Monday 15 November 2021

We will never be rid of the curse of covid whilst we have anti vax nutters on the rampage

 Today I attended a funeral. It was the first funeral of an elderly person I've been to for a very long time where there has been no mention of covid on the death certificate. Sadly none of the their friends felt able to attend. The very elderly still have a degree of vulnerability to covid, whilst the vaccine reduces the chances of death or hospitalisation, many people who are vulnerable are choosing simply not to meet people unless they absolutely have to. Back in October, I detailed how the UK is following what is a very different strategy to the rest of Europe in regards to covid. I was lucky enough to have an off the record private briefing from someone who knows. In short, the UK government has taken the decision to allow covid to rip through the population, as we have a reasonable degree of immunity right now. Their view is that this is the best way to finally put the virus to bed. Boris Johnson believes that the best thing is for as many people to get infected as possible whilst immunity levels are high. Whether this will work remains to be be seen. Thus far we've not hit the heights of previous waves and we are not seeing the same number of deaths, although more than a thousand people have died in the last week.

The one fly in the oinkment is that there are still a significant number of people who refuse to get vaccinated. As we live in a relatively free country, there is no talk of compelling them to get vaccinated. My view is that the government should treat us like grown ups and sadly if people want to do stupid and irrational things, then that is their choice (I believe that not taking advantage of a jab that will massively reduce the risk to you and others from a dangerous virus, which has been proven to be safe with billions of doses administered, then you are stupid. You are more than welcome to think it is me that is the idiot if that is the way you swing). 

I do however think that such people will be to blame for prolonging the pandemic and I think it is a real shame that in some cases, they will bear the tragic cost. I've seen all manner of stupid posts. Some claiming that footballers didn't have heart problems before vaccination was invented. Sadly I remember ex Manchester City player Marc Vivien Foe 's tragic death as well as the extraordinary lucky escape of Fabrice Muamba. Of course, they will find another straw man argument to move the ground when challenged. I'm not really a fan of the concept of vaccine passports, I do think testing is a more sensible approach. It is a scandal that billions were wasted on track and trace and the bloody thing has never worked. I wonder when the fraud squad will take a peek. As someone who worked in IT as a consultant for many years (I was involved in testing the first contactless Chip and Pin Card system in the UK), I knew that the astronomically expensive app wouldn't work properly and I'd love to see the people who persuaded the government it would brought to book. There is an old joke "What's the difference between a used car salesman and an IT salesman?" - "The used car salesman knows when he's telling porkies". The truth is that if you sell a health product and you have no idea if it will work, you should disclose that. You'd need standard systems across every phone and far more accurate calibration than we have to even start to think about it. That would take 2-3 years to roll out. The software in our current phones simply wasn't designed to work in this way and everyone who understood NFC (the technology that is used) knew. 

The sad truth is that we are lumbered with Covid for the foreseeable future. As far as I am concerned, it is the anti vax nutters who are putting us in this position. It's pointless arguing with them and I don't believe in authoritarian government, so I guess that in the long run, it will just have to be left to Darwinian evolution. All I can really say is that the government really should make better education of biology, Maths and Statistics mandatory. I have A levels in both if you are interested. I don't think that makes me cleverer, but when people who do know what they are talking about speak, I have some idea what they are on about.

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