Analysis comment

As Johnson insists Europe’s largest spring gathering go ahead, medic’s chilling account reveals Italian reality

Cheltenham reveals first case of coronavirus, but Tories insist race festival should proceed – bringing 250,000 people into close proximity

Boris Johnson, via Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, has insisted that the Cheltenham Festival must go ahead, in spite of the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the town.

The racing event – the largest spring gathering in Europe – will bring together around a quarter of a million people over the course of its four days, starting tomorrow.

In 2001, the event was cancelled to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease among horses.

As the Tories insist on ploughing ahead, a Twitter thread by an Italian epidemiologist translating an ICU medic’s account of the scale and severity of the horror in Italy – which has just announced a national lockdown – gives a chilling glimpse at what might be in store for the UK, which is only around 12 days behind Italy in its number of COVID-19 cases and rate of spread of the disease.

Dr Daniele Macchini

Silvia Stringhini’s 20-tweet thread, which translates the account of Italian ICU doctor Daniele Macchini, starts in the ‘calm before the storm’ as Macchinie’s hospital was emptied of other types of patient in readiness – and goes on to describe:

  • medics unable to go home for fear of infecting their families – and exhausted staff becoming ill themselves
  • full patient boards marked in red for severe danger to life from ‘bilateral interstitial pneumonia’
  • surgical theatres converted to makeshift intensive care wards as the hospital struggles to cope
  • patient after patient dying and growing numbers of others showing signs of the same outcome
  • the inadequacy of the supply of ventilators to cope with the numbers needing them

The account – whose title translates as “With our actions we influence the lives and deaths of many” – then challenges the actions of authorities more concerned with avoiding panic than with genuinely informing the public how people can protect themselves and others:

Cheltenham Festival could be closed two decades ago to prevent a disease spreading among horses, but the Tories want it to stay open now – when information like Daniele Macchini’s is only a click away – potentially providing the virus with hundreds of thousands of vectors to accelerate its spread in the UK.

The Tories’ consistent cuts to and fragmentation of the NHS look set to come home to roost, with the huge bed reductions, ward closures and staff cuts and shortages of the last decade weakening the ability of the NHS to cope with a pandemic.

And Boris Johnson told ITV’s This Morning last week that one of the theories being considered by his government was to simply let the disease run rampant and ‘take it on the chin’:

When the full cost of this pandemic becomes known, Johnson and others responsible for such recklessness – when their primary duty is to protect – must be held to account.

And allowed nowhere near power ever again.

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      1. Bung in the Grand Old Duke of York, HRH Prince Andrew PLEASE. He loves horses, they say. (And a bung is the only way you’d get him there..but fortunately, look, it’s the Dear old Emir; what a cove!).

  1. I’d be surprised if more than a couple of thousand people turned up.
    People are stupid but still largely risk-averse.
    I don’t think they’re going to buy up every panic item in the shops and then go where the risk is greatest.
    Force event organisers and broadcasters to show these pay per view events on TV for free while the emergency prevents people going to them – or just cancel them all.
    Like I say to football fanatics when their team loses: “Look on the bright side – IT’S ONLY A FUCKING GAME.”

    1. 40,000 to 60,000 will turn up guaranteed,
      You dont go if your vulnerable or showing signs of the symptoms thats the best advice

      1. It’s odd how the Government seems intent on spreading the virus into every part of the country.

      2. “You dont go if your vulnerable or showing signs of the symptoms thats the best advice”

        People are infectious before they show symptoms.

      3. Johnson is the chief advocate of ‘let it rip’ on the grounds it’s beyond our capabilities to stop it and it’s too expensive to even try. To cull a huge section of males over 70 will save billions in health care and pensions.

      4. So people won’t care about becoming healthy carriers?
        Maybe you’re right.
        To paraphrase Mencken, nobody ever went broke overestimating the stupidity of the public.

  2. Let it rip and take it on the chin is Johnson’s preference. It saves money but it will kill thousands (admittedly economic inactives (EiN)). The only state interference will be on behalf of employers working out compensation and maintaining their cash flow (guess how that’s done!). It’s a very Tory approach as is ‘it’s not our job to spend money saving jobs and industries’ in reference to many including Thomas Cook and now Flyme. The studied silence about what happens to workers who no longer have sick pay provisions tells its own story. Far too costly Ho Ho.. Pigeons are coming home to roost maybe?

    1. I think we need to compulsury isolate Johnson and as many of the royals after the event,so as to protect the public from these parasites that gamble with our money and our lives and I am not joking.!

      1. So how would you go about it Joseph, given that you’re not joking?

        Doesn’t sound very realistic to me.

