COVID-19- The Aftermath- Have the UK Governments policies created the calm after the storm? By Asad Shamim, CEO Furniture in Fashion
It is safe to say that the UK is no longer at the pandemic or epidemic levels of COVID-19.
As the virus is on the decline, now may be a sensible time to review the policies implemented by the UK Government and to ask how well prepared the UK is for a state of emergency, should such a situation arise again.
Was lockdown necessary?
It appears that the UK Government followed the advice of Imperial College and Professor Neil Ferguson who predicted that without suppression of the virus, deaths would reach an estimated high of 250,000. It is now common knowledge that the implementation of Imperial Colleges recommendations was based on the formulation and implementation of a code. it is no great secret within the academic community that the quality of most computer codes used is very poor. Professor Neil Ferguson’s group at Imperial have now published their code which by standards of most academics is incomprehensible and confusing, to say the least. It was the primary reason for Professor Ferguson predicting such a vast number of deaths when the death rate resulted in 320000 deaths worldwide.
Scientists across the world have advised on the implementation of such measures where there has been a less severe restriction on freedom such as Sweden and Japan. Despite there being no lockdown implemented, Sweden’s death rate figures are extremely close to that of the UK’s. Furthermore, if we look at who has died from the disease, the UK’s policy to implement such drastic measures can be questioned further. It would appear that the majority of individuals who have died have had serious underlying health conditions that have been serious enough to be a cause of death, putting COVID-19 to aside. Other individuals have been over the age of 80 with a third of the deaths occurring in care homes.
Even if we were to take all deaths where COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate disregarding age or serious underlying health conditions, approximately 43,000 deaths are less than 2018’s excess winter deaths and would count as a bad year but by no means a remarkable figure.
Having discussed the above, the question to ask is what impact have the Government’s drastic measures had on the population of the UK?
• It is arguable beyond doubt that the measures taken by the UK Government have caused more harm than good and have had unimaginable effects on the population of the UK. The hysteria caused by the implementation of lockdown has led to fear beyond controllable measures. Before lock down was implemented, the Government should have comprehensively thought about long term effects on the health and psychological implications on individuals. Statistics show that Accident & Emergency cardiac admissions have reduced by 50%. This means approximately 5000 people per month have not attended hospital who have suffered symptoms of a heart attack. It is a well known fact that only one in ten individuals survive a heart attack outside of the hospital. A similar pattern was followed by stroke sufferers and cancer patients. Since lockdown, there have been over 13000 non-COVID-19 deaths. The question to ask is how does the Government justify such figures?
• Numerous mishaps have occurred as a direct consequence of the Government negligence. This has emanated from lack of PPE for frontline workers to their misguided perception until 12 March that it was highly unlikely that residents of care homes would get infected with COVID-19. However, the Government still admitted patients from hospitals into care homes until mid- April. In addition, the political actions of Government Advisers and the affirmation of such actions by the Prime Minister have raised numerous issues regarding the credibility of the present Government and its stance in condoning the actions of individuals who have broken lockdown measures, in particular Dominic Cummings. This further casts doubt on the Government’s impulsive strategy and has raised doubt as to whether this approach should have been adopted from the outset. It also questions the plausibility of the Government stance on lockdown measures as key individuals would not have put themselves at risk by not abiding with lockdown rules.
• Damage to the UK economy is immeasurable. If lockdown measures are not alleviated, then the UK economy will never be able to recover from such a hard blow. This, in turn, will result in millions becoming unemployed. A question that is being asked by cabinet ministers is why is the UK Government not encouraging individuals to return to work sooner and implementing a common sense approach to ensure their safety as surely ‘stay alert’ can be interpreted to mean exercise caution.
• The Government has condoned the reporting of COVID-19 by the media in a manner that has caused significant hysteria and panic. It has failed to implement measures to restrict reporting methods and exaggeration of figures, facts, and circumstances.
• Is the UK prepared for another Pandemic?
• The UK Government must establish a ‘growth mindset’ is preparing itself for a global emergency and acknowledge where it has failed and where it needs to establish defences which ae ready to resist a similar pandemic in the following ways:
• Preparation of the Nightingales so that they are ready at a moment’s notice at the inevitable time to reduce stress and pressure on the NHS.
• Annual training for the NHS Volunteers to accommodate and provide help and support in the additional Nightingale Hospitals.
• Organise and source sufficient PPE to deal with such an emergency. Prepare equipment that may be vital to saving the lives of individuals such as ventilators beforehand.
• Incorporate and adopt strategies such as contact tracing well in advance so that such measures are ready to be incorporated immediately if a pandemic that required such intervention was to occur.
• Call for an independent investigation into the policies adopted by The World Organisation given the discrepancies in its advice. Recently, Italy has provided evidence from an autopsy of a patient who died from COVID- 19 which shows that it is not actually a virus but a bacterium that causes blood clots that prevent the blood from flowing normally and carrying oxygen to the main organs in the body. This was carried out by Italy by disregarding the protocol enacted by WHO. WHO advised Countries against carrying out autopsies on COVID-19 patients. This casts doubt on the advice given by the organisation.
• It is abundantly clear that scientific evidence shows that the majority of infections are emanating from hospitals and care homes. Even then it is arguable they are swiftly on the decline.
• We must as a society, stand together to regress from lockdown as soon as possible so that harm to society is significantly reduced and a transition to ‘normality’ is made as soon as possible.