So yesterday the official number of people in the UK whose death was due to COVID-19 was 813 which brought the total up to 20,319. It is really distressing to read about the people who many of us have met or known who are part of the statistics where even one death is very tragic. It is also very distressing to read about people who have died due to COVID-19 who were in care homes or at their own homes and so have not appeared in these statistics. At the same point that we hit this number in the UK, the global death count rose to 200,000 and both of those numbers related to claims made several weeks ago by people who had suggested what our future could look like, although of course they were both related to our nation. However now we have passed what was suggested as our best case scenario, the future cannot be any less than 20,319 but let us hope it remains far less than the 200,000 level.
It is clear that a great deal of more deaths will take place before some sort of normality emerges. Despite this a few days ago, Daniel Hannan our ex MEP claimed that because the UK death count had peaked several weeks earlier that the decision for us to remain in lockdown no longer made any sense as the source of the infection for that peak must have happened before the lockdown began. It remains to be seen how things will change, but if that first peak of 980 official deaths which happened on 10th April, was due to infections before 23rd March, the sum of 813 which is 83% of the 980 does not seem very much lower and clearly those infections would have taken place two weeks later if his knowledge is correct! In any event the overall line could just as easily still be raising as it could be levelling and perhaps starting to drop a little.
Another matter of uncertainty arose yesterday during the presentation by Priti Patel who responded to a question that was related to if our nation is getting a clear grasp of whether to stay at home or go out to work. Ms Patel stated “We have also been clear that, if you can’t work from home, you can go to work. There are no mixed messages. We have been clear, the police have been clear.” The problem with this is that a huge number of people work in settings that cannot be transferred to their own homes. A classic example is getting ones hair cut. The person who runs the business which is where my family goes began his business by coming to our home and indeed one of my family members goes to a hairdressers own home. However both of those persons have responsibly closed down their businesses since Johnson made the call and our hair is growing longer every day! However if one took what Priti Patel has said as being correct, they both have a right to open up their businesses. We all know that the closure of a great deal of retail sections does not in any way imply that it is because these people can actually work from home. By the same token most building and construction companies are being allowed to work although thankfully the more responsible ones as I have written before have closed down. It was fascinating to listen to the answer to the question raised by Paul Waugh from Huffpost on 24th March which was directed at Matthew Hancock. Paul suggested that the reason for the building industry being allowed to carry on working irrespective of how important the jobs are, was because of the extent to which the industry funds the Tory Party. Mr Hancock carefully ignored the question and failed to explain why building workers are expected to carry on working in most cases but perhaps Ms Patel is making it clear why builders can go to work still, even though hairdressers apparently cannot!