  3. I can’t help thinking that the Trevor Phillips suspension is all a set-up – ie a black op machination – concocted and designed to demonise and smear Jeremy one last time before he steps down as leader. The very fact that it should happen NOW stinks to high heaven of Establishment machinations:

    Muslim Labour MP slams party’s ’embarrassing’ decision to suspend equality champion Trevor Phillips for ‘Islamophobia’ after he voiced concerns about Asian grooming gangs – as he claims he’s victim of Corbynista revenge

      1. Not forgetting the Sun of course:

        RACE TSAR BARRED Equality champion Trevor Phillips claims he was suspended from Labour by party ‘gangsters’ in ‘Corbynista payback’

        Writing in the Times today, the lifelong anti-racism campaigner accused the Labour party of going after him for revenge.

        He said: “Some will see it as payback by Corbynistas for public criticisms I made of the leadership’s failure to tackle antisemitism in the party.

        “Another possibility is that it’s an attempt to scare the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which I used to lead and which is investigating Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism.

        “Weaponising Islamophobia to attack political opponents may seem like clever tactics but trying to intimidate a legally independent organisation is pure political gangsterism.”

        PS Oh the saboteurs do so love their irony!

      2. Afterthought: And just HOW exactly does Phillips think that suspending HIM will scare the EHRC?! It is of course complete and utter piffle, and Phillips and his chums – including one called Tony Blair – are just having a larf.

        And thinking about it again, I suppose the very LAST thing the smearers could do is for the EHRC to publish the findings of their so-called investigation into the LPs handling of A/S just prior to Jeremy standing down, and no doubt they’ve been working hard on it to make it as ‘damning’ as possible!

    1. One last thought: The D Mail claims that Phillips has been suspended ‘after he voiced concerns about Asian grooming gangs’, but given that THAT was in August 2017 and was all over the MSM at the time, it’s nonsensical that he would be suspended for that NOW (and why would he be anyway!), some two-and-a-half years later, and I think we can be 150% certain that THAT isn’t the reason – or one of the reasons – why he has been suspended, and it is of course designed to make readers feel indignant and hostile towards JC and his staff.

  4. Apologies (for posting so many links to articles), but the following are a couple of paragraphs from a recent Jonathan Cook piece posted on Feb 24th:

    How we stay blind to the story of power

    Power needs to be rid of Sanders, just as it previously had to rid itself of Corbyn because both are that rarest thing – politicians who are not imprisoned within the current power paradigm. Because they do not serve power cultishly like most of their colleagues, such politicians threaten to shine a light on true power. Ultimately, power will use any tool to destroy them. But power prefers, if possible, to maintain its cloak of invisibility, to avoid exposing the sham of the consumption-driven “democracy” it engineered to consolidate and expand its power. It prefers our collusion.

    As I have documented many times before, Corbyn found himself caught in a trap of the kind now faced by Sanders. Any supporter (including Jews) who denied that the Labour party Corbyn led was antisemitic, or argued that the antisemitism claims were being weaponised to damage him, was cited as proof that Corbyn had indeed attracted antisemites to the party. Concluding that Corbyn’s Labour party was not antisemitic, based on the evidence, was treated as evidence of antisemitism. But as soon as Corbyn agreed under media and party pressure to accept the alternative – that an antisemitism problem had taken root on his watch – he was also implicitly forced to concede that something about him and his values had allowed antisemitism to take root. He found he was damned either way – which is precisely how power makes sure it emerges the winner.

  5. Good ol Boris , eees just avin a laugff U can av a pint wive im top man like.
    That commie Corbyn was just scaremongering lyin bastard , its all his fault .

    RE OUR NHS !

    Apologies for the destructive sarcasm , but the only little ray of justice is that COVID 19 makes no distinction between old Tory voting twats and other old people. Bearing in mind that the majority of the Tory vote tends to be older , then maybe this culling might just rebalance things.

  6. But, getting back to the original narrative, how many people heard the blithe sounding guy from the Cheltenham Racecourse management on the Today programme sports spot at 8.30 this morning arguing that the festival could be useful tor medical science researchers as you could trace the travel links of racegoers and possible transmission points if any COVID19 emerged amongst anyone there later on ?

    1. And have the noisy LIARS who falsely attack Jeremy, spoken out on the Queen’s friend’s barbaric attitude? Will he be deported when he next visits his substantial properties in our country? Is he not a threat to safety and security here with his medieval disregard for others? We have never heard Phillips criticise that lot. Still not heard a word from Trevor Phillips re eugenicist at the CORE of Johnson’s operation? No we won’t here them. They care nothing about AS. They care nothing about racism, or they would be crawling all over the MSM about this:

      1. The liars who did everything to make us lose the election are one virus. They are harder to shift than COVID19 or the plague. Those infect and kill bodies. The liars infect and kill spirits, mood, drive to transform the world, they infect many with doubt that change is achievable. That is their aim. One result? The lazy incompetent Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister. Because too many who had a responsibly to help Jeremy, were infected. Symptom? John McDonald whining aloud and captured by the MSM “WE DID E V E R Y T H I N G THEY ASKED”.

