Masks

A simple trip out to the local Post Office. Ok it’s a 6 mile round trip but it’s the only option unless you want to venture much further into town or city. I went with my work parcel, money and mask.

On Monday the Government lifted Covid Restrictions across England. Clearly infections aren’t rapidly rising and we don’t have the highest infection rate currently in the world.

I counted 7 other people in the shop/post office. I was the only one wearing a mask. The bloke next to me helpfully reminded me that masks weren’t required anymore because the Prime Minister had said so. I kindly reminded him that was not the message our A&E doctors and nurses are desperately trying to get across. That’s the thing. While our NHS teams are having leave cancelled to cover reopening COVID wards the Government and its MPs are just about to start their summer holidays. I also asked the chap to back away as he was now within 1 metre of my face. For some reason he seemed to take great offence at that.

Just like with most things the one thing our Government is great at is creating divisions in society. One group against the next. Well they have just done it again…..

End of school year

We received an email from school. When the school reopens in September all COVID restrictions will go, in line with Government instructions. No masks, no support bubbles, no social distancing. Not the best time for Hawklad to potentially return. Hawklad who because of his anxieties will be looking for the reassurance of masks, space and safety measures.

How much social pressure will Hawklad be under to ditch his mask. Too much. It’s like the idea that he would put up his hand in class and ask for help with reading words. As much as he needed the help, putting that hand up in front of 30 other pupils was never an option.

It’s such an unnecessary mess.

Stormy weather

It’s stormy here. Has been for over 24 hours and more to come. Sadly more storms might be heading our way.

I wish I didn’t have to keep going on about the Government. But every day, every day they strike again. This time it’s that all formal COVID restrictions will be lifted. In two weeks it will come down to individual choice. If you want to observe social distancing or wear a mask on public transport then you can, but you don’t need to. This is at a time when variant fuelled infections are rising. Currently at 27000 new cases per day. The so called Prime Minister is talking about 50000 new daily infections by the time restrictions come off.

Let’s not be under any illusions now. The plan in England is for vaccinations plus herd immunity to keep ahead of COVID-19 . Banking on vaccines staying effective while purposely infecting as many of the young as possible. It’s a massive gamble when you remove all the other restrictions that are designed to keep COVID under control. We just don’t know how long vaccines stay effective. We don’t fully understand the long term impact of COVID on the body and brain (10% of cases lead to long lasting symptoms). We don’t know how long vaccines will stay effective against variants.

As many scientists and doctors have pointed out. Variants accelerate when a virus is rapidly spreading. Like now…. England has become a giant Variant Factory. You should only release restrictions when virus numbers are under control and are LOW.

It’s a mess.

A mess when those in Government openly talk about not needing to wear a mask because the are vaccinated. They completely miss the point. Masks are primarily there to protect others. To reduce the risk of you spreading the virus to others. To those at higher risk, to those who the vaccine is not working effectively, to those who are not vaccinated, to our unprotected children.

So I’m not ditching my mask. No way…

Schools Masks

On the radio I have just heard a politician describe those who are advocating a rethink on school Covid safety as ‘left wingers playing politics with our kids future’. Apparently schools are perfectly safe and don’t need any form of additional safeguards. Items like masks are not needed and are an infringement on civil liberties. Parents should listen to those that know the facts……

Ok I am just your average muppet single parent. What do I know. How can I possibly doubt the Government’s decision to remove masks from schools.

Shall we listen to the Independent Science Advisory Group. Independent Sage concluded that “don’t think we can do anything but conclude that this government is seriously carrying out its herd immunity policy through natural infection, through school children.”

Or shall we see what a leading World Epidemiologist thinks. I’d rather listen to him than some trumped up politician who plays politics.

Anxieties

Is traditional school based education possible for every child.

I’m thinking more and more about that.

Trying not to go over too much old ground but Hawklad has been off from school since March 2020. A combination of school lockdowns and extreme anxieties. Anxieties about health, about viruses, about people, about crowds.

He is really fortunate to have a Child Psychologist working with him. The Psychologist is clear that one of the biggest tasks Hawklad is facing is to start to unpick all these anxieties. See which ones can be addressed in the short term and those that are deeper engrained or are a part of his personality. This is a difficult at the best of times but trying to do this during a pandemic is a nightmare. And most certainly real progress on some of his health and virus anxieties will not happen while people need to wear masks, while their is still so much uncertainty and while people are catching the virus in their thousands each day. Yesterday here it was 27000 new cases and still 1800 in hospital. Sadly 22 deaths yesterday.

The Government is clear. Children have to return to the classroom immediately. Schools should not encourage homeschooling. Schools are perfectly safe. School COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly. At present there are over 400 confirmed cases in the country with somewhere between 10 and 20% experiencing serious symptoms or encountering Long COVID implications.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of schools being open with no additional safeguards one fact is clear. There are children out there who have severe anxieties or have underlying health conditions who shouldn’t be in school right now. We are fortunate in that we have a medical note that rules out a return to school at present. Many are not so fortunate.

Together

Another day of school at home. Another day of me demonstrating how little I know about Science and French. Surely answering questions like why would the earths magnetic poles switch?, involves more than incoherent mumbling and awkwardly shuffling of my feet.

Je suis un muppet et plutot stupide…..

