work. Following his message over the weekend, there was heavy traffic on the roads as people rushed to go to work.

Traffic following PMs announcement of the relaxation of the rules.

Let’s now look at some people’s views of this pandemic and in Starmers (Labor leader) exact words on ‘how on earth did it come to this’. The Guardian has a great account of the 100 days that have elapsed on this pandemic. Read all about it from the link below and I will pick out some important elements that may add weight to the answers of Keir Starmers question a few days ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/10/100-days-later-how-did-britain-fail-so-badly-in-dealing-with-covid-19

“To be blunt, it was a lack of testing, a failure to shut down society in time, and a lack of care equipment that are to blame for current high Covid-19 death rates,” Professor Sarah Harper, founding director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing.

“From a demographic point of view, the UK is no different from most other European countries. In fact, we are on the younger side, so you cannot blame the age structure of the UK for this.”

But there are also countries that have not lived through recent outbreaks of respiratory epidemics that have responded fast and kept cases low, from New Zealand to Senegal and Denmark.

And in Africa, experience of Ebola may have helped Sierra Leone keep cases to just 231 so far; authorities repurposed tracking systems set up in the wake of the 2014 outbreak.

As a result, many UK scientists reject the idea that Britain’s high death toll is simply a matter of unfortunate positioning or a result of the high density of much of its population. “Were we unlucky? No. We just didn’t have a proper plan for dealing with this. Other countries did,” said virologist Professor Nicola Stonehouse, of Leeds University.

The above pretty much sums up the areas where that was overlooked and not addressed properly. I have been beating the same drum for a while now but as we are in it I would like to end as quickly as possible. Today, we are at a very serious crossroads as to the pandemic and the Govt on its daily briefings have laid out a planned steps for bringing life back to normal. However, I fear that the measures that the PM is taking now is too soon and there could be a very likely change of a second wave and a larger one at that. The following is a summary of the brief.

The new Govt alert levels to show how they were going to relax the rules in the coming months.

The ridiculous new slogan ‘Stay Alert >> Control the Virus >> Save Lives’ which could have easily been produced by Saatchi & Saatchi as opposed to real virologists who are more familiar with the dangers of this virus. It can very well show the disconnection of the Govt with the rest of the population and not just the world. At one stage of the brief there was mention about masks and this alone probably highlights the tomfoolery of this Govt. so far. They are now saying that people with asymptotic symptoms meaning that they have the virus but haven’t shown any of the known symptoms implies that they should be wearing a mask in order to prevent from giving it to others. Wait, is this new and evidence that only materialized now? These stupendous statements makes me wonder on who is making the decisions. On top of this, they make another statement that masks are not as effective as washing your hands frequently. Wait just a minute, where did they get the evidence for this? Did they take a random pool of people who washed their hands and those who did not and come to this conclusion. On the subject of masks, did they do a similar test to conclusively say that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant wearing masks? I think you can see the point I am trying to make here.

On my next point touching on Trump, I will give you disturbing evidence of how divided the American population really is over Trump and the pandemic.

Trump ready to talk with reporters on the pandemic and other matters in the Whitehouse.

In the above shot, you can see how Trump is again blowing his trumpet on how America is leading the world in testing. If you are new to the charade-like exhibitions that Trump puts on to boost his superior position then you will know that this is no different. Naturally a question like ‘what has America leading the world has anything to do with the pandemic in America? I will tell you why, Trump has faced a barrage of questions regarding his handling of the virus and recently by his predecessor Obama. Naturally, he needs to bolster his position by comparing what he is doing with the rest of the world. Now, most people do not know that he can very well come up with these slogans because it doesn’t mean a hoot to the general public because nobody would question it. To a person who want’s to verify this fact, it will come as no surprise that there are a handful of countries elsewhere that can make a similar statement and they would be correct.

A question nevertheless surfaces from a woman who is wearing a mask asking why this has anything to do with the pandemic. His response was to ask China. I wonder why, he doesn’t like the question, he should not be a leader. Here in the UK, the Govt does man up and answer questions no matter how incredulous it may sound. So what does Trump do, he blames the question as ‘nasty’ and the walks off. So my take on why the American public is so divided is when you visit the two versions of this video found on the Fox channel and the CNN channel. Boy, if there was ever two channels that reveals two polarized audiences, then this must be it.

Here is the link to the Fox channel video…

FOX news channel broadcast of the news conference held by Trump.
Comments from viewers on the Fox channel.
CNN news channel and coverage of the news conference by Trump.
Viewers comments on the CNN channel.

You just have to go through a few comments from each of the channel to see how truly divided the audience is over this video. It also tells you the divide of two different audiences regarding their take on the video as well as their impression of Trump. It disturbs me that one group would actually put no blame on Trump for walking away and in fact praise him. While the other group was questioning his actions and whether the response by Trump was tainted with racism. You will read a lot of racist slurs coming out of the other camp of viewers from the Fox channel because the reporter is Chinese looking.

My take on this is that Trump was not intending to make his response sound ‘discriminatory’, although the reporter kept touting this fact. However, it was inexcusable for Trump to fire back and say the question was nasty and to walk off like he did. In conclusion Trump is like a child who gets hurt easily and trying hard to make up for his ineptness and fumbling throughout this pandemic. Take for example, the point where he wanted to ‘help’ by speculating that injecting disinfectant would be a good cure for the virus. However, we know that this completely backfired. In conclusion, Trump has just not been able to get a good footing in his presidency. If there was one president who has faced a gluttonous mountain of criticism throughout his presidential term, it has to be Trump. It will come as no surprise if he later made the decision to relinquish his second term. If I were him, I would feel that the task of being the president is beyond his capability and depth and he should hand over the baton as soon as possible.

Update 10th May, 2020

A big storm is brewing on the social media today, ahead of the presentation to be given by the PM Boris Johnson. This is over the COID-19 slogan change that will depict a new approach for the public to go through this pandemic, See Fig. M10a below.

Fig. M10a The new COVID-19 slogan that is expected to be presented by the PM later today.

It’s a bit odd that this change should come about only after after I picked on the COVID-19 existing slogan a few days back, see Fig. M6c. I criticized this slogan and it was confusing as it put weight to lesser more important things over ‘saving lives’. You can read my post in 7th May, 2020. To add more substance to my argument, I was watching the BBC snippet over the parliamentary engagement of Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer of the opposition party. Starmer asked Johnson on how UK having the nations second largest deaths on the planet on how it came to be. His response was rather ‘eye-opening’ to say the least especially regarding the slogan. Take a look at the two screenshots taken from that video on BBC Figs. M10b and M10c.

Fig. M10b. First screenshot of Johnson’s response to Starmer response to this pandemic.
Fig M10b. Second screenshot of Johnsons reply to Starmer.

Notice how Johnson now turns around and reorders the slogan… Save Lives >> Protect the NHS. Why didn’t he just say ‘Protect the NHS and save lives’? as his famous slogan does. If you think the order was unimportant in the way the COVID-19 slogan was presented to the public, now you do!

In the same manner that the new slogan is going to be presented by the PM, we are at risk of further confusion and sending the wrong message to the public. You might wonder, if the PM knows all of this, why is he still doing it, Well people, welcome to the party of politics where the magician is the PM and he knows that the ‘herd’ is a bunch of jaw struck people waiting to applaud at the finale, just like the last election. No doubt Johnson is in bed with Trump since very few criticisms have been levied at the UK over the crisis by the Washington voices. I wouldn’t be surprised if masks were also held-back by the Govt. in line with the US politicians.

Since the new slogan (Fig. M10a) has been circulating, there have been a lot of scorn from the public and also in contrast to the Scottish parliament who have resumed continuation of lock-down for a further 3 weeks.

If you also didn’t believe me that UK was operating in isolation of the virus, you will now see badly outdated the introduction of the Govt. Track, Trace and Isolate method of controlling the virus really is. They would like us to believe that this is a new method of controlling the virus and all thanks to the innovation of UK. Believe you and me, one just has to peek overseas to see how advanced other nations are on the use of this system and how they used it to full effect to contain the virus. Take a look at the video from S. Korea on how they used the sophisticated tools of Track and Trace coupled to the GPS and on-street cameras.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/must_see/52584494/coronavirus-how-south-korea-crushed-the-curve

Remember, they had the system deployed in February of this year and the UK Govt had plenty of time to borrow or use their tools for the purpose of saving UK lives. Instead, they chose to develop their own and waste valuable time. This goes in line what I was voicing early on when UK never brought the virus or the handling by other nations into light at the beginning of the pandemic.

I think, it’s about time you are aware that lives are being lost at the hands of incompetent people but also political magicians like Boris Johnson. The people cried out at the Govt. lack of transparency when the pandemic took hold and they should continue to cry out if things do not go the right way. Any introduction by the PM to soften this pandemic as they have done all this time will lead to more loss of lives and I encourage you to stand tall and speak with knowledge and power.

Over in the US, Obama has finally spoken out and said that the handling of the virus is a ‘chaotic disaster’ and I agree with him. Read all about it here…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52602580

Update 9th May, 2020

You can probably tell from my slim reporting in the last few days that it is also a reflection of how the danger and peak of this virus is now subsiding. Although, it would seem that the public are still ignoring many of the social rules as the days get warmer and in particular the bank holiday weekend. However, when the Govt. makes a point about announcing new social rules this coming Sunday by the PM, there is anticipated hope in the air. I think again the Govt is moving the ‘herd’ mentality and I don’t mean the ‘herd’ immunity of a few months ago. I mean to say that the Govt reacts to the forces by the public rather than doing solid and noteworthy actions that benefits us all. It may also explain why they sounded ‘soft’ headed at the beginning of the pandemic and always prescribing to the public’s reactions laced with excuses and a reflection of hardships by the people.

Today, the briefing was delivered by the Transport Secretary who is putting a 2 billion pounds in extra funding for bicycle and walking incentives. This is to encourage more people to go to work by biking and walking more coupled with the fact that public transport will be sparse. On other news, the Govt is taking a stance with incoming international travelers to be isolated for two weeks upon entry. I have to say that if this kind of move had been done over a month ago we would probably have fewer deaths than the 31,000 deaths we have today. I have to repeat myself again and convinced of the fact that politicians are there to boos their appearance in the public eye. In situations like this crisis, the Govt is completely the wrong set of people to tackle the virus, what they should have done is to delegate a superior task force that has only one single minded purpose in mind and that is to save lives. You will see that my argument carries more weight when you see my interpretation of the main slogan shown in Fig. M6c. I hope that lessons can be learnt from this crisis so we never had to go through the mess we had to again.

Daily tracking of deaths/cases courtesy of John Hopkins.

Update: 7th May, 2020

The main topic of today was how the lifting of the lock down was going to be carried. However, it became increasingly clear that the measures will be strict and would be heavily dependent on the R factor (see my earlier posts). The PM, Boris Johnson is expected to make some announcements this Sunday as to exactly what was going to be relaxed and what will stay in place. The Scottish minister Nichola Sturgeon has opted to maintain the lock down for another 3 weeks. This immediately got everyone to question the relaxations of the rules applicable to England. More information will be gleaned in the coming few days.

Update: 6th May, 2020

After a few months of absence, the Parliament resumed debates with the PM Boris Johnson and the leader of the opposition party, Sir Kier Starmer. As Britain crossed the 30,000 death count which is the highest in Europe and beyond Italy, questions as to how we got here was aired. In my opinion, those questions are all too late and the opposition party should have pummeled their views right from the beginning. Instead, the labor party sat behind their empty words and let the Conservative party take over the most critical decisions the country has to make over this crisis. So much for the opposition party, all the opposition I was was coming from my house and through this blog I had created.

I was deeply disturbed by BBC’s and Matt Hancock’s response to the above question. Firstly, Hancock and BBC make a serious error in saying that the UK has the largest population in the EU. Sorry mate, the published figures indicate that Germany has the highest population and yet contained the virus far more effectively than other nations with lower populations, Do they think that people won’t go back and do some fact checking? See my Fig. M6a below which are official population figures of the EU nations.

Fig. M6a Populations of Europe from the Wikipedia page.

The figures tell a different story to what the BBC and Hancock is prescribing too. Please do not go down the US/Trump path and start pointing fingers at others to deflect blame and criticism. Man up to the facts and say you are doing everything in your power to make it right and better. I am sure people won’t persecute you if you were honest and lived up to the facts. Plus it is one less distraction for you to contend with ie. trying to find ways to ‘politicize’ the facts rather than learn and just get along with it.

This brings me to another point about the ‘campaigns’ that the Conservative party started when the pandemic was taking on strength. Their slogans of ‘Protect the NHS’ and the banners that they advertise on their podiums in the daily Govt briefings, see Fig M6b.

Fig. M6b The taglines used in the Conservative Party’s campaign to combat the virus.

I for one, personally feel that this tagline is ineffective but can be very misleading and I will explain why. Notice that the ‘Save Lives’ is the last tag on this slogan. Basically this means that the two other tags ie. Stay Home, Protect the NHS have more precedence and weight than the last one. To me, one moves heaven and earth to save one life but this message board is highly misleading. It assumes that we need to protect the NHS before we save lives. I could never understand the reason for putting up a confusing slogan such as this but I can say that it did not help in the cause. Like the Govts stance on wearing a mask and their slow response to put down lockdowns and introducing key workers even in schools gets everyone confused. All I have to say, in a time when lives are at stake, SAVING LIVES takes preponderance over everything else. Nothing comes in between or near that agenda for saving lives. I want to remind users that in a study done after the 9/11 disaster, it was found that many people had died because many fireworkers followed protocol over saving lives. As a result many people who could have been saved were stranded and died because fireworkers were following protocol. In crisis such as this when lives are at stake the same rule applies, you do whatever it takes to save lives and not simply follow a crib sheet. Here is what I think the new Slogan should be, Fig. M6c.

Fig. M6c. How the new slogan should appear on the Govts podium.

