The UK has recorded 1,325 Covid-19 deaths and 68,053 daily cases – the highest level of both in a single day.
Total – official – deaths are nearly up to 80,000, and nearly three million infections are known to have happened in the UK – almost one-twentieth of the population.
Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident as the number of Covid cases in the capital’s hospitals hit “critical” levels.
He said the virus in London is now “out of control” and the NHS is “on the cusp of being overwhelmed” with 7,000 Covid patients in hospital – almost 2,000 more than the first peak last April – and almost 1,000 on ventilators.
The UK now has more Covid-19 cases per head of population than any other nation in the world.
This Writer has yet to see evidence that the Nightingale hospitals have been pressed into service, though.
There is good news: apparently the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the new variants of Covid-19 – both from the UK and South Africa.
Another vaccine has been approved by the UK’s regulator – made by Moderna – but the 17 million doses on order won’t arrive until March.
And a fourth – single-dose – vaccine by the Belgian arm of Johnson & Johnson could be approved in early February.
Finally, it seems two arthritis drugs may be able to save the lives of Covid patients, also.
But the speed at which the emergency has fallen out of control shows how ill-advised Boris Johnson has been in his strategy. He has relied on wishful thinking, and it has let him down.
His current plan is to put all his eggs in one basket and rely on the vaccination programme – which is stuttering due to supply issues and a failure to inoculate the designated number of people on time.
Only days ago he was promising an early release from lockdown with the creation of “mega-vaccination” centres in the Nightingale hospitals (indicating we may finally get some use out of them).
It is sheer, boneheaded stupidity.
All the way down the line he has adhered to a slack-jawed, mindless optimism. He thought Covid-19 was just a touch of flu – and was proved wrong. He thought it would be all right to let the infection run rampant through the population until herd immunity was established – wrong again. He thought it was okay to sell off personal protective equipment before the pandemic arrived, even though he knew it was coming.
He thought ventilators wouldn’t be needed.
He thought lockdown didn’t have to last very long.
He thought he could send people back to work and they wouldn’t catch or spread the disease.
He thought he could send children back to school and they wouldn’t catch or spread the disease.
He thought it would be okay to prioritise the economy – his friends’ bank balances – above our lives.
And he forced his opinions on the rest of us.
And 80,000 people are dead.
And three million people have been infected.
And millions of people will suffer the lasting effects for a long time to come.
And the National Health Service is at the point of collapse – exactly as he and everyone else in the Conservative government were told after Operation Cygnus in 2016.
He thought it would be okay to let that happen.
Well, if you live in London, with your health service in critical condition, I’d like to know: do you think it’s okay? I’m especially keen to hear from people who voted Conservative.
Remember: Johnson knew Covid-19 was coming.
He knew what he needed to do, and didn’t do it.
He knew it was likely to mutate, and ignored that.
And that’s how we got where we are.
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