The Omicron variant is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is infecting vaccinated people. Covid-19 – including its variants – has taken the lives of over 5.6m people worldwide.
Currently, there is scarce availability of PCR and lateral flow tests throughout the UK, but almost 550,000 people have tested positive for Covid in the past week nationally. For the UK, the impact on the NHS may be too much to handle; a former government adviser warned of potential impacts on critical workers, including nurses, doctors and teachers, if the infection is not controlled.
Pillaging the NHS
The Tories are intent on selling the NHS off (Labour warned in September that the NHS bill would open the door to further privatisation), or at least removing the benefits we currently enjoy and replacing them with an insurance-based or privatised system.
As the NHS faced staff shortages, underfunding and the burden of fire-fighting the Omicron situation, Rishi Sunak faced a backlash over his discussions with healthcare firms in California. And it turned out that David Cameron (the man who was prime minister for the blink of an eye but managed to cause havoc – in the form of the EU referendum – that we will all pay for for decades) is a paid adviser to Illumina who own Grail, one of the US companies Sunak met with.
Last Christmas most of us abided by such severe restrictions that it left some of us (including me) completely isolated for months. We did not have Christmas parties, could not attend funerals, we had a Christmas that was lost and we accepted that for the greater good: to save lives and to protect the NHS.
“Unfortunately I must say to people that we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public, to protect public health, to protect our NHS.
“We are looking at all kinds of things to keep Omicron under control and we will rule nothing out.”
Countries in the EU have started introducing measures in response to Omicron including France, which means that I – for the second year in a row – will not be able to enjoy Christmas in Paris.
On 18 December 2021 Sadiq Khan declared a major incident in London, while there was dithering from Johnson and Sajid Javid when asked if there would be a Christmas lockdown, leaving an air of uncertainty that saw Christmas cancelations surge, while at least one business – in Scotland – turned a negative situation into a positive one.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
There have been at least 140,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the UK. Mask-wearing and social distancing reduce the risk of transmissions; working from home reduces the risks, as does ventilation in indoor spaces. Transmission in schools is an ongoing problem.
There is no valid reason why the public (including ministers and their family members) should not wear masks and socially distance in indoor spaces (and any crowded outdoor spaces) until there are no new cases of Covid-19 (including the variants). The government has known that ventilation also assists since at least November 2020 but appears to have only introduced a campaign to encourage ventilation in November 2021. Meanwhile, it is evident that schools would benefit from ventilation and mask wearing. If we do not change our response to Covid-19 (and the variants), we will end up ‘losing’ Christmas 2022 too.
We do not have a leader who will provide the certainty that we – and businesses – need. We have a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. Therefore we, the people, need to lead by example and save each other and our beloved NHS.
World Health Organization
- Get vaccinated as soon as it’s your turn and follow local guidance on vaccination.
- Keep physical distance of at least 1 metre from others, even if they don’t appear to be sick. Avoid crowds and close contact.
- Wear a properly fitted mask when physical distancing is not possible and in poorly ventilated settings.
- Clean your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately and clean hands regularly.
- If you develop symptoms or test positive for Covid-19, self-isolate until you recover.