Update: 5th May, 2020

Today was a big dent to the UKs progress on the pandemic with the number of reported deaths nearing 700 which is a large increase from previous days. In addition, the deputy chief medical officer had said that testing in UK could have been done earlier. I am not too surprised by this statement and you will see from my daily logs early in March when I was complaining about the Govt slow response to the pandemic. As soon as I landed in UK in the middle of April, I was dumfounded by the Govt reaction to the virus and what I thought about this. They initially had this vague phased approach and then introduced the isolation of elderly people, see my Blog post of 18th March, 2020. I doubt we would have been in this mess if they didn’t take an ‘academic’ approach to this virus and instead take it by the horn. There was an exceptional disconnect between the people and the Govt at that time. Many were voicing their discontent with the Govt and their stance on the virus. I think the Govt made a grave mistake and continues to do so by relying too heavily on scientific data when clearly the whole world was in a crisis. I would squarely rest this blame on the PM, Boris Johnson. At a time when quick actions to avert this worldwide pandemic was necessary, the Govt chooses to sit behind a lame scientific body called Sage and today we find that this body has redacted some of it’s public documents. I am not blaming this organization but I do blame the UK Govt. to rely on them too heavily. The subject of masks debate still continues without any clear answers. I have also criticized the Govt. stance on this and you can read about it on my blog post of 26th April, 2020.

When the pandemic was just taking a footing in the UK, I was really hoping that since Britain is an isolated country with waters all around, the pandemic might be less worse than Europe. As it turns out, Britain has gone opposite of what our European counterparts have gone through with more deaths! Even though Germany is landlocked with many nations bordering it, it has reduced the number of deaths by 5 times compared to the UK. I am not that surprised and all because of UK’s slow reaction to this pandemic which I have criticized time and time again. Take for example, the complete lack of checks at the airport and even today. Air Lingus was criticized today for having a full flight with no social distancing, see below.

Air Lingus flight showing no social distancing rules. Courtesy of BBC.

The Govt. continues to hide behind scientific bodies and numbers as in today’s poor daily briefing given by Dominic Raab and Prof Angela McLean Prof of Mathematical Biology from Oxford University. When McLean produced the graphs I was somewhat dismayed that she exaggerated the rate of drop to be far greater than what was depicted in the graph. No doubt she got some political pummeling before the brief on how to ‘optimize’ the data. There were many questions targeted at Raab on UK being the worst country in EU to date with the number of deaths exceeding Italy. We needn’t come to this point to know this snippet of fact, it was always there right from the beginning. Also, see my table of Fig. M2 and the graph of Fig. M1. Ok, maybe we can’t possibly emulate the staggering achievements made by S. Korea and China but we can compare to our European brethren, Germany. Did the UK Govt mention the techniques adopted by Germany and trying to learn, I don’t think so. In line with British pompous arrogance, they decided to act on their own and I mention this countless times in my later blogs from 18th March. They even make excuses that each country is different, I say , that maybe so but the virus sure ain’t! Check out my posting on 23 rd April, what I had to say about this when an academic was attempting to give more weight to scientific data and ignoring the hard truths!

I am sad to say that Britain’s politicians have failed to deliver on it’s promise to protect it’s nations and there has to be an inquiry of the failings so far. The panel should be headed by Piers Morgan who has been candid and fair about the pandemic and totally transparent to the viewers on his Good Morning Britain show. I also praise Jeremy Vine of Channel 5 for his intelligence in picking essential topics of interests that has meaning to our daily lives.

Let’s pray that we can get over this hurdle quickly and get back to normal life as soon as we can.

Update: 4th May, 2020

The daily brief by the Govt today painted an almost rosy picture of what was happening with the virus throughout the country. It wold seem that Nightingale hospital in London is on stand-by as a result of the reduction in hospital admissions. The number of deaths reported appears to have dropped to below 400 but the numbers have always been lower during the weekends as a result of the counting.

There was a good deal of discussions on the track, trace and isolate app that has just been launched. The Isle of White residents are expected to be the recipients of this app to start testing out the system before launching to the greater UK. It is expected that this app along with the actual testing of the residents would give a clearer picture of the virus and its impact on the population. This is in view to taking actions swiftly against the virus and stopping a second wave of the virus.

Already there were talks on relaxing the lock down but the social distancing rules will still apply at the work place. I was impressed that Asda had made the efforts to put the notice on the floors and doors and also continuously repeating the message on their tannoy speaker. Although, I was disappointed that none of the workers were using masks or gloves.

Earlier there was an announcement by the Govt to help businesses with money up to 50,000 pounds. Apparently these business backed loans will be easier to apply than previously. On some of the graphs presented in the brief we were shown the usual graph of the deaths from each of the nations.

Fig. M1. Including China in the graph to derive table shown in Fig. M2

Since the graphs are more or less linear, I thought it would be a good idea to do some calculations on the effectiveness of each of the nations handling the virus. Since the number of deaths against the population is a good measure of the way each of the nations handled the virus, it is worth looking at the graph in Fig. M1 from another angle.

I have used the published virus data derived from the John Hopkins lab, link below.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/MAP.HTML

On the population data, I have obtained this from wiki resources. In Fig. M1 I have included China along with it’s death count from the John Hopkins live data. The tabulated data is shown in Fig. M2.

Fig. M2 The effectiveness of each of the nations handling of the virus against China and Germany.

The first 2 columns include the raw data of Population and Deaths. The ratio is the total population divided by the deaths. This gives an idea of the percentage deaths against the population. Right away we can see that Spain has the highest deaths per population and China with the lowest. If we go further and take China as the reference point of 1 basically dividing the figures by 3.33 we can sort of estimate the effectiveness of the Governments in each of the nation in handling the virus. So the US is 63 times worse in it’s handling of the virus compared to China. UK is even higher, being 131 times worse than China’s handling of the virus. We don’t have to just compare China, we can use Germany as a reference as shown in column 6. Spain is worse by 6 times in handling the virus, whereas UK is not far behind with 5x. Surprisingly US is about 2.5 times less effective than Germany in handling the virus. Although the numbers for US looks bad with almost 69,000 deaths, which is the worst out of all the nations, it’s handling of the virus compared to it’s European counterparts is much better. Maybe Trump should be quoting figures like this instead of bringing China since nobody comes even close to it’s handling of the virus.

Update: 3rd May, 2020

This weekend saw warm weather both here in the UK and over in US. Unfortunately, the severity of the pandemic is not only being diminished by the actions of the US Govt but people taking to the streets to voice their anger over the lock down. For example, in California there were cars ‘hooting’ along one of the coastal cities to voice their protest over the Governors ban on the beach. This takes me back to the day when I saw Spielberg’s movie ‘Jaws’ where the Governor was more concerned with keeping beaches open despite the fear of shark attacks. It really does speak to how times have changed. Today, the majority of people have become dissatisfied with the way they are governed and continues to put forth their views over others. It’s a sad irony that the Governor decides to keep lock down to ensure the safety of the people whereas the people are not too concerned. Maybe it’s exactly the movement that Trump wants so he can carry this into the next election.

Here in the UK, thankfully many people are still concerned about lifting the lock down too early. There have been talks about reopening schools in June for 10-12 years old and ramping up the opening of businesses. However, this is still hearsay as the Govt are weighing in on more figures for the rate of virus spread and testing numbers.

Naturally, there is a growing fear in all the nations (maybe not the USA) that the second wave can happen if restrictions are lifted too early.

New York saw it’s warmest weather this year with many people heading to the parks.
Photo courtesy of BBC.
It can only happen in Washington where masks by the Whitehouse are snubbed.
Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Update: 2nd May, 2020

It was just a matter of time when Trump would band with other nations in his quest to incriminate China over the virus. With a death count of over 60,000 in the USA, it’s no wonder he is panicking especially with the upcoming elections. I am afraid to say that at a time of national crisis a strong and just leader will take the bull by the horn and do all it takes to get the nation out of this. Instead he chooses to deflect blame and responsibility by a 15 page document prepared by 5 eyes? The 5 eyes group is supposedly a global security group consisting of US, Australia, UK, New Zealand and Canada. The document pertains to have discovered proof that the virus sprung out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. You can read more about it on the link below.

Report from the metro uk on the intelligence report of the 5 Eyes group.

If there was a lame document that has ever come out of existence than this would be right at the top. A 15 page report…. really. From what was mentioned about the document, it was no more than wild speculation and pointing to a virologist from the institute. Further more, the document mentions that virus samples were withheld by officials when USA had requested it. Wait just one second. You want virus samples, how about extracting it from the countless number that have died so far. Or are you dealing with some virus that is not COVID-19. In any case when would a nation who is tackling their pandemic go out of their way to support a finger pointing exercise? How many nations are working with USA now to combat the virus or sharing the results. I don’t know of any so far. WHO have also said that they won’t be going finger point marching along with USA on China. WHO mentioned that they got full corporation with China right from the beginning while USA (Republicans mainly) was playing down the ferocity of the virus and comparing it to the common flu.

This nonsense has to stop and I don’t know about you, I am with Piers Morgan on his take of Trump, see my note of 27th April, 2020 below. My two cents on Trump, he was completely the wrong choice for becoming a president and in fact, I believe Hilary would have done better job of handling this pandemic. The problem with Trump is that he has been sitting on his godly pedestal for far too long before becoming president. He commands and so it happens but not when you are president of a whole nation. There is a balancing with many dynamics at play and if you don’t have what it takes, you might as well go back to what you are doing before. I provide a detailed explanation of why Trump is a miserable failure in the office and completely incompetent one at that. His recent handling and reaction to the virus should be indicative of this and my explanation provides further proof. Here is the link to the article below

My explanation of Trumps persona and how it deeply impacts his job function in the Whitehouse

Update: 1st May, 2020

We are almost heading into summer solstice without many of us venturing out into the cold of sprint. Spring has probably escaped most of us this year but oddly enough it was the warmest season that Britain has had for a long time.

On the daily Govt brief today many of the questions were directed towards Matt Hancock’s promise of 100,000 daily test targets for yesterday. The target reached was about 86,000. I don’t quite understand why the media is holding steadfast to the Govt. promise of not having met the daily target. As far as I am concerned any boost in tests are welcome news. However, it was found that not all tests were equal. For example, there was a debate about the drive through tests where a health official would take the swab and send it to the lab for tests. The other portions of tests include the home kit tests and the ‘paid’ laboratory tests. It was pointed out that the accuracy of the home tests could be undermined by folks not doing the tests correctly. On the tests that are conducted by private labs, there are no single body that can guarantee the accuracy of these tests since the NHS are already over resourced. These private tests can cost as much as £175.

There was discussions regarding tests that was supplanted by track and trace methods in order to contain the R factor (see my previous day notes below). The idea of the track and trace allows individuals to be connected with other people that they come into contact during their day. When I mean contact, I mean to say that any person who they might have come into close proximity even in social distancing. Say for example one person finds out that they have contracted the virus. The track and trace application on the persons phone will send an alert to all the other phones in that group. Suppose one of the person in the group also contracts the virus then over time, we can get a ‘map’ of how the virus has spread through the group. Naturally, for this to work, they require a large number of people spread out over a large region. The Govt mentioned that there maybe 186,000 who will have this application once it gets underway.

How the track and trace works, courtesy of BBC & Oxford University

Today, there are over 27,000 deaths to date in the UK from the corona virus. There is hope from all camps that we may have passed the worst of it.

Over in the USA, New York has announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Over in Washington Trump tries to hold onto his power through fan faring with more absurdities that he has information about the virus having come out of a Chinese lab in Wuhan. There is no doubt that the sexual allegation on Biden is also another move by the Republicans to discredit him up to the next election. With a whopping 60,000 deaths in the USA no wonder Trump has deep concerns about his reelection campaign for 2020. I am not sure what the approval ratings now looks for Trump but I can’t imagine it to be that good.

Update: 30th April, 2020

Today’s daily brief from Downing St. was given by the PM himself, Boris Johnson. In his brief he mentioned the ‘R’ factor which was critical to the measure of the rate of infection of the virus. This number varies from 0 to 4 to indicate how the virus can spread from a person to person.

R factor to determine the rate of infection of a virus.

Basically, the number represents how one individual can infect another person or persons. Presently, the R factor is below 1 at around 0.8 which means that the virus has a chance of spreading to less than one other person. This has been achieved largely by social distancing but when people come out the pandemic and making contact with more people the number of infected people can still be high which would strike up another wave of growth in the virus. This is when the R factor can rise to 3 or more.

Testing can be important to minimize and measure accurate R numbers and effectively signalling the end of the pandemic where lock down can be lifted. However, this is only viable if we have a good idea of what areas of the population are still infected with the virus. The increased tests that the Govt has promised is now close to 80k /day. However, this is still low and needs to be a lot higher. This would be crucial for deciding on lifting some restrictions on the lock down. Already Germany has started relaxing some restrictions including opening up museums and zoos. It should be mentioned that testing in Germany has been one of their primary drivers that has allowed them to minimize the death counts, see graph below.

UK deaths have seen proportionately higher deaths than other EU countries.

The PM was asked that question during the panel discussion and was conveniently deflected by the PM without strong answers. I think the best response came from the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty who said that it would be better to focus on the work at hand and then run the numbers after the pandemic. In my opinion, the Govt was slow to react at the start of this pandemic thinking they had the ideal solutions and underestimated the veracity of this virus. However, over time, they have picked up speed and continue to do so. I would like to see that after this pandemic is over, there is a task force setup to study the actions and in-actions taken by the Govt and to learn from it.

The PM has suggested that the peak of the virus is over but he cautioned that if we let go of our guards, we could escalate to another second wave of this virus. He did make it clear that next week there will be discussions on their measures to address the relaxation of the lock down. In a presentation slide he mentions 5 key factors that will need to be taken into consideration before any national measures can be taken, shown below.

Five key tests that are required for adjusting the lockdown.

