Yesterday, the UK recorded a further 119 deaths from COVID-19. This compared somewhat unfavourably with Spain, who recorded two deaths and, indeed, with the entire EU27 who collectively recorded less deaths that the UK. Ah yes, you might counter. Spain recorded a further 1828 new cases whereas we ‘only’ recorded 581. That’s why you mustn’t go to Spain and if you have been there you need to self-isolate for 14 days. But, as we all know, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
The government’s former Chief Medical Officer, Sir David King, who sits on the independent SAGE committee, has put the figures into perspective. Because we are not testing in sufficient numbers, and have never tested in sufficient numbers, the 581 new cases do not tell the story. In his view, the true figure in the UK is between 1000 and 2000 per day. In which case, the situation here is likely to be little different than how it is in Spain. But it was what Sir David said next that stopped me in my imaginary tracks: if the government does not massively drive down the number of new cases by the end of August, a second, potentially more damaging wave of the virus is inevitable shortly thereafter.
In Sir David’s view, the crackdown should begin right here, right now. I paraphrase a little, so I am not literally quoting him word for word, but if we carry on like we are now, allowing pubs and restaurants to to serve indoors and indeed to carry out shopping expeditions, this won’t end well. Far from Boris Johnson’s promised ‘happy Christmas’, we might be, in the words of the popular beat combo Mud, ‘Lonely this Christmas.’
Unlike some people, I do tend to believe in experts. I don’t tend to pay a great deal of attention to Breitbart videos where people dress up, pretending to be doctors, and tell us COVID-19 is absolutely harmless. And the idea that 5G masts cause COVID-19 requires a combination of naivety and stupidity that even I can’t summon. I put my trust in that rare breed of people who Know What They Are Talking About. In other words, instead of gullibly believing fake news, why not believe in what’s true? You are far more likely to find stuff that’s true on the hated mainstream media than you are with some crackpot conspiracy website. In all honesty, if you believe that Bill Gates is an anti-vaxxer, you are an idiot.
In summary, if we maintain the current level of new cases of COVID-19, then we are, as we say in technical parlance, fucked. And that second wave could even be a tsanami given how public trust in the government has evaporated under the woefully incompetent leadership of Boris Johnson.
The popular feeling among many good folk is that the virus is on the way out. This is, at down at least in part, to Boris Johnson’s proclamations that it is. Sir David King is among a large number of influential voices saying it is far from over. 119 deaths yesterday in the UK compared with two in Spain tells its own story.