Friday 15 May 2020

#Coronavirus: We all need protection and assurances will not suffice

Everyone’s a suspect viral host
The clamour to open up our country is beginning to sound shrill, for a people who have been in quarantine for 8 weeks as business, the world and life as we know it shut down, we have with patience and equanimity borne the strains, the pain, and the hardships with renowned British stoicism.
Yet, we must not be oblivious of the new reality, the reason we are in this situation is that we have to suspect everyone has the Coronavirus and so the ability to infect anyone they come in contact with. We also can be asymptomatic vectors of the virus or vulnerable to contracting it.
That is why we have the social distancing, but the 2-metre rule is at standstill, when you are moving, the distance needs to increase, people walking need to be about 4 metres apart to be out of the draft or slipstream of the person ahead. If cycling, that distance probably must increase to around 20 metres. The rule of thumb does not account for practical considerations.
Cover and test
Then, the use of face coverings, masks and respirators amid great demand and short supply. I hope to take delivery of some face coverings, but we must not be lured into a false sense of security, the threat is around us, unseen and cannot be warded off except by almost absolute sequestration with no contact with outsiders. We cannot maintain that for long.
The next line of protection or rather assessment is testing, identification, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment if required. The testing regime is a shamble, we cannot even be sure of the numbers bandied around by the government. The antibodies test is for now, for curiosity purposes as no one knows if the presence of antibodies confers immunity and if it does, for how long. There is still much to do.
Protect the teachers first
The quest to get the schools open by the 1st of June in England is fraught with uncertainties and serious concerns. Whilst children might not be vulnerable to that much to the virus, there are indications that those who succumb to it present other symptoms than the known pulmonary issues observed in adults.
Otherwise, they might be asymptomatic, yet dangerous vectors of the Coronavirus to their teachers, parents, and guardians alike. It means adequate provision should be made for teaching and auxiliary staff in schools, probably PPE at the minimum, which might seem excessive, but not beyond the pale.
We must not be cajoled into making additional martyrs and heroes of the teachers after how the Coronavirus cut down the lives of frontline staff in the NHS, in care homes and transport services. These people were exposed to the public without adequate protection and the so-called heroes are dead and buried without ceremony.
Action, not assurances required
To add teachers to the mix only on the strength of government assurances without requisite protection would be murderous at best. We, as a people have sacrificed enough in life and livelihood, that the government now needs to shape up and actively work to prevent avoidable deaths.
Where employers are insistent to the detriment of employee health and safety, it is not enough to offer platitudes of reasonableness, there should be laws to directly protect an employee without running through bureaucratic hoops.
I am afraid, the UK government is still failing to distinguish itself in tackling this virus. Bullshit and bluster do not cut it, neither does propaganda or spin, people need to know they are safe, they will not be led to the slaughter for a cause the government has failed to persuade us of.
Maybe, the Houses of Parliament should fully resume, let the leaders lead by example and maybe, just maybe, we might all by appearance and confirmation come out of our foxholes and play the game they want us to play.

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