There were also discussions on how UK was undergoing research to find a vaccine. There are some known treatments that have been available and made public to the health environments on reducing the deaths by as much as 20% with the proper treatment. On another topic, WHO warned that a proposal to give international travelers a ‘immunity’ passport could prove to be dangerous. This is because there is little information on how the virus may come back for people who have already had the virus but was able to shake it off.

On the economic front there are grim figures that have pointed to a massive recession unlike anything we have seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s and the crash of 2008. The US economy has contracted by 5% and with EU/UK of about 6%. As mentioned in yesterdays post of 29th, April, the figures are expected to be even bigger within another few months. This is because that even if lock down is relaxed, the world is not going to go back to normalcy until the virus is clear out of the woods and also a vaccine has been found.

PM of UK Boris Johnson gives his first brief from his absence of 3 weeks from the virus.

Update: 29th April, 2020

The day begins with the prime minister Boris Johnson having announced the proud birth of a baby boy. Many congratulations to him and his fiancee Carrie Symonds, it must have been a great relief and a joy at the same time for the prime minister to have come out of the last very difficult weeks.

The UK daily debate led by Dominic Raab focused on the increased care home deaths and how they were increasing the tests for the elderly as well as the essential key workers. On the subject of reopening the economy and lifting the lock down there was hesitation and rightfully so due to the potential for another second wave. He mentioned specifically Germany that had recently saw a rise in the cases as the lockdown measures were relaxed. It was the very first time that the Government has made any mention of the actions and plans of other nations. It is something I have seen all along in these debates where mention of other countries and the actions that they have taken are sorely omitted. Instead they choose to stick to their guns on a mysterious scientific body that seemingly provides advise to them. I give the example of the wearing of masks.

Oddly enough the Scottish minister Nicola Sturgeon was now becoming more strict on the use of masks especially in confined areas such as shopping. Scotland also reported the highest death counts for care homes which is almost 50% of the total COVID-19 deaths reported in Scotland.

Reopening of schools was also discussed and the possibility of a phased opening was on the table but when that was to happen is not yet known. On other news, USA reported a drop in GDP of almost 5% which has been the lowest since the financial crisis of 2008. A former finance treasurer of US painted a bleak picture of as much as 15% in the coming months.

On a topic that has been having some people concerned is the state of the housing market. Many tend to feel that once this is over the house market will rebound. I have bad news for those optimists, the huge debt that will be carried by the nations will need to be paid off by workers who are probably going to be out of work for say 4 months. There will be a tightening of the purses by the public due to the debts that they had to bear over these months. It is unlikely anything will look rosy for at least six months down the line. The lack of consumer spending and the low output of manufacturing will surely take time to get back to normal. It may not get back to normal, maybe a lot of us are now rethinking our spending power and how frivolously we go about spending money. This will have a knock off effect on the manufacturing companies that sell goods and potentially the food sector where people would probably save money by eating at home. Who knows, the entire mindset of the public will have changed significantly in the upcoming months that the world will be a different place altogether.

Covid-19 death tolls around the world as of Apr 28th, 2020, courtesy of the Financial Times.

Update: 28th April, 2020

The main topic that has caught the headlines are the increased deaths appearing in care homes and again the Govt slow to react. It has been worked out that one sixth of the deaths from the Coronavirus are from care homes. Piers Morgan had another heated debate with a Govt safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins on their action plans on the Govt action plans on the pandemic. He specifically mentioned an exercise that the Govt carried out in 2016 on their reactions to new pandemics which was called Exercise Cygnus. The exercise was to address how the Govt should handle a pandemic should one ever happen. The results showed that Britain would be severely short of PPE equipment and adequate plans need to be put in place. Go to the link below to watch the video.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11495932/piers-morgan-minister-cygnus-tears/

I have mentioned in my blog post before that the Govt is here for the people and only for us. So it stands that they do everything in their power to safeguard the interest and well being of the people. They have intimate knowledge (or should have) the kind of actions they should take when a crisis strikes the country. It turns out the people of the country are more prepared than the Govt. Unless you have strong leaders who are put in place that addresses core problems that are in the country and what may happen to the country, we really don’t have a good working Govt. I have been saying all along that the Brexit issue was taking center stage for the Govt since it started in 2016 and I know that most of their energy was diverted to that at the expense of addressing day to day operations of the country. No doubt this has played a role of what are seeing now.

It continues to baffle me that at the Govt daily briefings when asked about wearing masks they continue to respond with ‘no scientific data’ to warrant the use of masks. You already know how I feel about this and I have mentioned that the nations that have tackled the virus effectively did not have second thoughts about wearing a mask. I guarantee, you go to Singapore or S. Korea and ask whether a mask is required, they will look at you puzzled and probably laugh at you after wards for asking such an absurd question. To me when the Govt replies with a lame response like ‘no evidence’ I almost feel like screaming. Firstly, why should there be any evidence, did you want to carry out an experiment of a town with masks and a town without masks and measure the figures after 2 weeks. Maybe then you might be convinced. Look to other nations wearing masks and see if it makes sense instead of relying on dangerous speculation as you are doing now. Maybe when this is all over, you are going to make the announcement, ‘we have concluded from our scientific data that masks are a requirement for protecting oneself’…oops too late and thousands have already died. I think you get my drift.

Today, the UK had a minute silence to remember the care workers that have died, numbering over 100. We all value their brave efforts in tackling the virus and controlling the rise of the pandemic.

Remembrance of health workers who have died in this pandemic.

On the daily briefing, Matt Hancock gave their update on the pandemic and the topics were mainly on PPE gear, new tests that has been developed by Oxford University, the online website for allowing all key workers to have tests. The greater number of tests reveal a higher number of cases as expected but does not imply that the pandemic is rising. The hospital data shows that the counts are falling in number of deaths reported in hospitals as the graph shows.

Reported deaths in hospitals as of 28th April, 2020, from the Govt daily briefing.

On another interesting graph (not presented in the daily briefings) that the BBC showed today was the overall death counts compared to the normal average. Since it is expected that there will be daily deaths from the population from flu, accidents etc. it is worthy to see how the COVID-19 has raised this total. The below graph shows these numbers.

UK deaths of COVID-19 compared to the general average. Courtesy of BBC.

Update: 27th April, 2020

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back from his 3 week absence having contracted the virus and gave a morning brief outside no 10 Downing St. He was quick to mention that there won’t be any easing of the lock down to avoid any chance of a second outbreak. Perhaps a lesson to be learnt from history where the Spanish flu in San Francisco came back in a second wave when the city lifted the lock down too prematurely. There is much debate as to when the lock down in the UK will be lifted but everyone knows that this will be done with restrictions. From the cabinet briefing by Matt Hancock today at 5pm, we learned that the hospital admissions were going down as well as the daily toll of deaths. The chief medical director made it clear that those who needed treatment outside of COVID-19 should seek help from the NHS and not wait. There may have been a big fear by people in seeking hospital treatment due to the hospitals being under pressure from the virus. Matt Hancock reassured the public that if anyone did have symptoms of chest pains, difficulty breathing, lumps and so on, that they can seek NHS help.

Over to the US and the unapologetic Trump is ranting again through his twitter account on the journalists for picking him on his previous inventive techniques to combating the virus. Piers Morgan, a once long term friend of Trump finally admitted that Trump was off his rockers and needs to develop more empathy for the American people. You can read his candid letter to the President from the link below.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8261275/PIERS-MORGAN-open-letter-President-Trump-unfollowed-friend-cut-covid-crap.html

Graph showing decrease in hospital admissions. From the daily Govt briefs.

Piers Morgan response to Donald Trump, courtesy of the Daily Mail.

Update: 26th April, 2020

Today, I was able to purchase groceries online on the Asda website ready for collection at 1pm. The weather was beautiful, sunny with a nice cool breeze as I got to the Asda supermarket collection point. The roads were not empty but was light in comparison to what would have been there if there was no pandemic. I was taken back by how many people were not wearing any safety masks or even attempting to do social distancing. I would not dare go inside the store for fear of picking up the virus. I wore my gloves and masks as I spoke to the Asda attendant who did not have any masks like all her colleagues working in the parking lot. I picked up my groceries and made my way back to my house.

It occurred to me the reasons why the relaxation by everyone regarding wearing protective masks. Firstly, it was made clear by the Govt. that their so called scientific data did not point to the necessity of wearing masks. As you can imagine I get extremely crossed when Govt. decides to take actions based on this criteria. Let me explain and see if I make common sense. The fact that there is no scientific data to support the wearing of masks, should that be the basis of not wearing a mask, especially in a pandemic which we know very well that spreads through coughing, touching etc. I think NOT! If there is no data to support the use of wearing a mask, you need to wear it, simple as that. Can someone please tell me that my deduction is wrong.

On another point that I want to make and that is the wearing of gloves. How come there is so much noise about keeping our hands clean and we should refrain from touching our faces, eyes etc. Surely gloves will prevent the spread of the virus if we routinely wear it when we come into contact with other people such as the case when I collect goods handled by other people. I can then dispose of the gloves quickly and efficiently without having to worry about finding water and soap. Here, the additional layer of a mask coupled with gloves can reduce the transmission significantly. Say, you touch someone or some items that have the virus lurking on the surface. If you accidentally came into contact, there is a much lower chance of you touching your face and transferring the virus to yourself. Suppose you had the remnants of the virus stuck to your gloves when you entered a home shared with other people. If you correctly disposed of the gloves and mask before entering the house, you are less likely to contaminate other surfaces that other members of the household can come into contact with. If however, you entered the house with your hands contaminated, and unless you take the precaution of using your clothes between the door handle and go straight to the wash basin to remove the contaminants you are much likely to leave residues of the virus that can come into contact with others who maybe leaving the house. I very much doubt that people take this kind of precaution when entering their homes, but you can see my point.

Infectious stats for the UK on COVID-19 pandemic, courtesy of John Hopkins Medicine.

Update: 25th April, 2020

Today, Priti Patel (Home Secretary) aired the public briefing on the coronavirus. UK has passed 20k deaths in total which makes UK as the 5th country with the largest count with US having almost 50k deaths. On the panel we had the UK crimes division on how they were tackling offenders taking advantage of the pandemic. So far a few reckless drivers doing 150 mph on the motorways and even on urban roads. There was disappointment that some citizens were not taking the social distancing too seriously and were venturing out in the warm weather. My feeling is that when the Govt makes announcements that the virus was slowing down due to the decreased number of cases in hospitals, puts people in a false sense of security. Personally, I would not even point to anything remotely discussing about the subsidence of the virus until it’s gone and poses no danger. Premature announcements like this, though meant to be in good spirits can lull people into complacency. As leaders of the country they need to be firm and stand strong to the stance that people must take. The fact is that in situations like this we just need to be told stay-in or face consequences. There should be none of that ‘wool’ about how the numbers are decreasing etc, it simply does not register with most people. Sometimes clarity of information related to the virus is good but action speaks louder than words.

Don’t tell me that I did’t warn you about President Donald Trump who I have said has no disregard for the well being of the people of America but to further his egotistical needs. Yesterday he made another dangerous suggestion that an injection of disinfectant could combat the virus. An astounding statement, in the same manner he was preaching about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine which is used to treat malaria. The president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro who was singing the same bells has now seen deaths in coronavirus patients who was administered this drug. This was despite warnings against the medical councils on it’s untested usage. In the same way that makers of the disinfectant ie. Lysol and Dettol made public announcements that their cleaning liquids should not be ingested or injected following Trump’s claims.

Today, Trump and the Whitehouse are now back tracking from the statements made yesterday saying it was done in jest and was meant to be sarcastic. I have a message for Trump. Please preach this to your avid followers who thinks you are the next best thing since sliced bread, but not to intelligent people that are still out there in the USA.

Trump explaining away his delusional statements as he has done before. Courtesy Credit: Photo by Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock (10602083e) President Donald Trump.

Update: 24th April, 2020

Opinion:

I was somewhat reassured when another briefing was held last night by the health secretary (Matt Hancock) and two other officials. The reason being that they seemed that they were now better handling the pandemic and taking clear actions on fulfilling PPE shortages. This was coupled with detailed data and graphs that showed important figures on the cases, hospital admissions etc. However, this morning I was let down by Matt Hancock’s appearance on the Good Morning Britain show. He was asked about the use of masks and all of his argument refer to his insistence on the scientific community and their feedback. This reminded me of the yesterdays debate where I explained that science has made a debacle of politics. I am referring to the debate specifically between the virologist from Cambridge Uni and Piers Morgan. Again, the argument was let’s find a scientific theory behind the data points and ignore the facts on the streets. It’s downright embarrassing and degrading to to insult one’s intelligence in this way. Why is it the public seem to be the only ones who are seeing other nations wearing masks and UK decide to use it’s own scientific data to tackle it in isolation. For heavens sakes the entire world is dealing with the same virus what makes UK or any other nation different. It is a political game played by Trump probably to deflect the incompetency and to appeal to lesser intellectual beings ie. ‘of course we are dealing with the virus and we have the best scientific minds to tackle this’. Thank heavens for the internet, if it weren’t for the internet all the people will be like puppies to these western governments. Never before in the history of the West has this level of incompetency been revealed at this vast scale.

Update: 23rd April, 2020

Today was a sad day indeed in the history of British science having watched the Good Morning Britain show with Piers Morgan. In his panel of guests he had a couple of senior editors from the mainstream newspaper and a respected Virologist from Cambridge University. The main questions had turned to the scientist from Cambridge University and the responses were one of the most conflated that I have ever heard in my history as a scientist. Piers Morgan’s argument was rightfully directed as to why the death rate in UK is the poorest in Europe and just behind the US. If you wanted to see how people can not only skirt around the facts but to give novel explanations to sweep any arguments aside, you need to watch this. When the responses like this comes from what is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the world, you have to take notice and makes it all that worse. It is now clear to me that the politicians were seeking help from the wrong people when it comes to a national crisis. To hide behind these people who feel that they have answers and explanations to everything while people are dying is absolutely deplorable and disgusting.

