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Tin Ear over Corona Virus and Boris Johnson

(201 Posts)
POGS Thu 12-Mar-20 18:12:38

Having just watched in the last hour ' yet another ' government media speech by Boris Johnson, Professor Chris Witty and Sir Patrick Vallance to update the country over the COVID 19 virus I don't understand the copious amount of threads denigrating the government handling over the Corona Virus?

What problem do posters have with the government taking advice from and taking the lead from :-

Professor Chris Whitty who is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, the UK government’s Chief Medical Adviser and head of the public health profession.

Chris Witty is also Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with overall responsibility for the department’s research and development, including the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Sir Patrick Vallance FRS FMedSci FRCP is Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) and Head of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession. His personal research was in the area of diseases of blood vessels and endothelial biology.

I find it a peculiar situation that GN has thread after thread that calls the government and Boris Johnson idiots but there seems to equally be a perverse clamour of voices wanting Boris Johnson to make decisions.

It is like a collective suffering from a tin ear syndrome to the ' fact' that at every stage the government has taken the lead from the above and only Boris Johnson is referred to. If there are voices that accuse Johnson of not dealing with the outbreak then they are also ignoring the likes of Professor Chris Witty and Sir Patrick Valence, it a collective madness.

What is better the government working hand in glove with the ' experts' or Boris Johnson and the government making decisions unilaterally.

I don't get it.

glammagran Thu 12-Mar-20 23:00:14

I’m no fan of BJ either but I think he is handling this as well as he can. I did hear some weeks ago severely ill people were being turned away from hospitals in China as they had no spare capacity to take any further patients. It seems sensible for schools to remain open for the time being so the kids are not foisted onto grandparents.

As so many hotels are under-occupied at present I wonder why steps aren’t being taken to discharge so-called “bed blockers” from hospitals to free up beds into other forms of accommodation. But I suppose it would then become another care problem.

craftyone Fri 13-Mar-20 06:35:33

I have to agree about bed blockers. Perhaps some hotels could be comandeered and used , to be staffed by nursing aids with lesser qualifications. Are we talking the old fashioned convalescent homes here?

Mamie Fri 13-Mar-20 06:47:12

The difference in approach is interesting though. Macron's address to the nation last night was brilliant; measured, calm and also informed by science.
All schools and universities closed, over 70s to limit contact as much as possible, huge raft of financial support for affected workers, stay in touch with your old folk, but don't go and see them, communities must support each other. Childcare and every other support necessary given to health workers, non-urgent operations cancelled.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

vegansrock Fri 13-Mar-20 06:59:41

I certainly wasn’t bashing BJ , I was just saying the NHS has been relatively speaking, under resourced and understaffed for years. Every year there is a winter crisis with long waits at A and E, people treated in corridors on trollies, no beds available, cancelled appointments etc. Italy, by comparison spends more on health care, but is being severely tested by this crisis. They are opening new hospital facilities in all sorts of public buildings, such as exhibition centres. Maybe the government have plans we aren’t privy to. We are only a few weeks behind other countries, if we can delay as long as possible great, I’m not sure that not going on cruises and hand washing is enough though. Saying many families will lose loved ones before their time is also not that reassuring.

Riverwalk Fri 13-Mar-20 07:07:06

Yes Mamie it will be interesting to see how things play out, particularly the contrasting approaches between France and the UK.

Childcare and every other support necessary given to health workers,

But what about other very important workers who can't work from home e.g. transport, police, prison staff, utilities, lorry drivers, bakers, supermarket staff, etc. Who will look after their children?

Mamie Fri 13-Mar-20 07:20:44

He talked about "garderies" so maybe some small-scale local child care. France already has very long holidays and in some places no school on Wednesdays so there are already networks for childcare. I suspect a lot will fall on younger grandparents and wider family round here, but I don't know what will happen in the cities. The local Mairie will play a big role in organisation. In our commune of sixty we have a Maire and seven councillors. We are quite a long way from the surrounding communes so isolation is easier than in a lot of the UK.
Macron also said that priority for treatment will go to the most fragile and the elderly. They have already called up a reserve guard of health professionals (recently retired doctors, medical students etc to cover phone lines and other backroom support for hospitals).

GrannyLaine Fri 13-Mar-20 08:12:33

Read this article about the challenges facing Italian doctors when there is no longer sufficient capacity to provide ventilator support to the most severely affected patients. Very sobering indeed and makes us realise that even with optimum funding, our fantastic NHS will face similar challenges when the virus peaks.

Urmstongran Fri 13-Mar-20 08:16:02

Good thread POGS it’s very interesting to read all the posts.

We are in the more fortunate position of being behind the curve in the U.K. over all this. Our medical experts (who are measured and reassuring so far) are not taking knee jerk reaction but have the guarded luxury to assess what is coming down the track and advise accordingly.

Boris is doing a good job here. Enough updates to explain the current situation without scaring us.

Alexa Fri 13-Mar-20 09:55:53

The eminent doctors told it as it is, although their messages will have to be filtered for non-readers and such. Boris chaired the meeting efficiently without his usual silly jollity.
Keep schools open is a good decision, as children will acquire specific immunity without suffering much in the way of horrible symptoms.

Please remember the aim is 'herd immunity' .

Alexa Fri 13-Mar-20 09:59:09

Craftyone, that is sometimes called "warehousing". I object to that name and prefer "nursing homes" .Nursing homes would be best use of scarce carers. I hope to goodness they would be well supervised!

Alexa Fri 13-Mar-20 10:00:22

Sorry, Craftyone, I mean convalescent homes.

trisher Fri 13-Mar-20 10:25:55

Interesting that actually it is Conservative MPs who are disagreeing with BJ and sggesting that he should have closed schools. (Jeremy Hunt) The idea that this is being handled well or efficiently is of course entirely unfounded. One question might be why if one MP who had contact with the PM and other MPs has tested positive the people present at a social event didn't choose to self-isolate and limit the posssibility of infection spread? Could it be that they think it will only be the poor and old who will be seriously affected?

