Thursday evening I took a walk, needing to get out and get some fresh air after a day of listening to talks and lectures. I took my phone and headphones and decided to treat myself to one of the playlists put together at the latter end of 2020. I called it Headspace November 2020. Original huh?
It is full of Michael Bolton, Cher, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Phil Collins and other such artists of the 1990s. It is rather cheesy but I was a teenager when these songs and artists were popular, and somehow in this extremely blue January in 2021, I found much comfort singing along to this in the rain on a dark and cold evening.
It did get me thinking…
…as I was ‘singing’, making dramatic gestures and little dances moves (it’s good for my back). I got track number 15 Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ not only was I consumed with thoughts about whether I would make change in any of the personal choices I have made in my own life,
I also wondered, what would we do if could turn back time in this pandemic?
It’s been a grim week when we have had to face the news that the death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 100,00 death. So utterly sad. A complete tragedy. My Facebook feed and my one friends alerted me to this Guardian article by Professor Devi Sridhar who is the Chair of Global Public health at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. In this piece she talks about five ways the government could have avoided 100,000 Covid deaths. It makes for sad reading almost a year on from those early months of 2020. I have written a summary of her points taken from that article.
- Border policies : the UK did not have border policies in place for months. Borders are are the first line of defence against a novel pathogen and way to catch new variants and infections before they get a chance to spread. Countries that managed to effectively contain Sars-CoV-2 implemented screenings of new arrivals and 14-day quarantines for those entering the country. Some even restricted travel to national citizens.
- Community testing: the government decided to stop community testing. Community testing is vital for controlling the virus. This was later resumed, but England outsourced testing and tracing to private firms instead of using local public health capacity. Test and trace goes hand in hand with isolation, but there has has been little support for people who would struggle to stop working for 14 days. Statutory sick pay is £95.85 a week.
- Delay of the first lockdown : The government appeared to think that delaying restrictions would make them less painful, for fear that “behavioural fatigue” would set in. Yet the opposite is true. if lockdown is necessary it is better to do it earlier so that restrictions can be lifted more quickly on the other side.
- Lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): Many health and social workers struggled in the first lockdown in the spring. Many were exposed to COVID-19 on wards and none had access to testing.
- Lack of clear leadership and messaging: The government has appeared to follow public opinion and polling rather than leading from the front. Examples being:
- the debate on whether face coverings were protective
- the debate on the seriousness and impact of the coronavirus infection
- encouraged to stay at home and the encourage to “eat out to help out”
- …and don’t even mention Dominic Cummings
And now we are in the era of vaccines, who gets them, when do we get them, who pays, how much do we pay, is it fair, is it equitable, and so on and so forth…
…and don’t mention the anti-Vaxxers
And while all these thoughts are swirling around my head, I continue to sail through my play list with other songs/song-titles on my playlist, activiting the dark humor that is within me this month.
I would do anything for love (but I won’t do that) aka I would do anything for the people (but I won’t lockdown)
or later when we are totally fed-up
We Don’t Need Another Hero aka We Don’t Need Another Lockdown
Coming Around Again – another lockdown!!
Stuck With You – take your pick:
the person you are in lockdown with
the current government for the next x years
Miss You Like Crazy – taking holidays
Soul Provider aka PPE provider
Eh-hem, onto more serious things…
So at the end of her article Professor Devi talks about how we must not sink into gloom and doom but look forward to getting out of this crisis. She talks about having a concrete plan and strategy which would include:
- suppressing transmission
- building a functioning test, trace, isolate support system
- guard against reimportation of infections with strict travel restrictions
- try to open schools and as much of the domestic economy as possible
It feels like a formidable task…
But we are British, right, we got this, world-beating…
In the mean time we support each other and we think of the families of those 100,000 people who’s lives haved ended in such tragic circumstances.
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me
When your’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…
For all the people that truely truely did their best and continue to do so.
For all the frontline workers and the ones behind the scenes.
Everyday, literally putting their lives on the line while we work our way out of this nightmare.
Can we learn from all the mistakes of the past year and take stock and strength from what was done well.
I hope so.