Pier’s even had to say, ok the sciences may say this but shouldn’t you be looking at the actual numbers ie. the high death rate. Even that didn’t sit well with the scientist and he gives elaborate reasonings as to why their actions still merits a scientific evaluation. I am sorry to say that science has finally lost it’s way and will continue to go backwards. Politicians should steer clear or step cautiously from what they consider are scientific bodies that are designed to help humanity or the British people. Today, there was none of that and instead these ‘scientific minds’ rest behind their theoretical data points steering people away from the real hard facts and truths. Just see how Trump uses it to good effect.

The argument almost parallels the evolutionary theorists who argue their scientific view points are a justification of what we see in this real world and it must be so. No longer do they rely on the actual facts and figures but they go outside of it to prove that their data points are correct and befitting of everything you see on earth!

I am very saddened by this debate but not many people can come to understand what I have just witnessed in those 20 minutes. A dangerous precedence has been set where if it goes unchecked, the facts and figures have the potential to take a back seat only to be driven by ideological and whimsical theories conjured up by academic elitists. The fact that politicians place much importance to these institutions can put this country in peril. It is no surprise that the Govt failure to act is a result of them ignoring the actual facts and figures from the WHO organization and other nations but to listen attentively to these academics who thinks they have all the answers. Fortunately, there are some universities like Oxford and Imperial that have addressed the issue by coming up with research and clinical studies on the virus.

On another note, the announcement made by Hancock a few days ago on the introduction of the human trials was missing gross information. Perhaps he was trying to win back a few brownie points for himself especially with all the scrutiny on their handling of the virus. What he failed to tell you that the public ain’t going to see any of the vaccines until later this year even if human trials are expected today. Quite a convenient omission, wouldn’t you agree.

A low point in British science following a debate by Piers Morgan in the Good Morning Britain show today. Courtesy of Good Morning Britain.

Update: 22nd April, 2020

Today’s death count from the virus is over 800 in the UK in the last 24 hours. This figure has remained about the same over the last few days and in line with the pandemic in Italy and Spain. Although those countries have seen their numbers go down, there is a lot of caution of regarding what businesses should be allowed to open. Some countries such as Denmark and Australia have taken bold steps to open up businesses and schools all but to a lesser extent. However, the social distancing of 2 m still applies and also the wearing of masks. It looks like Florida one of the puppy states of Trump has already opened up the beaches to the public. Only time will tell if a second wave springs up in that state.

If you remember, just over a month ago, the UK govt. was pussy footing about closing down large gatherings. Their argument was that it was easy to get the virus in a pub as opposed to large gatherings. As it turns out, this decision has now come back to bite them in the ass. A major football event in Anfield between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid was permitted to go ahead on March 11th. The virus at that time had taken a footing in Italy and Spain and there were many travelers to see the match. Many folks in Liverpool following this event are certain that the virus was spread as a result of this game. There is expected to be an inquiry into the legitimacy for allowing this event to proceed in light of this worldwide pandemic. Another event related to horse racing was also allowed to be staged which will also come under scrutiny.

On the other side of the pond over in the US, a live briefing is being aired by Trump who is in damage control over a statement made by the
Director Robert Redfield of CDC. He made a statement yesterday that there will be a difficult period ahead when the virus and the flu will be worked hand in hand. He indicated that the period will be difficult and now is playing down the veracity of the virus. As usual, Trump is finger pointing to all the news channels as fake news including CNN. Oddly enough Fox news seems to be immune from his criticism. It shocks me that the US can house a president who continuously makes a mockery of actual facts.

The Anfield stadium on March 12th, 2020. Courtesy of BBC.

Update: 21st April, 2020

On breaking news, Matt Hancock, the UKs health secretary announced today that a vaccine will be available this Thursday on human trials. This is indeed astonishing news considering that vaccines can take several years before before being approved for the public. However, the case is exceptional where the Govt. can push this along at speed. What would be even more astonishing would be the fact that the vaccines actually worked. My good old Imperial College of London and Oxford University have been awarded around £20 million each on their work on the virus.

Hancock explained that the UK was spending more than any other country to find a vaccine. I very much doubt that but then again, if the UK were to produce an effective vaccine that worked, then the whole world can breathe a big sigh of relief.

On other news, the reported daily deaths in the last week in UK has been underestimated due to the fact that there are unaccounted deaths outside of the NHS. These figures are now being added to the daily total in order to provide accurate data of this pandemic. The figures are grim as the total number of deaths in the last 24 hours has been the highest so far. Although some experts think that we may have hit a plateau or a flattening of the curve. Personally I feel that it’s still early days although going by the signs in Europe we may not be that far away. What concerns me is that there maybe another secondary outbreak judging by how quickly some nations are wanting to lift the lockdown.

On the other side of the pond Trump has made an announcement to stop all immigration to the US. The move is in no doubt to win badly needed voters from the far-right for his upcoming re-election.

Matt Hancock announcing that a new vaccine is coming out this Thurs. for human trials. Photo courtesy of BBC.

Update: 20th April, 2020

It seems that the media and the public are now scrutinizing the government’s actions at the early stage of the pandemic are now coming under fire. A recent article written by the Sunday Times newspaper has the UK Govt running to it’s defense in a 2,000 word rebuttal. You can read the article in the link below.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-govts-lengthy-rebuttal-to-newspaper-claims-it-sleepwalked-into-crisis-11975703

I can go through this in detail but I wanted to point out that the facts are true that the UK Govt reacted slowly to this impending pandemic. Look at my earlier daily blogs below starting on March and you will see that they clearly took a cautious approach to this global pandemic. Here is what I can tell you when I returned to the UK on 14th March of 2020.

I came into London Heathrow on the day of 14th March, 2020 and there were absolutely no personnel that was wearing any protective masks. It seems that the whole world was in ablaze with this pandemic and UK seemed half a sleep. I remember, I also went into Asda in the first week I got back and there were absolutely no one doing social distancing. Keep in mind this was the 3rd week of March. Prior to arriving in UK, I had learnt that many of the public where distrustful of the government and were taking steps to stock up on food. Is there something that the public knew that the Govt did not know? I heard from many that the Govt was not taking this seriously. Furthermore, at that time, the Govt had made a briefing that they were going in ‘phases’. You can imagine how I felt about that and I voiced my opinion loudly around that time. They kept the school closed for a long time and making airy-fairy measures to keep key workers in place. They in my opinion did nothing to prepare for this pandemic and as a result we are at a death count of over 16,000 as we speak today.

Govt rebuttal of accusations that they reacted slowly at the beginning of the pandemic, courtesy of Sky News.

Update: 19th April, 2020

Today starts off with reports of Trump doing another ‘China’ bashing and this time over it’s credibility of their reported death rates. What, at a time like this when your whole administration is under review over your incompetence of the handling of the pandemic. Of course it makes sense… to deflect the real truth about his own administration’s handling of the pandemic. Why do the public need to know about this, they are more interested in what you are doing to curb deaths. As I have said before he has no disregard for the people of the nation and their lives but only interested on how others view him.

If I were a reporter, I would say to Trump to look at the strict methods that China and other nations have deployed to control the virus and forget about the numbers. Learn from it because it will surely give you ideas and methods on how to save lives in the US. Furthermore why doesn’t one of their allies S. Korea appear in this graph, because it would skew their arguments completely and make them look even more foolish and stupid.

Deplorable Washington House news briefing going after China again when they should be looking deep inside their institution of their own incompetence and handling of the virus.

On further news, the sounding bells of an exit strategy is taking shape in the media. With so little data to work on and tackle the virus, the thought of coming up with an exit strategy seems a bit far fetched. I think again the move is political and brought about by the media warfare just to test the Govt. on it’s preparedness just as they did on their handling of the virus. The caution of the doubt in the exit strategy is the fear of another second wave of the virus. Lift the lock down too quickly and the virus will spread, leave it too long and you are potentially hurting the economy unnecessarily by keeping people away from work. I think the deciding factors should be the numbers of admissions into the hospital and the deaths. However, it has to be remembered that the reasons for curbing the spread is primarily due to this social distancing and even if the admissions are low, lifting the lock down can have a catastrophic effect. It could potentially mean that the virus still undetected could be out there in great numbers and bringing people back to the workforce will only spread the virus further. In theory, the only sure way of lifting the lock down is that everyone becomes immune to the virus or has a vaccination.

The Wuhan case is a primary example of how a potential 2nd wave can come without notice. China has eased the lockdown in Wuhan when the numbers reported throughout the country were in single digits. However, recently, that number had increased by several hundred and it may very well be due to the reasoning I have provided above. A few people who have remained in isolation but continues to have the virus have been set free and now becomes a cluster for another wave.

Update: 18th April, 2020

To support my arguments I encourage readers to do some fact checking of the allegations made against China and WHO by Donald Trump of the US.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/17/trumps-false-claim-that-who-said-coronavirus-was-not-communicable/

The above is from the reputable Washington Post which cites several false claims by Trump during his briefing a few days ago when he started his bombastic ramblings on the WHO organization. What Trump will not tell you is that he had previous conversations with the Chinese president Xi on this pandemic and went as far to praise the president for his handling of the virus. Check out the facts below on Politico website..

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/15/trump-china-coronavirus-188736

It stands to reason that the increased scrutiny and mishandling of the virus that is costing US so many lives rests on the shoulders of Trump. Now he is wiggling his way out through propagandist briefings, finger pointing, blame and anything that put’s him in a bad light. Now, more than ever he is worried about his reelection campaign and wants to put the country under jeopardy by opening up the economy too prematurely. This is despite warnings from heath experts that it could spark of another second wave of the pandemic. The only silver lining that the US has over this tyrant of a president who has little regard for human life is the constitutional rights of the public. It is known fact that the individual 50 states of the US have the last say when the lock down should be lifted. This is a huge blessing for the people of America as many lives could be lost if this dictator of a man had omnipotent power over the country.

Although all of us are aware of the urbanized New York city having the highest death counts, it would be telling to look at California. Despite the state having 40 million inhabitants, it has done remarkably well to curb the number of deaths. Check out this article from the BBC…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52272651

We find a similar trend like many other nations that have managed to bring the pandemic under control. California had a very proactive Governor Gavin Newsom who declared a state of emergency for the whole state as soon as one COVID-19 death was reported. Their quick actions and firm handling of the social distancing has managed to keep the numbers at bay. Unfortunately, we could not speak for the UK govt who was still dilly dallying with some unmerited scientific scenarios on how to handle the situation. See my earlier updates on this pandemic (March 2020) below. An interesting point has been made on the above article and this was the effect that a few days had on the impact of the virus. It is an established fact that the quicker you act and prevent people from spreading the more lives you will save. However, the numbers might startle you depending on how quickly you act and we are talking about days if not hours. You will see such strong steps taken at the early stages of the cases in nations like S. Korea, Singapore and China. Their actions were very aggressive at the start and any epidemiologist will tell you that this is critical to the spread of the virus. Remember, all this information is available and well known to the Govt of each of the countries. The powerhouse of knowledge and information and the quickness to act is there for the Govt to make and this makes the whole handling by them seem even worse in the public eyes.

I remember when I came back to UK from abroad on 14th March, there was much distrust by the public on the Govt handling of the virus and their relative relaxed approach.

The no. of times Trump praised China on the coronavirus throughout this pandemic. Courtesy of Politico.
California keeps the cases and death counts to a remarkable low compared to the rest of the country. Courtesy of BBC.

Update: 17th April, 2020

On new developments from the News late last night, it seems the Western leaders are now taking another bashing at China. Don’t they have better things to do instead of bringing this nonsense into the picture now. The chatterbox is happening from the camps of Dominic Raab (US), Emmanuel Macron (France) and of course Donald Trump (US). If I wanted to question all of them, I would say why now and why don’t you go to the WHO where China like all nations have submitted their data. They are not exactly going to be transparent with you guys especially when they are tackling their own pandemic. Were you questioning each others actions on the European front? Frankly, you should have because the death rates are appalling by any standards due to the ineffectiveness of your response. Have you also noticed that nations that have tackled the virus better than others are least critical. Makes you wonder why, right? You have all the time in the world after the pandemic is over so cut out this fruitless finger pointing, it serves no purpose. I have not once heard from these leaders that they were following the advise of the WHO body or learning from other nations where the virus had wreaked havoc already. Common sense tells me that instead of believing in speculative theories from your own scientists you learn from other countries with the advanced stages of the virus. That’s pretty simple, right, but no, politics is all about boosting ones personality and at this juncture it should take a back seat.

Update: 16th April, 2020

Nothing major to report today, except it has been all quiet on the western front. Many countries are now cautiously taking steps to reopen some parts of the businesses that have been closed during the lock down. The UK is extending it’s lock down for another 3 weeks whereas countries like Denmark are reopening their schools. Italy is also opening some areas for businesses but at the same time fearing a potential second outbreak. Over in US, Trump is advocating reopening the economy despite record number of deaths and against warnings by medical experts and CDC. I think he feels that the longer this goes on, the more it will hurt his political campaigns in the coming election. If the public cannot see through this man whose sole interest in life is himself, than God help everyone of them.

Here in the UK, there is a general consensus that the rise of cases are flattening off which is paving the way for businesses to reopen. Unfortunately, I feel that thinking too prematurely into the future can send us into a another wave of the pandemic and I will provide my reasons. The fact is that Europe and the US were not only unprepared for this virus but their approach has been lacklustre to say the least. The Asian countries that have managed to bring the virus under control with their methods have proved to be superior to the West. Even they are not taking any risks and their control of the aftermath is by far more stringent than the West. So it goes without saying that the thought of lifting lock down in the West should be eyed with extreme caution.

