Boris Johnson’s ‘freedom day’ isolation tells us virus is everywhere | Polly Toynbee
HHow was “freedom day” for you? At the stroke of midnight, some photogenic jumped on the dance floor and raved until the early hours of the morning; but the NHS, social services, schools, supermarkets, carriers, hospitality and transport industries have scolded and raged in incomprehension at the chaos and hypocrisy unleashed by our leaders. Even Boris Johnson’s Houdini magic can’t stop those U-turns, dishonesty and panics from turning his second birthday at No.10 into his Black Monday turn.
The prime minister’s day of glory was such a disappointment. He had planned an event to declare his own victory day – virus victory – “invoking the spirit of Churchill with moving rhetoric in a fitting manner” at “a historic location associated with the warlord”, according to a government source . In a rare wise move, Downing Street quietly canceled it.
His advisers panicked at the surge in the number of Covid cases, which is expected to reach 100,000 or even 200,000 per day, the third worst level in the world. What political nonsense, that the Prime Minister and Chancellor thought he could avoid self-isolation on a non-existent VIP “pilot program” – the same one Michael Gove had cited to avoid quarantine after taking his son to the League final. champions in Portugal. Far too late, Downing Street announced that No 10 and the Cabinet Office had withdrawn from this “pilot”, refusing to publish its results.
Leadership in this time of plague has been absent, so it is not surprising to see Prince Charles bragging about wearing no masks as he breathed and sang in Exeter Cathedral today, The Daily Mail adding that “the Duchess of Cornwall is known to dislike wearing a mask”. Well, yes: masks are a minor nuisance, they itch, choke, choke. But in this anti-social challenge, the royal family is deliberately allying with a delusional right-wing who uses the harmless mask as a symbol of tyranny.
Meanwhile, 1922 committee chairman MP Graham Brady said in a Sunday newspaper: “I believe the real purpose of masks is social control. The public, he vowed, had been seized with the “Stockholm syndrome”, the government using “fear to manipulate the population of a free and democratic country.” “How far has a proud nation let itself fall!”
There is no space here to discuss how “freedom” has been stolen and perverted by the right – but what a mind-boggling frivolity to refuse to wear masks that can reduce transmission by 25%. Now prepare to watch the public’s frustration and friction with swashbuckling macho men and provocative anti-vaccines refusing masks, endangering fellow passengers and buyers. Churchillian Johnson could have said, “Never in the realm of human viruses have there been so many infections from such an irresponsible number.” This week’s polls have again shown that the public understands the precautionary principle better than its leader.
“The warning light on the NHS dashboard is not flashing orange, it is flashing red,” Health committee chairman Jeremy Hunt told the Today show on Saturday. There is no better red flag than the new double-barreled health secretary immediately contracting Covid, with unknowable long Covid effects, risking its spread in a care home he visited and slashing half of the cabinet after close contact with them. That’s the story: the virus is everywhere, causing disease and still fatal for VIPs and little people alike.
“Please, please, please be careful,” urged Boris Johnson in the U-turn, but that’s not what his fate is practicing. His ‘irreversible’ commitment is gone because, here and now, disaster has already hit an exhausted NHS once again.
But in order not to spoil Freedom Day, the public weren’t supposed to know. The Health Service Journal reports that three NHS chief executives have been banned from speaking to the media about the “excruciating pressure” their hospitals face, and banned from commenting on the reckless removal of masks, social distancing and assembly limits at inside. They confirmed that the WhatsApp group of NHS leaders had “quite a few angry people” commenting on leaders’ failure to point out the current danger. “There is a feeling that we are expected [by government] pretend it’s all over.
Silencing the NHS is absurd, and it never works. Some un-intimidated souls will always speak up – especially seasoned seniors like Nick Hulme, a well-respected convenience store, now managing director of East Suffolk and North Essex Trust. “We are breaking all previous A&E records every day,” and not in a good way, he tells me. Covid cases are filling the beds. “This is still a major crisis and we expect a third of more cases for the rest of the year as they relax the rules.”
What Hulme calls the “Covid hangover” brings between 16 and 20 seriously ill people each day whose cases have been missed, such as “stage 3 and stage 4 cancers, with a much worse prognosis”, requiring treatment. rapid and complex care. Sending doctors in scrubs begging sorted A&E patients to go see their GP doesn’t necessarily work – they don’t go if they can’t get an appointment with a GP.
“The test and traceability debacle has caused a crisis,” he says. He has lost 32 staff who were screwed up by the NHS Covid app and ordered to self-isolate for 10 days. “Two senior consultants on hiatus for 10 days means we’ve lost 200 outpatient appointments and 200 operations, leaving an entire team redundant. A great relief for him is today’s announcement to exempt health and care workers from quarantine. But the unions are mobilizing to defend the NHS soldiers on the front line by taking the Covid bullets. Their pay review reward, which may be announced this week, could be just a percentage point or two above the government offer below 1% inflation.
No wonder Number 10 tried to silence the voices of the NHS. Hulme’s waiting list is the highest since the records began: “and we’re doing fine,” he says. In 2010, the NHS had virtually no one waiting for more than 18 weeks; now Hulme has 4,500 patients on hold for over 52 weeks. The government has also quietly removed the 18-week measure from its NHS bill. The national list had grown to 4.5 million people before the Covid strike, caused by a decade of NHS austerity when per capita funding fell: now Sajid Javid warns waiting lists could reach 13 million .
New cases among those vaccinated are expected to overtake cases among unvaccinated people within days, according to the nonprofit ZOE Covid study group. Those who have been vaccinated may be less likely to die, but why the complacency with the increase in long cases of Covid? Boris Johnson’s ‘Do What I Say, Not What I Do’ Freedom Day will be remembered not for Churchill’s statements, but for the silly bluster, toxic politics, and calamitous errors in judgment. health policy.