GrannyGravy13 Fri 13-Mar-20 10:27:19

Alexa until there is a vaccine breakthrough herd immunity is the best alternative.

I am asthmatic, over 60 and Mr.GG is nearly 70 with a few "tia" associated problems. We are off to do a "big shop" in a minute, visiting family at the weekend then we shall be hunkering-down.

It was said on the news this morning that there are anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 people in U.K. walking around with it, we cannot all be tested. Let's leave the medics free to deal with those who are seriously ill with this virus.

winterwhite Fri 13-Mar-20 11:55:38

I can't agree with the OP.

For a start I thought that remark about families 'losing loved ones before their time' was in poor taste and quite unnecessary.

I don't think this is about party politics at all, but I also don't know how we can be so sure that our own scientists and epidemiologists have got it right while those in France, Germany, the US and elsewhere have got it wrong. That does seem ostrich like to me.

One moment we are told that this virus is so new that no one knows anything about it, and the next that there is 'no evidence' that closing schools and stopping sporting events would make any difference. Well, how can there be evidence when it is all so new? Elsewhere plain common sense is being applied. Is that not good enough here? Last week we were told that it would peak at Easter, now June and later, with no explanation.

It seems plain enough that public health is being balanced against the needs of the economy. This is prob fair enough, but why can't the govt say so instead of insisting that the health of the population is its top priority and manufacturing reasons for not adopting measures in place elsewhere?

This must be my longest ever post, so I do hope someone will answer!

Grandad1943 Fri 13-Mar-20 13:01:16

It would seem that there are organisations that are not going to follow government advice in this crisis and "do their own thing"

Here in North Somerset, a neighbour of one of our daughters informed her that while dropping off her children at school this morning the parents were asked to go to the main hall of the school. There the deputy Headmistress informed all assembled of the special measures they are taking to keep the children as safe as possible throughout today. She then went on to inform the parents that they would be informed later today if the school will be open on Monday.

Many parents then stated that closing schools was not the recommendation of the government at the present time. The reply to that remark was, "we are an independent academy and therefore make our own decisions in all matters and in that decision we have to consider the safety of the children AND STAFF".

The above I find totally disgusting as the decision will affect many in preventing them from working due to the requirement of child care. No doubt those teachers and other staff will expect the supermarket's shelves to be fully stocked as they take a prolonged break. Do not these people realise that if everyone adopted the same attitude as they have taken all essential industries such as food, water, electricity etc would be shut down making life in this country impossible.

Of course, those teachers (should this school shut down) could I suppose take themselves off to manually work in one of the many large food distribution centres in the Severnside area, and in that replace those that are genuinely off sick with this virus, but somehow I feel that will not happen.

Dinahmo Fri 13-Mar-20 13:04:04

A few months ago the country (some of it) decided to leave the EU. One of the many reasons given was that people didn't trust experts. Now everybody is believing them - as of course they should. it's what they are paid for.

Callistemon Fri 13-Mar-20 13:06:52

trisher I still would like to know just how long this has been with us before it was identified and we were told officially by China.
I think it was you and another poster who also queried that.

Callistemon Fri 13-Mar-20 13:10:49

Grandad I think that may be a sensible decision and I think many schools are planning the same from next week.

I do wonder, though, what is going to happen re childcare as some people will be able to work from home but most will not.

Callistemon Fri 13-Mar-20 13:12:05

I don't think teachers want to be taking a prolonged break
No-one wants this and all are very concerned.

Calendargirl Fri 13-Mar-20 13:14:07

Around Christmas time, a large number of people suffered with flu like symptoms, bad coughs, feeling really rough, in fact many GN’ers posted about this. It was assumed it was just the usual seasonal flu, but it makes me wonder now, how do we know it wasn’t Coronavirus?

Callistemon Fri 13-Mar-20 13:15:28

Well, that is what I'd like to know Calendargirl

trisher Fri 13-Mar-20 13:17:25

Callistemon I still wonder about that. I also wonder how many people have already had it because the symptoms can be very slight especially for children and young people.
Grandad1943I think the thing about children is that they are super-carriers so can spread the virus more rapidly than in most jobs. Schools are closed to stop the spread. Why it isn't being done here is an interesting question. I think possibly because many NHS workers have school aged children and some would be unable to work.

M0nica Fri 13-Mar-20 14:09:37

.....or because grandparents would need to become child carers

POGS Fri 13-Mar-20 14:14:42

The problem is there are issues which ever way we turn.

E. G

If children are known to be ' super spreaders' how does shutting down schools stop the spreading of the virus?

Children will need to go to grandparents who are the ' at risk ' group, require parents to not go to their employment, or in a lot of cases spend weeks/months alone at home with all the dangers / accidents that can happen there whilst they are alone.

I saw a conversation on BBC this morning and it was said there should be engagement within communities and children could attend groups where volunteers looked after them, he was a respected voice in the health profession advocating the closure of schools etc.

What purpose does closing down a school and then sending your children to say a village hall with goodness knows how many other children under the care of non professionals be deemed more sense than keeping a school open.

I don't get it!

Hetty58 Fri 13-Mar-20 14:15:23

POGS, I would have thought it was blindingly obvious what the problem is. If everyone is being guided by 'the experts', we'd expect countries to be making similar decisions about controlling the spread of the virus. They aren't.

Our government (as usual) is doing too little, too late. We have only half the intensive care beds than Italy (per person) yet the under-reaction to the crisis (so typically British) threatens to overwhelm our health service even more.