I was watching the Jeremy Vine show on TV and he was asking the question whether the Government should apologize to the public over their handling of the pandemic. He gives an example of where the French president Emmanuel Macron had publicly aired his apologies to the public. I was rather surprised by many people who think’s it wasn’t required. My understanding has always been that ‘apologizing’ may not have a significant effect on the people hearing it but can profoundly change the thinking of the person who delivers it. It may take the burden of their shoulders and to really bring themselves back in balance to address the situation anew. To constantly defend one’s actions without apologies or acceptance of one’s fault means that they would not change easily and accept the real situation in hand. Take for example, Trump who never apologizes for anything but goes on ranting on how good he is at his job and ignores the basic facts. He goes further and deflects the scrutiny of his own incompetency by pointing fingers at others.

Update: 15th April, 2020

The backlash of Trump’s statement yesterday of pulling funding from WHO is now bearing fruition. First off, is the UN who condemns this action at this critical juncture when so many lives have been lost and more to follow. That’s a hell of an argument. Did Trump think this through and the repercussions of his own actions? The UN makes a valid statement that this should only be done after the pandemic is over and this in my opinion is the absolute right approach. However, the fact is that even after the pandemic and the countless deaths that will follow Trump will have a hard time comparing his own country to the rest of the world. He will surely be scrutinized as he is now over the handling of the pandemic. Maybe he is paving the way for what may follow and this act is only to cover up what lies ahead? In any case any sensitive leader who cares for his own nation and the people of the world that are stricken by this virus should do everything to help WHO and EVERYONE to combat this pandemic.

Here are some interesting facts about the WHO organization and funding. The WHO organization is one of the arms of the UN and has all member states contributing to it’s operation. The US contributes around $400 mill and is the biggest contributor followed by Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. UK is one of the top 4 of the contributing countries with the rest being made up of the 194 remaining UN member states. The WHO has an important role in the health and well being of the people of the world and you can read more about them on their website.


https://www.who.int/about

Update: 14th April, 2020

Breaking News

It is now 11:25pm GMT and Trump is making a statement at the Rose Gdn of the Whitehouse in front of other public officials. Right away, he started attacking the WHO organization and said that he will be pulling US funding from them. It seems like Trump finally found his scapegoat from the barrage of negative public opinion on his handling of the virus. Without doubt, it is a politically good move, but how far it will hold with the public, time will tell. What many should know that the ramblings Trump goes on about how WHO has not lived up to the promise of what it represented is probably based on unproven facts. If you have heard Trump’s statements before, many are aware of the half baked truths in his speeches and no doubt this one is also laced to the brim. There is one claim that Trump makes against WHO in that they did not introduce travel bans to China whereas he did. I would like to do a fact-check on this as I don’t believe it to be true. The sordid story of all this is that Trump is just not able to push back his inept approach to handling the virus based on numbers around the world especially around Asia. So the next best thing to do is to point the finger and blame at another organization that is critical and central to this whole pandemic.

Trump in the Rose Gdn. on Apr 14th condemning the WHO organization.

There was news by the IMF which has predicted a global recession unlike anything we have seen since the Great Depression. The grim outlook by the IMF predicts that that the economy worldwide will contract by 35% and no recovery in sight until next year.

Opinion:

It is interesting to note that the economic downturn is due entirely to the pandemic and is not man made. Normal economic and financial crisis are brought about by overstretching or manipulation of our own man made monetary systems. On this occasion nature has served it’s wrath on mankind and time will tell when the world can return to normality. But then again, what is ‘normal’. The path of the capitalistic system is to exploit the people of the nation and to generate as much money as they can. The very system that has propelled the industrial revolution and massive growth in the last century has now been brought to it’s knees. One can see how jittery the institutions that rely on this money bandwagon have become. The US president has been like a yo-yo when it comes to balancing the economy on one hand and dealing with the pandemic on the other. For the very first time, the people of the nation now have the last say and he has been driven into a corner where he has to justify all of his actions. Without the well being of the people there is no economy. It’s a bit like taking the gas out of the car and it has nowhere to go.

So where do we go from here? Depending on how things turn out and there is no second wave of the pandemic or we have a cure for the virus, the economy could spring back quickly. However, before that, I think all of us are going to see a sluggish economy which will be exacerbated by the lack of consumer spending. Price of goods will naturally come down to keep up with the ‘low’ demand and many areas of the market will be hard hit such as the housing market. Perhaps, the pandemic has come about in a guise that want’s everyone to rethink and change their ways.

Update: 13th April, 2020

Today Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs gave a public statement of the pandemic in UK. As expected the lock down would continue and provided some figures of the cases and deaths in the recent days, see Fig. 13.a. One of the questions asked to the panel was why masks were not made mandatory to the UK public. This is in light of other countries that have made it mandatory for people to wear masks when going outside and countries include USA, France and many others. The reply reminded me of the stance that the Govt took at the early stages of the virus over 5 weeks ago. Basically, the thinking is that it has to be based on scientific data? What does it take for the Govt to look at results all around us and to stop relying on speculation. This is a VIRUS and everything must be done to prevent the spread of virus and masks are worn by any medical staff even when there is no virus. It is an effective way to prevent the spread of contamination, germs etc. You only have to look at Fig. 12a to understand what I mean.

Fig 13a. Graph of global deaths presented by the Govt panel on the public briefing by Dominic Raab.

On the other side of the pond in USA, Donald Trump (Fig. 13b) is giving a briefing that is turning out to be a propagandist speech. All this stems from the huge spike in the number of deaths in USA which is over 20,000 and growing. Basically, Trump is under fire from pretty much everyone on his early intervention of the virus where he did little. He put together video clips to show how he supposedly handled the situation with perfect timing and all of the noise are just fake news. The whole brief is quite a joke where he seems to be blaming, cussing and proving himself to be right. This briefing will surely go down in history as the worst point in his presidency.

Fig. 13b A debacle of a briefing by Donald Trump that is sure to be discussed in the coming days.

Update: 12th April, 2020

Today was a quite day on the news front perhaps due to everyone taking an exhausted break over the Easter weekend. The number of deaths has jumped yet again for UK and it’s likely to remain this way for the next week. I am going to make more noise again on the preparedness or the lack of it from the UK government regarding this crisis.

It turns out that UK is not advising it’s citizens to wear masks when going out which I think is completely foolhardy. We know from simulations that the virus lingers in the air and even in confined areas where people maybe 2m apart can still contract the virus. It only makes sense to wear masks. What I find surprising is that the WHO organization does not put that much importance on the masks which I think sends wrong signals to all the nations. Again, they can learn from experience and a vast body of data that is coming out of the Asian nations. Pretty much all of these countries have adopted strict measures in wearing masks. Where did WHO get it wrong. I fear, that this is political as usual and takes one person to make a horrible decision such as masks are not mandatory. Take the example of the UK’s early response to the virus where the govt. decided to have a ‘phased’ approach to the virus and tried introducing ‘herd immunity’. A complete shambles to the preparedness of the virus and poor decision making where lives lost now could have been avoided.

There is still talk in the air about the lack of PPE (protective gear) where some counties seem to have plenty and other counties are in severe short supply. Again, preparedness by the Govt could have easily avoided this shortfall and distribution. I will mention another not so obvious area where the Govt. did not peer far enough into the chaos that would ensue. I am specifically talking about the distribution of food. As it turns out, I am not able to order any food online from any of the local supermarkets. Take Asda which has a click and collect service, you cannot find any booking spots for those. This was the only option I had where I could venture out by staying in my car and minimizing contact with other people. Sainsbury’s is only open for business for all elderly people on their online service. The other day, I waited online in a queue to shop on the Morrisons website for half an hour. I waited in anticipation until my turn came up, having a pretty good idea of what I needed in my own head. All I knew was that I was going to shop frantically the moment I got in knowing that there was a good chance that I was going to get kicked me off from the site. Having spent 5 mins filling my shopping cart with the goods I wanted, I went to their checkout, checked delivery and low and behold all the delivery spots were booked. They could have told me this earlier! Anyways, the point I am trying to make is that there are no distribution or delivery services that have been ramped up to cope with this increased demand. The Govt. was pretty well aware of this and did nothing. This is a sure way to spread the virus, since people like me cannot get anything online or have it collected or delivered, the only option is to break the rules and go out. I am also peeved that none of the supermarkets have not geared up this critical part of the business and many unfortunate individuals are going to the shops and increasing the risks. Fortunately for me, I have my brother in law down the street who helps me out but I can’t speak for many others.

Fig. 12a Simulation of a person sneezing in an isle in a shop and the spreading of the flatulence.
Fig. 12b. United Kingdom coronavirus stats as of Apr 12th, Courtesy of John Hopkins.

Update: 11th April, 2020

It’s Easter weekend and the weather is quite hot in the S. East of England, Boris Johnson has thankfully made it out of the ICU and doing well. Only time will tell how the Brits stand up to this lock down especially with the nice weather and all. The grim numbers of the highest recorded deaths yesterday (over 900) should hopefully dissuade people to think twice before breaking rules. The US has seen their deaths also jump and now New York has cleared some derelict areas in the Bronx to make way for mass graves. Italy has continued to see the deaths go down for the last few days raising hopes that the worst is over. However, rightly so the govt has kept the lock down until the end of the month.

For many, being cooped up in the home for so many days can make them a bit crazy. However, I think once people adopt a certain adjustment to their lifestyles then it will get easier. For me, I don’t always find enough time in the day to do all the things I want. The trick, I think is to keep busy and everyone has interest/s which they should pursue. Now is the time to pick up something you have always wanted to do but could not do it due to the lack of time. If you are looking for ideas, why don’t you start painting or drawing or better still do something creative with your tablet. Try the new Paintology app in the Google play store, link below, you are bound to have hours of fun and at the same time, pick up a nice skill.

Download the free Paintology app from the Google play store.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.paintology.lite

google play icon

Update: 10th April, 2020

Something that confounds me still is how neighboring countries are able to provide medical equipment to other countries. This comes at a point when all nations are complaining of the limited number of testing gear, ventilators etc. What happens if the country that provides the gear have to deal with the escalation of the virus, do they ask the recipient country to give it back, I just don’t know. I will use Turkey as an example. They have announced today that they will provide Spain with much medical equipment. I want to know what is the memorandum of understanding, is it to win political favors in the future, is there money involved. When Turkey is on the early stages of the pandemic with deaths of 900 so far, they are yet to see the full brunt of this pandemic. Surely, they would want to keep whatever medical supplies in hand to tackle this virus once it goes out of control as it has done for so many other nations. Do they have a surplus of the equipment?

I think this pandemic has really tested the leaders of the West. They are so used to planning and executing policies of the country, they never had to deal with a crisis like this before. Many other non West nations had to go through calamities like floods, invasions, wars, earthquakes, gorilla warfare, malnutrition….maybe that’s what makes them resilient and more prepared for situations like this. Unfortunately, Europe has not had any crisis of this nature since the last second world war and it shows. Their preparedness or ill-preparedness really comes out and I can visualize all of them jumping about in their cabinet offices trying to use their old methodologies to tackle this virus. This becomes plainly obvious when their public briefings are completely out of sync with actual realities in the fields. It explains why they did not take the earlier broader step of seeking advise from WHO, seeking help from nations that have overcome the virus. If I want to commend a European nation that ‘sort of went down the right path’, it would have to be Germany.

Here is another piece of useless reporting, you can see the BBC video on the link below..

https://www.itv.com/news/2020-04-09/coronavirus-the-wuhan-market-where-the-pandemic-started/

It still strikes me that journalists have no heart and yet again they go on criticizing the Chinese govt for unanswered questions. I bet this journalist never went to the WHO organization of what details China was sending information from the day it contacted the WHO organization of the virus on January 1st. The news is simply to add wood to the fire where the ‘Chinese-centric’ WHO organization has been blasted by the US government.

If you really wanted to do proper reading you would give meaningful stats to the rest of the world who can benefit from this. This is how quickly they managed to contain the virus in Wuhan and what measures they took. This might sink into the Western leaders with regards to their monumental incompetency. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the numbers and then for the public to point fingers at their own leaders. However, the journalists deflect blame just like their leaders to show the public that you can’t believe what you see with your own eyes.

Take a look at this video account of what China came into force and did with Wuhan. You will probably be shocked and alarmed at why your nations didn’t even do a percentage of what they did. The video was made and distributed by CGTN and of course the journalists and leaders will be quick to point out that it is all propaganda. You just cannot believe what you see that is coming out of China…get my drift.

The Wuhan epicenter of the virus and how China took measures.

Here is an embarrassing piece of video clip compiled by CNN Amanpour, award winning journalist. Is this was their attitude towards the virus you honestly think that the people of the country can bet their lives with these people. West – speculation, spin, arrogance, blame culture : East – humble, more doing, disinterested in politics.

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/04/08/fox-news-coronavirus-montage-amanpour-vpx.cnn

Update: 9th April, 2020

Another very grim day on the onslaught of the coronavirus. UK has reported the biggest day increase in the number of deaths with almost 1,000. This was the day when the Govt was going to review the guidelines for the national lock down that was in place. If anything, we can expect tougher measures than any relaxed rules as the pandemic takes it’s course. The US doesn’t look any better with NY reporting its highest one day increase of 779 deaths. This comes about from the many people who was chanting that the worst of it was over. It baffles me that people still like speculating, just like they like to speculate on the economy. There is no speculating with this virus and there is absolutely no reason to. You need to slog on until the virus has been completely eradicated. I am pretty sure with all those poor souls that are on the brink of life in their ICU beds are probably thinking the same.

Another point that I want to make, please ban all weather stations. It annoys me to see weather people smiling when they report good weather. For heavens sake, don’t you know everyone is staying put at home, are you enticing them with ice-cream and mocking them to come outside. BBC, please start by dropping all weather stations. I am concerned that this weekend is proving to be another warm day where we will have those ‘idiots’ who have total disregard for the rest of the population go out and put all of us at risk.

UK stats – Courtesy of Daily Express – Apr 9th.