Maybe those parents doing homeschooling should have some boaster classes. Bring the likes of me up to speed. Deep sigh. Not much chance of that here in England with our current law breaking charlatans in charge. They can’t even look after the pupils correctly.

Our so called Government has announced an extra £50 per pupil to help them catch up and deal with the impacts of COVID education disruption. That disruption has been massive. Apparently £50 is a world beating some that shows commitment to the next generation. The US is giving its students a top up of £1600 per year, Netherlands the funding is £2500.

Our Government would much rather spend money on important stuff like a new Royal Yacht costing £200M. It also comes from a Prime Minister who enjoyed the privileges of a Private Education at one of the worlds most exclusive and expensive schools. In today’s money that cost somewhere near £50000 per year.

Remember we are all in this together….

Test subjects

As of last Monday the Government withdraw the instructions relating to wearing masks in schools. Masks are now not recommended for use in classrooms and communal areas. But they are still required in school buses but masks are to be removed once the pupil enters school property. The official line is that schools are perfectly safe. This is contrary to the Government’s own scientific advice.

In unrelated news it has been revealed that the UK Government removed a page from this weeks Public Health Release which showed the extent to which new COVID variants are spreading at alarming rates in UK Schools. The draft report featured that data but the final approved version dropped that entire section. The official word is that data will be released at a later date. Some data was released late last night (very odd timing for Public Health) but with the key school data still missing.

So why the secrecy?

Is it because the data shows that the Governments own criteria for the ongoing easing of COVID restrictions have not been met.

OR

Is it because the Government is sticking to its original discredited Herd Immunity strategy. This time doing it by stealth and using our children as the test subjects.

This is all starting to feel like an X-Files story line coming true.

It had to happen

AV.1.

It had to happen. AV.1 is the Yorkshire COVID Variant. There have been currently 47 confirmed cases in Yorkshire. It’s already spreading. It’s been found in Greece and Chad. The Yorkshire Variant is described as a ‘Triple Mutant’ which potentially opens up the risk of increased transferability and reduced vaccine effectiveness. It is now listed as a variant under investigation.

The worry is that yesterday Yorkshire was described as ‘very low risk’ and people should prepare for full reopening next month. Sadly when a country accepts a relatively high level of infections as acceptable then the risk of mutations increases. As the mutations numbers increase then it’s only a matter of time before current vaccines become ineffective. If mutations are allowed to get out of hand then a tipping point is reached when vaccine updates can’t keep up with virus changes. We then are playing a never ending game of catch-up.

The Yorkshire variant will be one of many to come if nothing significant changes. It highlights the shortsightedness of countries hoarding vaccines while many other places struggle to get any supplies at all. It brings into questions approaches to international travel in the short term.

This war is only just beginning.

Hindsight

According to the Government this morning it was impossible to forecast the emergence of the Indian COVID Variant in the UK. People should stop being ‘Captain Hindsight’. Which is odd as scientists, doctors, opposition parties, other Governments, some in the media and even the Governments own advisers were warning about it when the the variant first emerged in India in February. All calling for stricter border checks, more robust monitoring, even border restrictions until the vaccination programme was completed. But no. Nothing happened again. The horse bolts and then a big thing is made of Boris Johnson then partly closing the stable doors when it’s too late. The UK now has the second highest concentration of the Indian variant in the world now, second only to India.

The UK COVID border process has since the pandemic started been somewhere between nonexistent and a joke. I don’t understand why for this Government. A Government so quick to permanently remove free travel rights for its own citizens across Europe. A Government which is so quick to close borders to immigrants and refugees. So quick to deport any group deemed as ‘unwanted here’. Yet when it comes to a pandemic it is so set against border control. But what do you expect from a Government that has now decided to switch COVID public advice away from trained medics to outsourced call staff with no medical background.

But what does hindsight count for anyway. Maybe this scary fact. Currently at the height of worlds worst outbreak, in India the average COVID deaths per 100,000 stands at just below 20. In the UK , the average COVID related deaths per 100,000 stands at 191…..

What was the quote our Prime Minister is alleged to have said – let the bodies pile high…… Well he got his wish. All without hindsight.

One Word

Some words you won’t here the UK’s dodgy Prime Minister say.

Sorry,

I did lie,

Yes I have had multiple affairs in office,

I did give a former lover thousands in public funds,

Yes I did publicly say that Brexit would be a massive mistake,

I did say that I would never ever agree to the Brexit Irish Sea border just a few months before I agreed to it,

My middle names do include de Pfeffel

I resign,

I did say that…..

Unfortunately he has said some words. Some bad words. Some very bad words. When resisting calls for another lockdown our loveable caring leader said “well let the bodies pile high”. Arguably the worst words ever said by a serving Prime Minister. Any of one of our previous leaders would have resigned in disgrace. Not Boris Johnson. Another disaster he believes he can bluster out of. First deny he said that. Well that failed, multiple witnesses confirm that he was lying again. So let’s get my friends to help.

But just one word makes such a difference.

As multiple news agencies confirmed the wording the BBC decides to change one word. That’s the once independent BBC News Service whose two bosses are now friends of Boris Johnson. Even they had to confirm the story eventually but suddenly the Johnson quote was changed. Just one word but it made the needed difference. It became ‘the bodies COULD pile up’.

Just one word changes everything. Just like Johnson changing ‘I won’t resign’ to ‘I will resign’ – just one word makes all the difference.