What a pathetic the day it has been with the US senators, particularly the Republicans doing a whole round of China bashing. We have Bill Bar who explains that China is waging a ‘full court blitzkrieg’. Well first if it isn’t American who has been doing this for the last 100 years, talk about hypocrisy. As usual, they consider USA to be above and beyond any other nation, not answerable to war crimes that the whole world witnessed only a couple of decades ago or any interest in the Middle East. Please, not at a time when people’s lives are at stake. What are you trying to prove, something to hit back at China just because of their exceptional superior capability in controlling the pandemic compared to the US…most likely. It is a way to win and sway public opinion at the moment of crisis. Just take a look, it is only USA that criticizes the rest of the world when it comes to virus. I have not seen one European country condemning each other for this pandemic. It can only be from the USA.

Full out public bashing of China by US representatives in the midst of this pandemic.

Here is another post of the Italian prime minister on the aftermath of the coronavirus in Italy. The numbers in Italy has been dropping significantly in the last few days indicating that the worst is over. The interview was conducted by the BBC with the Italian prime minister and you can see the video here…

Italian prime minister on the coronavirus.

There is no doubt in my mind that the leaders are now coming under close scrutiny on their handling of the virus. I was shocked to hear the Italian leader saying that he would do the same thing again with his handling of the virus. This is so wrong at all levels. It sends a message to everyone that there should be no reexamination of the crisis that just went through. In my opinion there were major failures and for leaders to hide behind their words and to humbly address their mistakes to ensure that any future crisis like this will make them much better prepared. This is all at the interest of saving lives and Italy has the highest number of deaths by any nation so far, totaling over 17,000.

Update: 8th April, 2020

So the pandemic and the ways leaders have been dealing with it is causing a whole bunch of questions to be raised. You will note that I have been beating the same drums all along in the last few weeks about the very questions that people are now raising. I am trying to say ‘I said so’ but usually the general population fall behind on an idea and requires time to gain momentum. I can safely say that these questions that have been lingering around for a while are now taking dominant seat.

The same applies with the way leaders deflect or answer these questions. We have the Trump camp blaming China for their lack of transparency and today, he points the finger at the WHO organization and their underhanded ways that they were dealing with China. He is threatening to pull US funding for the WHO organization. What a cheap shot!

Let me tell you how all this materialized from the Trump camp and you will see why they are doing so much deflection in order to avoid scrutiny to their own handling of the virus. It’s what politicians and dare I say business people do in order to re position their power of authority. To an intelligent person, it’s cheap, degrading and takes away from the real problem. To many others, it’s a thought to digest and give weight to the story acknowledgment to the leader. You talk about ‘fake’ news but this is equally destructive to the public eye because it casts doubts in people’s mind and they have to fill the ‘gap’ with potentially damaging erroneous deductions. All emanated by manipulative leaders like Trump.

Here are the real questions that you should be asking and not listening to a lot of ‘fluff’ that comes out of the Whitehouse.

  1. China has a population that is almost 4x that of US and yet they managed to contain the virus with real speed. Have we learnt anything from their tackling of the virus, if so, what?
  2. S. Korea and now Germany have limited the number of deaths through extensive testing. What is it that they are doing that permits them to do extensive testing which other nations are not able to do?

Here is my very own slogan that I created and should resonate with everyone! ‘Stop creating divisions between nations and world organizations and work together to find solutions and save lives

Another pertinent question that I would like to put forwards to the BBC is the dosage of virus required for one to become infected. For example, we know that we can pass it through coughing, rubbing our hands on surfaces, but I would like to know what that dosage amount is. Would a single virus strand be enough to infect another or does it require a minimum collective number to spread the virus to another person?

This morning, the BBC spoke to an expert from Buckingham University and I was surprised at some of his intelligent remarks regarding the virus. If I find the transcript, I will post it here.

Question and Answer time with the BBC.

Here’s yet again another sad tale of the presidency of Donald Trump. Today, the media learnt that a memo that was going around back in January on the state of the virus and its repercussions was not even glanced at by Trump. We also know that Trump does not read but could have had someone read it for him. Instead he went by his ‘gut’ instincts as his hallmark way of doing things and getting things done. Let’s face it, he does not have what it takes to serve the interests of the American people and at the precipice of a major crisis where American lives are at stake, he is even more inept and incompetent. Just remember, that this President is all about showmanship and his hollow personality has nothing to do with the greater good of the people. Make note of this when you come to vote in November 2020.

Update: 7th April, 2020

I just finished reading the article on the BBC site, ‘Coronavirus: Why China’s claims of success raise eyebrows’.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-52194356

What a load of codswallop! If you read the whole article it’s all pure speculation and comes at a time when every nation should be learning from the country. They even state that the WHO organization were happy with the information and transparency that China provided in their outbreak. I don’t see this happening with any other nations in the West, let alone mention the WHO organization in their daily public briefings. They also mention that there was an initial cover-up by the Chinese when the outbreak came to be widely known. I think any nation would take precaution from alarming their own people until they have a handle on the situation.

Get over your heads and know that out of all the nations in the world China, S. Korea has curbed the virus WAY BETTER than any Western counterparts. If this is not a lesson to learn and keep pointing figures to an underlying conspiracy theory, and blame other nations and not addressing your own, I don’t know where you got your schooling. Your mouths should stay shut until after the pandemic and then see who has provided the ‘transparent’ data to the WHO organizations and which nations could have done better. A better post would be to address the very areas that China had addressed in tackling the virus, but of course that would be giving credit to a country that has 14x the population of Italy and death counts 5x less. Numbers speak for themselves and should drive any journalists to write about this and make noises where others can stand up, listen and take action.

On another interesting and important topic the NY Times covered a significant historical event in the US history. This was the influenza deaths of 1918 where many cities and towns across the US had to make the crucial decisions of closing down establishments and introduce social distancing. It was found that cities that took tougher measures such as Minneapolis over other cities did noticeably well in the economic gains that followed suit in the aftermath. Clearly that would explain China’s remarkable control of the virus by taking strict control and measures to contain it. I have mentioned this important point earlier in this post where Mr Trump goes on touting that the strict measures will be lifted soon. Maybe Trump should be reading it’s own historical events and the outcome before pointing fingers at others. I just realized he probably does not read (sorry I couldn’t help it).

To read more on this article, visit the link..
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/03/upshot/coronavirus-cities-social-distancing-better-employment.html

Some interesting figures for the outcome of employment growth following the 1918 influenza outbreak in the USA.

Update: 6th April, 2020

There is some consensus among the EU leaders that the virus maybe subsiding across Europe. However, this in my opinion could lead to complacency and further episodes of the outbreak. It would seem that majority of the world leaders aside from Asia feel that there is an urgency to put the economic engines back on track. To me, it’s rather disgraceful to think of the economy/money when many lives are at stake. People by their very nature are resilient and have been through the ages. They have gone through pandemics greater than what we have now and world/civil wars where millions have been lost. To think normality can be achieved and to seek it during crisis means that our energy is not focused entirely on the job at hand.

There has to be some lessons learnt from China and S Korea where non of the Western leaders seemed to take a leaf out of or mention it’s superior ability to control the virus. I ponder and think why? Having said that the leaders don’t seem to take any leaves out of the very organization that was setup to tackle world crisis such as this ie. WHO. Again, I ponder why? I have some answers but not all and they stem from the ‘individualistic’ ideals of each nation. The globalization of the last decades has led many countries to further separate themselves from their neighbors in order to produce their own identity. It maybe the reason why UK emboldened this trend further and produced the Brexit artifact. It may also explain the nationalistic and protectionist views of USA in recent times. At a time when entire nations should be working together for the greater good of mankind, perhaps this virus is reminding us of this fact.

On breaking news, the Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in the hospital as a result of his persistent symptoms of the virus. Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery.

Graph showing death counts of the virus from various countries.
Cases and deaths in UK as of Apr 6th – courtesy of Daily Mail.

Update: 5th April, 2020

Italy reported it’s daily death count to just over 500 which has been the lowest for a week or so. However, as previously mentioned, this is not an indicator that pandemic is deescalating there. We need to see if the numbers remain below this figure and continues to diminish.

Denmark made an unusual gesture that it was going to relax the lock down. I am wondering on what grounds they have made that decision when they have not even reached their peak. It’s possible they are following the relaxed views of their Scandinavian brothers ie. Sweden. It still baffles me why they take these decisions in isolation and does not consult the WHO organization on these matters.

UK has seen the biggest increase of the deaths counts (per day) so far with over 700 cases and US is bracing for more significant deaths in the ensuing week. Out of curiosity, I watched the movie Contagion (2011) that the media has been making a noise about and the uncanny resemblance to the pandemic that we are witnessing today. I was surprised that they used the word ‘social distancing’ in the movie which we are doing today. The other notable ‘flaw’ in the movie was that there was a person ‘Matt Damon’ who was not affected by the virus. At one time, he mentioned that couldn’t they use my blood to find a vaccine. There was little on the follow up on this which I thought was vital towards finding a virus ie. the antibodies that contained in his blood.

It is almost 10 pm today and I just learnt that Boris Johnson has been hospitalized for his condition of the virus. Let’s hope that he makes a speedy recovery.

As of 5th April, from the John Hopkins website.

Update: 4th April, 2020

As of today, the death counts in Italy has remained flat compared to the last few days, however, Spain, UK, US have show large daily increases. Trump is warning the US public that the next few weeks will get worse and lock down measures will stay till end of April. His foolhardy ways of treating the virus is yet again demonstrated when he conveys to the public that masks should be worn at all times, but apparently it does not apply to him. If there is ever a reason to think that this poor example of a leader is simply interested in only himself, now is the time. He doesn’t stoop to think that he is giving one message that everyone as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) advised to wear masks and he himself does not. What does he know about leadership, absolutely zilch.

The death counts across Europe looks grim and Spain has surpassed the 1k count for one day total with UK having over 700 deaths. The numbers have peaked in the countries that are now gathering momentum such as US, UK, France and Germany. There is a huge concern that the less developed countries around the world will not have the resources necessary for combating this virus. The IMF are alerting the Western world of the necessary funding required to provide the critical gear for those countries. The whole world must act together and in unison to contain this virus.

African nations and developing countries affected by the virus.

Update: 3rd April, 2020

I found a morning show that you may like, it’s called the Jeremy Vine show on Channel 5. Jeremy has been a very popular radio host for many years and the fact that this has led him to acquire very good listening skills means he has a good head for what is going on. I found some of the advice that he provides with his well chosen hosts are very useful to the public. In particular, the virus pandemic. Check it out, the website is here…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wr3p

On other news, there is noise still in the air over lack of equipment from the Govt for the health care workers. This is no surprise since the Govt appears to work in isolation from the WHO and the rest of the world. I say again, reach out to China for the equipment that you need, after all, your neighbors Italy, Spain and Germany have done the same. Even with outside help they are sill under resourced and the virus is continuing it’s rampage. What do you think will happen with nations that decide to handle it all by themselves…precious lives lost. I want the Govt to be answerable for their actions once the smoke clears and there should be an inquiry to the handling of this crisis. The people have a right and should demand this.

Update: 2nd April, 2020

11:00 pm

Not much to report except that the pandemic has reached 1 million cases and there is noise all around the world due to lack of PPE (personal protection equipment) and ventilators. I have a solution, order all the millions that are sitting in China, after all they have gone over the hurdle and don’t have a need for much of the equipment now. With a population of 1.3 billion, I am sure they have plenty to spare… problem solved. I suspect it’s the egotistical nature of the West to snub any powers in the East especially a communist one at that. But to do it at the expense of people’s lives is extremely unfortunate and unthinkable.

One last note of the day, the first person to be expunged from any public office and disgraced is the chief scientific adviser of the U.K. government, Sir Patrick Vallance. His profile can be seen in Fig 2c. Who knows how many lives were lost due to his disastrous and dangerous proposition of ‘herd immunity’. Maybe Sweden is following his method, God help us (see my article this morning).

Fig. 2c The most dangerous public servant in office today.

11:00 am

I was watching the BBC TV news on the update on the coronavirus and saw more disturbing news around Europe. WHO organization has predicted that 1 million cases will be reached around the world. This does not take into account that many countries are lacking any proper test gear. So the numbers are most likely significantly less than the real figures. I think I know now that the numbers can give countries a real sense of complacency such as in Sweden.

The newscaster of BBC was directing an interview with two leading scientists from the two nations, Germany and Sweden. The German scientist (Fig 2a.) was actually saying things that our Govt should have been saying. He said that they were following the protocols as laid by the WHO organization. Have you heard any word uttered by our Govt about WHO. Here is why this is vitally important and it’s not rocket science. The WHO organization has masses of data in it’s database as it follows every nation down to scrutiny over this virus. It only makes sense to follow their protocols and recommendations. My original thinking that one needs to get the Chinese/S Korea folks involved is not the case. Since every nation is obliged to report the cases and progress of the virus to the WHO organization with the ability of each nation to fight this virus most effectively, it stands to reason that the reference body should be WHO. Germany made this clear in this interview and as a result we all know that their extensive testing has limited the death count significantly over other EU nations such as Italy, Spain. Why is there no mention of these by our own leaders? Why all the noise about testing gear when the WHO organization made this clear over 3 weeks ago. Why are the leaders in reactionary mode when they should be showing leadership, courage and vision.

I was horrified to learn from the Swedish expert (Fig. 2b) in the interview that they were taking a very relaxed view. The scientist even said at one time, ‘if citizens were not showing the symptoms, they were free to work, mingle with friends etc.’ Say What! This has to be the most idiotic scientist that I have come across, let me explain. The virus can go undetected by many people who DO NOT show any symptoms and they may inadvertently pass it on to the most vulnerable. Again, this foolhardy action is going to cost the country so much deaths. I can already predict a higher number for Sweden with this approach and especially when it hits Stockholm. I truly hope the people of the city are taking advise from what they see in the rest of the world than the buffoons residing in their own govt.

Trump only yesterday was name calling as usual regarding other nations ability to react to this virus, namely the UK. See below Apr 1, 2020

Fig. 2a. A German virologist who is following the WHO protocol.
Fig. 2b. An unfortunate supposedly expert spreading the wrong information about the virus.

10:00 am

I woke up today with what seemed like a weighty discomfort to my chest. As usual, I didn’t get a good night sleep and the day before, I felt very lethargic. I am staying inside a 3 bed house with my mum and my little daughter of 6. Luckily both are fine but I can’t help feeling if I had contracted the virus and trying to shake it off. Whatever I had in the last week or so seemed not to have affected either of them. I was displaying the same symptoms as my sister and her husband and son which was slight coughing, dryness of the mouth and a lack of appetite. In all cases the recovery leads to a sore throat. We simply don’t know whether this is the virus or a condition of the normal cold/temp/cough.

Update: 1st April, 2020

Today there were a few online news article where Trump again takes on the blaming game to elevate his position. He was speaking about the handling of the virus by the UK Govt. Granted his criticism was fair when he said that the UK govt took on a relaxed view of the virus and was considering the ‘herd immunity’ as a possible approach. He went on to say that they quickly changed their tack and now only realizes the importance of testing and gear. I do agree on this point but the fact that he goes on spewing about other countries reactions to the virus shows how he tries to win political points. To me Trump has not or is not taking the right approach. Instead of predicting 200,000 deaths in the US why does he not exclaim to himself how China who has a population of 4x that of US has limited the death count to just over 3,000! I have not once heard him utter anything with regard to the WHO’s tackling of the virus, the body that has all the data of the countries pandemic. And a body where any nation can turn to and learn lessons and take actions in their own countries.

Gloating narcissist of a president who only cares about himself.

Update: 31st March, 2020

11:00 pm

I just saw a televised view of Trump giving an update on the work behind the scenes in tackling the pandemic. Both himself and his seniors showed a graph similar to Fig. 3 that shows the death count of over 2 million if the country did nothing to control the virus. Then they showed a graph where they can control this number to 200,000 if the measures they put in place were effective. It baffles me that they compare the numbers of ‘doing nothing’ to reflect the large numbers to the work that they are doing to circumvent the virus. Surely, you should be comparing with the Asian countries like China, S Korea or even Germany! A person like me would naturally ask why in China a population that is 4x bigger than US managed to curb the no of deaths to 3,000 and yet US is predicting over 100k deaths! Am I missing something here. It is probably the reason why in the previous days UK and US were condemning China for their lack of transparency in the figures they present to the world. China has an obligation to the WHO organization for any pandemics that arise around the world like all other nations. Why would they want to hide or skew their figures. After all they want to save their own people like every other nation.

Announcing US figures with no relation to other nations.

To me, this is political and goes back to the cold war between the West and Communism. As I mentioned before, in a world crisis like this, everyone should put away their differences and tackle the situation in solidarity. The fact that they continuously ignored the countries that have surpassed the virus indicates that they still hold that stigma. In effect our leaders continue to ignore those nations that have weathered the worst of it just to keep their deep rooted political beliefs in tact and all at the expense of people’s lives. You go and figure.

11:00 am

It is times like this when we know who are true leaders are. They are steadfast in their commitment to the single most important factor that matters which is to save lives. They also put aside all the politics,
shenanigans that can get away from this single commitment. You can already do your evaluation which leaders come out at the top.

Trump has demonstrated a yo-yo approach to this vicious virus that mankind has never seen before. At first Trump is in denial and then goes on to blame the Democrats for this wild hoax. Then he completely bungles up when presenting figures of the number of cases and potential deaths. Then he calls on corporate wigs to show how well he is handling this case to the public. This president is purely interested in his own ratings, boosting his own ego and doesn’t care one iota if people die or survive. People, just remember you voted him in and you will do yourself a great injustice voting him back into office again.

On another note, I was browsing through the BBC website and came across this video snippet which I think should have been shown to the general public again and again. Due to some people who were unfazed by the lockdown measures put in place, they would do well to look this over and sink in the meaning.

Fig. 1 shows what would happen if there were no measures such as social distancing. The number of infected is alarming as can be seen how the spread of the virus happens.

Fig. 1 The number of people infected if NO Social Distancing was put in place.

If we took measures to do social distancing such as staying at home and keeping to ourselves as much as possible, then the spread is much diminished as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2 With SOME social distancing put in place, the rate of spread is very much diminished.
Here is another from the Express, why are they all showing this now?

It must be understood that the Asian countries that managed to tackle this virus did not just leave it to chance with the people to social distant themselves. They took the bull by the horn and actively isolated areas, prevented people from going out and taking tests from people door to door in the infected region. I am disappointed that some people argue like today that the police maybe overexerting the force. Come on people, this is so we can stay alive, don’t you bloody care!

Let’s look at the figures of the extreme case where the Govt of the nation decides to do nothing and let the virus run it’s course. This graph was taken from the fact site here…

Death projections of doing nothing!
Fig. 3 This data was presented to the UK Govt and the White House back in March 16

Update: 30th March, 2020

9:30 am

It seems like everyone is beating the same drum on the subject of the EU govt poor response to the virus. Medical professionals and experts alike are expressing their dismay at the policy makers who did not reach out to the other nations that have controlled the virus, namely China, S Korea, Singapore etc.

Over in the US, we have a showman for a president who only cares about his own re-election and keeping the corporate wigs happy. This was typified by his public speech yesterday in the Rose Garden of the Whitehouse. He brought the big wigs to speak to the media during his hour stint of conveying to the public of the ‘tremendous’ works going on. A factual check of his claims were gray to say the least and does not unify or bring solidarity to the single focus of eliminating the virus. Furthermore, he goes on accusing the NY Govt of ‘hoarding’ medical supplies just because some numbers do not add up. A leader you say, he stoops to low level of children’s playground cussing, no doubt appealing to the lowly IQ supporters of his group. He also even said that he only works with Governors that is ‘nice’ to him and he does not return calls to anyone who is otherwise. Say What! You put people’s lives at stake because you don’t like working with some Governors. At times like this, you bring everyone together and fight for the same cause, instead of harboring grudges.

Update: 29th March, 2020

9:00 pm

Italy shows the second day where the number of deaths from the virus has gone down. Let’s hope it stays this way and continues to go down. It will be a good indicator to the rest of the European nations that there is hope through all this.

On another note, the mounting criticism of the handling of the virus has the UK Govt doing some spin politics. Michael Cove who is spearheading this have taken to the TV to blame China and their lack of transparency on the virus that had the UK Govt pussy footing in the early stages of the outbreak. Say What! These buffoons are now trying to exonerate themselves over their own incompetency! Even, I can tell you, that I followed China very carefully over their handling of the virus and was well aware of what they were doing. Hiding? I think not, I really hope that this Govt are called into question on their handling of the virus after the smoke clears. Frankly speaking I do not want a Govt that behaves in this manner let alone show such blatant ignorance, carelessness and disregard for the protection of human lives.

9:00 am

Boris Johnson is to make an unprecedented move to announce to the people that Britain should remain in lock down as late as June. In another report it was said that in the midst of this great solidarity among people of UK, that they were finally coming together to heed the warning. As the COVID-19 virus escalated it’s war on the number of deaths, the messages from the governments around Europe are getting stronger and stronger. However, the timing has been slow to the say the least and from many leaders around the world.

USA has now exceeded the deaths by 2,000 with NY still the epicenter of the virus. The grim message from everyone is that it is going to get more worse before it get’s any better. This is in line with what we have seen in China and S Korea but their approach is almost an enigma as the rate of control they had over the virus is significantly better. It is a better time than now to look outside the box and learn from the previous mistakes. We know that the Asian nations have fared well throughout this crisis and many other nations are only waking up to this and using S Korea as the standard model for an effective and powerful approach to control the virus. It is without a shred of doubt that they did not leave the virus to do it’s work and waited for the numbers to rise. They took a strong hold on the origins of the virus and locating clusters of where the virus originated. Then they started pursuing those people who were in contact with other groups that spread the virus. In this way, they quickly drew a map and applied the necessary resources to take those people quickly into isolation and prevent further spreading. All these required test gears which many other western nations are only just starting to grapple with. You see, the reason why this method worked is that they had the personnel, the test gear and effective measures to quickly take a hold of this virus. You will see that the notion of a lock down did not come into place until later. This approach was only realized by the German Govt early on and their approach managed to keep the death count to a minimum but something went wrong down the line and the number of cases has ballooned to 50,000 cases.

Update: 28th March, 2020

The UK death count exceeded by 1,000 today with an increase of the deaths reported from Spain and Italy. It’s somewhat despairing to find that Italy’s daily death count has again topped last counts. This means that the country has not yet kept the virus under control but only managing to hold steadfast. This may increase or decrease and a big increase means that the virus has gone beyond control and the deaths could be significant. This is the reason that Italy is yet enforcing more lock down controls as is Spain. In the UK, a number of academic specialists of disease control such as from Imperial College (former college of mine) have said that without stricter measures the number of deaths could be as much as 500,000. Social distancing has been known to work but there are few members of the public who have no comprehension of this and put’s others at risk.

New York the epicenter of the US virus has seen death counts increase on a daily basis and medical personnel have not enough respirators or protective gear. In some cases the staff are having to use the same gear for over a week. There are makeshift hospitals being built around NY area and Trump is contemplating a full quarantine of some parts of the NY area including New Jersey and Connecticut.

Update: 27th March, 2020

It was an overall very upsetting day for everyone around the world. The pandemic has grown to proportions where there is no sign of slowing down. USA has more cases than China and Italy, Spain and Germany have shown an increase in the number of deaths from the previous day. UK also witnessed the largest number of daily deaths, indicating the continued upwards trend.

Both the UK prime minister and the health secretary have been tested with the virus and have remained in isolation. This comes at the most critical time when UK is bracing for the toughest challenges to the medical resources to tackle COVID-19. You probably know that I have been squealing for sometime at the lack of actions by the UK Govt. It came as no surprise when I learnt that my nephew who had returned to the hospital after his 12 days absence told me some grave stories. The NHS is short of essential test and protective gear due to the delays by the Govt in ordering them. There is chaos at the hospitals where patients of untested COVID-19 are being placed next to each other. Doctors are having to make decisions with whom to give critical care first and let other’s expire due to the overstretched resources.

The future looks bleak for both UK and US where the urgency of the matter was not taken as seriously as many had been saying. China has been at a stage where they had overcome their battle with the virus. Being a country where it can fire up manufacturing at a large scale, the British or US Govt did not take opportunity to seek their help. It is only now they are thinking of getting this help. I think USA with Trump at the helm contemplated this epidemic to be much like the fake climate control activist. However, there is and no reason for Boris Johnson to step up to the plate earlier than he had done. Maybe the same complacency that this will pass UK or an academic strategy that sounds good in the boardroom but not on the battlefield. Whatever it maybe, they have failed in their duties and now trying to play catch up. I am ashamed to be in this country where I see other countries such as African and Asian nations taking on much tougher stance and doing everything they can to acquire the proper gear.

Update: 26th March, 2020

Unfortunately, the numbers coming out of the European are not looking good. Spain and France reporting its highest increase of the deaths from the virus and Italy reporting another gain in deaths. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, New York is becoming the epicenter of the USA crisis with almost half the reported cases of virus compared to the rest of USA. It is expected to be the next biggest epicenter of the virus in the coming days.

In UK, there is much frustrations among the medical professionals on the lack of equipment to provide the medical care needed for patients of the virus. The story is similar over in New York.

Some researchers are predicting that the no of infected cases can be as much as half the UK population. This is staggering but probably explains how quickly the virus has spread. If you take into account that 80% may have contracted this virus and have shown mild symptoms that was overcome in a matter of days, you can imagine this number to be true. Remember the reported cases are only cases that have been admitted into the hospitals for urgent care. It is sad that some patients are now dying in the waiting room as reported by one journalist.

The Japanese TV channel NHK gave a very interesting take into how the virus can get transmitted in closed groups. The tests were conducted with real people and having detectors monitor the micro-droplets of the mucus that people gave out when they coughed. They also found that people who spoke in close proximity can also transmit the virus. See the figures below.

Micro-droplets through coughing and even talking can spread the virus.

Also, it was found that in some patients who had an advanced stage of the virus were administered the drug Alvesco. They found surprisingly the patients managed to recover.

Some drugs that can alleviate the symptoms of the virus used in Japan.

Update: 25th March, 2020

9:00 am

Today I woke up to the Good Morning Britain show with Piers Morgan and guest. They had a health worker appear on the show (via online) reiterating what I have been saying along. She said that we had four months to prepare for this pandemic when the virus had took foot in China. Yet, nothing was done, even when it started hitting Italy. Piers said afterwards there will be inquests to their deaths meaning consequences of decisions that led to their deaths. I would encourage this as this will prevent another disaster if we should go through a similar crisis in the future.

The subject of ‘keyworkers’ and non-essential workers are vague within the decision makers and so how do they expect the public to follow this? I have always said that vague messages like this will give people wrong ideas with regards to the danger that this virus brings. This stems back from Govt reluctance to close the schools and then introduce this farcical ‘keyworkers’ category which nobody can tell you exactly what this means.

Update: 24th March, 2020

6:00 pm

Today another specialist in viral sciences was explaining how the ‘herd immunity’ was a dangerous path to handling this virus. This was due to the lack of information about the ‘antibodies’ that were built to fight this virus and whether the virus could reappear. There wasn’t sufficient data to warrant such a move as this would prove catastrophic to the spread of the virus.

herd-immunity explained and how it is untested and completely the wrong approach.

So I say again, the Govt has spent a whole week putting forward this untested approach to the mass audience while they should have been doing what I have been saying all along. Get testing gear out the door and get as much info from the countries that have overcome the virus or controlled it.

2:00 pm

The glimmering hope that Italy may have gone past the peak case maybe too early to tell as there was a rise in the reported deaths today. Spain has reported 500 deaths today which is the highest.

On another note Trump is telling people that they will be soon be on a recovery in the next week or so. Such false hopes brings about a false sense of security which will only increase the coronavirus death tolls.

Meanwhile after the public announced of more stricter measures by the UK Govt, there has been all kinds of confusion who the keyworkers are intended to be. Why can’t they just simply say that outside of police, health workers, grocery suppliers and distributors no one should be venturing the streets. Is that so hard, after all, India which has a population far higher are doing it. People in executive decisions are just playing with fire and most importantly people’s lives.

I turned into the Good Morning Channel today for the first time, and heard Piers Morgan speaking exactly the same language as me. I put it to the UK Govt. that they should have put him in charge of the task force dealing with the coronavirus and we would be dealing with a lot less cases than what is happening now. After all, Piers Morgan won one of the most prestigious titles of Apprentice celebrities (Season 7) when Trump was running the show.

On a sobering thought and not the one to say that ‘I told you so’, the CNN Amanpour TV showed a journalist reporting that one of the towns in Italy managed to eradicate the virus and this was done through consistent testing. Piers Morgan has been saying the same thing like me, that there has been a body of information already available in other nations and many nations are working in isolation.

Still cramped in trains with no masks and the day of lockdown.

Please see below the content of ‘Introduction’ for more daily updates.

Introduction

I can confidently say that I am embarrassed and ashamed to be a UK citizen right now and I will tell you why.

Since the Coronavirus started back in January and China was grappling with the spread of the virus, stories were popping up mainly from the Asian continents of the frantic spread of this virus. Firstly, the outbreak had spread to cruise ships and then followed by cases in South Korea and Japan.

I watched with some anticipation how China was handling the outbreak and was surprised to learn that they built a hospital to accommodate 6,000 beds in 6 days! They were really taking this seriously, I thought. At that time, I had no idea that the virus was going to reach the shores of Europe and USA, I thought it will pass with time. I vaguely recollected the SARs outbreak back in 2003 where the epidemic was stopped before it reached a massive worldwide scale.

Today, it is the 19th of March and Italy has a death count from the virus that has overtaken China. Ironically, China reported it’s first day where there were no incidents of the virus. I did a quick maths. The Chinese population is 24 times bigger than Italy’s and common sense tells me that they handled the virus more effectively than Italy.

Let’s now turn our heads to UK.

About 2 weeks ago, the government of UK cautiously went about addressing the issue of the Coronavirus after they had learnt that there were already a few cases popping up. I was on my way back from abroad and was curious why the UK airport did not have any staff members measuring people’s temperatures as they came out of immigration. In fact, none of the people in the airport were wearing masks. This led me to believe that UK had a relaxed approach to this virus. Many staff members were busy talking among themselves… it was a holiday for them.

It was a few days after I came back, and I heard the government telling the public that they had some plans in place which sounded very vague. I think, it had to do with a period of uncertainty to see where this would go and then they would bring about another course of action, WHAT I thought. I thought for God’s sake, plans to wait and see what! This virus is not custom made for UK and any information to act are already available from other parts of the world like China where the virus had already advanced far.

Speed up to 2 weeks now after those vague plans were issued to the general public by the government and I can confidently say that this UK government is inept in handling this crisis. I hope people will wake up to this after the crisis is over and dismiss this government of negligence and increasing unnecessary deaths. The UK government has and continued to work in isolation from WHO (World Health Organization) and not seeking any outside help. It baffles me that a nation that has thousands of lives at stake from a pandemic that has already hit other nations chooses to work with their own isolated schedule and accord. Such arrogance and pompous nature of this Government. As a result I am going to log each day, the events that transpire from the Government’s mouths and show you how to read the lines and take better precautionary steps that this Govt is not providing.

Here is why the Government is working in isolation from the rest of the world in a crisis that requires all nations to work together. Never before has there ever been a case where the entire nations need to come together to wipe out this virus. Here is what I would have liked to hear…

“We are working with WHO and the other nations that have surpassed the peak of the crisis”

“We are allowing medical teams from China to help us understand and grapple with this virus in our own mainland’.

Some of you can understand where I am coming from and some may not. For those who do not understand my line of reasoning, let me try to explain here.

The virus goes through what we call a Gaussian curve. It begins slowly and then peaks and then drops off. The graph can be a representation of the number of people affected or those who have died from contracting the disease. Here is one important point.. the peak which can represent a number is representative of how the nation takes steps to reduce the cases, through isolation, vaccines, prevention from spreading etc. So far, in my opinion China and S Korea have handled this quite well. Remember they are at a far more advanced stage in their intake of the virus.

Based on this simple logic, we can infer some basic rationale reasoning. Any nation that has gone through the peaks and managed to keep the numbers down are worthy of emulating their actions. If China has a population 24 times that of Italy and Italy has surpassed the death count of China, Italy are omitting important facets of prevention that China has already utilized. It then makes sense they need to learn from those nations. Unfortunately, this thinking has not entered the minds of the UK Govt and almost certainly the UK is headed in the same direction as Italy.

Do you see any of those facts coming out of the mouths of the UK Government, I surely do not. They have not once addressed their understanding or acknowledgement of countries at an advanced stage of the virus and learn from them and take the necessary measures.

Update: 23rd March, 2020

7:00 pm

The Govt. is about to make an announcement at about 8:30 pm to announce further measures to make people stay in. This is in view to the many people who ignored all the repeated public notices and decided to go to parks, beaches and in cramped trains. The announcement is expected to be tough with fines for people who are found to be outside. I have one word for the whole nation, ‘Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you are fine’. You have no clue how this virus works otherwise you would stay indoors. The virus does not differentiate healthy people from infected people, it spreads through close contact and from others being infected. The fact that it has spread through wildfire should alert you to this fact’. Just today, I learnt the sad news that one of my close Aunt has passed away from this virus.

Sunday visit to the park and beaches.

Again, I will reiterate where we went wrong and where we are still going wrong. Last week there was frantic efforts for the Govt to get more ventilators. This was an alarmist reaction to the fact that the virus will take hold of people and ventilators would be needed to cure those infected. Why don’t you understand that ‘prevention’ is the key to tackling this virus, to which the Govt has failed miserably. Still to date, my nephew who is a doctor has not been tested for the virus so he can go back to work! Did none of the words from the WHO organization sink in ie. test, test, test. Since many of us namely the Govt who can’t put 2 and 2 together, let me explain, the importance of this. When you have testing gear for the people, you are doing a critical thing, you are giving people the opportunity to test for the virus. If they were found to be positive, at least they could get ready for the real medical help without overburdening the NHS. If they were found to be negative such as in the case of my sister who had to stay in isolation and hence her son (my nephew) the doctor, then he would not need to be isolated and stay in isolation. Have they not thought about these things!

I was dismayed to see that many people who were disobeying the rules to stay at home were happily going about their ways outside. They did not wear any masks of any kind especially in close gatherings such as trains. I almost get the feeling that if anyone was wearing the mask, it would be construed as that person had the virus and might get lynched, who knows! I almost felt the same way when I went shopping to Asda a week ago.

On a positive note, Italy has recorded its 2nd day of low death count, which brings a sigh of relief but the other countries need to act fast.

11:00 am

Today, on the BBC and Sky News there were talks about how the Govt was sending mixed messages to people and the reason why they were not heeding the warning. I say again to the Govt. drop all the niceties and British politeness, this is a situation of life and death. People care less about their welfare if it comes to the decision of living or dying. The Govt should do the same, they have made serious errors of judgement by first introducing this ‘herd immunity’, the consequences of waiting a week or two has probably cost more lives than usual. Again, they have delayed with school closures with the having ‘keyworkers’ be able to go in an out. Learn from India who has closed their entire nation of 1 billion people to all social contact. Sending mixed messages that some can stay and others can go to work, only sends conflicting messages. There should be absolute and unshakeable decisions made by the Govt to the people. The people of the country relies on it’s Govt to keep them safe and secure, even if it take enforcement.

Update: 22nd March, 2020

I was anxiously looking for the daily figures that were coming out of Italy on the cases and deaths. It was reported that compared to the previous day of 793 deaths, the count stands at 653 deaths. For me, that’s a relief but not sure why the media did not catch this as it is quite significant in it’s meaning. It means that the count is now decreasing which means that Italy may have just passed it’s peak. The next few days will confirm that Italy has passed the worst of it’s crisis. Although, rightfully so, the country is aggressively controlling the nationwide lockdown and seeking global support.

UK is at a count where Italy was a couple of weeks ago. Let’s pray that we are able to keep the numbers down. Unfortunately, the advise by the government to stay in and keep your distance has fallen to many deaf ears as UK folks were continuing to gather in large crowds in shops, beaches etc. Many GPs were reiterating on BBC News that it was this kind of negligent act by people that only paves the way for more deaths.

I saw a televised conference call between some New York medical school and the control for disease from the Peking Medical Center in Beijing . The group that was behind the handling of the Whuan crisis were speaking directly. Who would you guess were wearing masks? You would think that NY getting ready for the increase Pandemic would be the group, and not the group in Peking where the virus has come under control. It was in fact the other way round, with the Peking officials all wearing the mask. This signifies something strong which Westerners haven’t grasped yet. The wearing of the masks not only is designed to prevent the spread of the virus but it also shows to other people the seriousness of the crisis.

Update: 21st March, 2020

The deaths in from the virus in the Lombardy region of Italy’s has mushroomed to over 4,000. Resources are being over stretched where it just may collapse and thus not contain the virus. Chinese medical officials are being flown there to help with the Pandemic.

I saw in the CGTN (China Global Television Network) there were some online conference calls between medical professionals from the Peking Medical College and other medical groups in the USA. It’s my opinion still that some of the nations including UK are not treating this pandemic with the urgency and force that deserves.

I was flabbergasted to learn that yet again, the UK Govt was contemplating another ‘strange’ approach to handling this crisis. Basically, they are saying that in order not to overstretch the NHS resources, they would take a cyclical approach of containing the virus, relax and then do this again repeatedly over a period of 12 months, say WHAT! Again, these buffoons think they have the perfect solution in hand. Why don’t they get it into their heads, that this virus has to be stopped dead in it’s track in any which way we can. You DO NOT a wan’t a rerun of the Italy’s case where one medical professional said clearly that this virus has to stop, otherwise it will be catastrophic to the whole nation.

Absurd approach in handling the Coronavirus crisis!

Where are the test kits that WHO had said over a few days ago?

The Govt had better get off their high horses and stop relying on scientists who looks at deaths, cases as pure numbers and speculating methods of approach. This Govt. should seek out help from WHO and all other nations that have an advanced stage of the virus or have removed it altogether. B. Johnson thought he had an excellent plan and now slowly waking up to reality. Any further delays will only cost more lives Mr. Prime Minister.

Update: 20th March, 2020

2:00 pm:

The International news (CNN, Al Jazeera, RT etc) gave a snippet of news that was interesting. They showed pictures of Chinese planes that were being dispatched with medical professionals and other medical gear such as masks to some of the European countries. It is worth noting that the countries they mentioned included Italy, Germany, Spain and some other BUT not UK. Again, I reiterate my point that this UK Govt insists on handling this crisis without outside intervention because it feels it has the situation under control. Complete Hogwash! We have no masks to the public to date, no restrictions on travel, schools partially closed. You get my point. Let it be in their hands that they chose to take a relaxed view of this pandemic and blood will be on their hands.

10:00 am:

Today, the Health Minister of UK, Matt Hancock took to the TV to request that all retired medical professionals to come and help with the coronavirus crisis, WHAT! Again, I am flabbergasted with the approach of this government, I am beginning to think they work behind a silver screen. They are so out of tune with reality and all matters related to this virus on the world stage.

I have a nephew who is a doctor and can no longer help in the hospitals, because he has been in house isolation due to another household member potential who may have contracted this virus. So far, there has been no testing kits to show whether the household member has been tested positive. Let alone testing kit for the doctor who is so critical to this pandemic, instead he is passing his time, playing video games as he has nothing better to do.

So I say to Matt Hancock, get you act together. Get testing kits for the most critical resources of this country to help with the virus instead of just talking about ventilators. The WHO organization made it clear a few days back, ‘test, test, test’. Here in UK, we have nothing in place. On another point the health secretary is trying to bring retired folks back to work who are no doubt in their older age and the highest risk group.

Update: 19th March, 2020

Today, our prime minister made an announcement to the general public saying that in 12 weeks, they were going to send the Coronavirus packing! He was not clear what his new actions were in order to make this happen, instead he says to continue washing your hands and keeping a safe distance, that’s it! I think he feels he has some magic potion in hand to make all this happen.

Again, I am disappointed that the government has made no mention of tackling the virus as responsible human beings by listening and learning from the WHO organization and other nations. I know this, because not one word has been uttered by the B Johnson or his ministers on those facts. Instead they completely ignore any happenings from the rest of the world and paint a different picture to the British people. Total hogwash, if you tell me.

On another topic, I have no idea why the govt is taking it’s sweet time to close schools. In fact they are so adamant in closing schools they have introduced something called ‘key workers’. Ok, due to much pressure from everyone in the education industry, they are introducing these new measure, WHAT! I say again. You can see that the key thing to handle this virus is to prevent any individuals coming into contact with other people. Instead they are proposing to allow these workers to spread the virus. Keeping away from other individuals has been the most important factor in limiting the virus spread. The government want’s to please everyone. Hold on, in a time of crisis there is a single obvious path, save as many lives as possible, next are ALL SECONDARY.

Update: 18th March, 2020

On the news, I am hearing that the over 70s will be forced to stay in isolation and the measure is coming in the next week or so, WHAT! The isolation should apply to EVERYONE not just that group. Get it into your head that the countries that most effectively tackled the virus understood this point more.

To this date we have no kits available to the public instead the Govt goes rambling on about ventilators. I have not seen the Govt push industries to make testing kits for the general masses which are essential to identify who has the virus and move them into isolation.

Please check all my daily updates of this virus.

Keep safe and well.



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