        Tell me has anyone ever heard ANYONE EVER in public life, whine like that? Or do everything that any group asked? … let alone an unrepresentative unelected one?

        So we are rightly concerned about the spread of COVID19. We must give the same thought to the virus that has infected the spirit of our party. Sick spirits affect everything. They can make a shadow chancellor whine “we did everything they asked”, without establishing wether what was demanded, was justified. Sick spirits can spread timidity and paralysis even in a party of HALF A MILLION.

        No change will come out of timidity, always being reactive and always acting as if under siege. We must isolate those who have been affected by the liars. A symptom is “we can’t do this” or “that”. We must be careful of what the MSM will say. We must “reform” the likes of Neil Coyle and Khan…. NO‼️ What we really must do URGENTLY is isolate those
        virus covered millstones now‼️‼️ It is easy to identify them. Describe their symptoms and they self identify with abrasive twitches. They lose their ability to read. They spout hysterical lies. They sometimes reveal their racism and are pacified by unwitting racist. But the key symptom is they have not a single intelligent fresh suggestion. When it comes to transformation they are stagnant cesspits.
        The future of Labour must start with the isolation of those infected. And expelling the sources of the infection eg Trevor Phillips. He has for too many years been repeatedly bringing our party into disrepute.

      2. Yes, yes, signpost, I think we all know what happened, and there really is no need to repeat it all ad nauseum, and the analogy with the Coronavirus is getting a bit boring if you don’t mind me saying so.

        And there was no ‘timidity’, just a Catch-22 no-win situation, as Jonathan Cook said in effect in the article I linked to further up the page. But anyway, at least you spared us the ‘jellied weakness’ line this time around!

        And it’s not a ‘group’ per se, it’s a whole bunch of groups and organisations and individuals and the WHOLE of the MSM and ALL the Jewish newspapers AND the British Establishment.

  7. The only thing to fear from Corona virus is
    It’s a form of Flu FFS, what makes you think you can do anything about it
    Cheltenham will make zero difference to the outcome of this pandemic, some scientists have argued the quicker we let it rip through the population the sooner we will develop immunity
    Its here it will run its race and by this time next year those with underlying problems will be vaccinated

    1. You’re partially right, Doug – particularly on the issue of sorting out ravings from sound advice. But it isn’t a flu’ virus.

      The objective of limiting social contact and simple hygiene isn’t going to stop the spread – but it can slow it down.

      Those of us with various indicators of enhanced susceptibility (mainly the Old Fart Brigade) will be sensible to limit contacts to the minimum. We’re doing that, but not getting hysterical about it like the bog paper brigade.

      I reckon my main concern is having a number of hospital appointments coming up in the near future.

    2. The key thing here is that is a _new_ flu. Very likely a bioweapon also. Has a transmission range of 4.5m (double regular flu) and is resilient to most surfaces with a long residual effect.

      Consider this. Prior to the outbreak in China, we had several interesting events in the US including many people dying in late summer/early autumn due to vaping. A phenomenon not repeated elsewhere in the world. The CDC closed a bioweapons lab, Fort Derrick around the same time. Shortly after this, the world military games was held in Wuhan…

      Finally, a Taiwanese virologist claims the Americans are the only country with multiple strains. The strain currently in Taiwan is only in Australia and the US. The virologist claims that no infection came from Australia…

  8. Italy is not the country with which to make comparisons. Germany is a better parallel. It is taking action to cancel large gatherings. That should be the case here now, with people also self-limiting travel and contacts.

  9. Just came across this statement on the Labour Against Anti-semitism facebook page re the decision by Show Racism the Red Card:

    LAAS Statement on Show Racism the Red Card

    Fiona Sharpe, spokesman for Labour Against Antisemitism, said:

    “It is outrageous that the charity Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC) have chosen to ignore the concerns of the Board of Deputies regarding their links with the film director and political activist Ken Loach.

    Mr Loach has a long track record of allegations of antisemitism and it was appropriate and necessary for the Board to suggest he not be appointed as a judge for a school’s anti-racism competition. The Board are community representatives and to dismiss them in this way is an insult to the British Jewish community.

    This action by SRTRC suggests they cannot be trusted to effectively tackle anti-Jewish racism. We urge their trustees or the Charity Commission to take decisive measures to address this crisis in what has historically been one of the U.K.’s most recognised charities for challenging racism in sport.”


    Hopefully the day is not too far off when thousands of sports men and women and musicians and artists and actors and authors and academics etc, etc, etc, speak out collectively with one voice against the fascists who lie and fabricate and smear and manipulate and deceive and subvert democracy and cause anguish and consternation amongst a large section of the Jewish community.

    And the sooner the better!

  10. If you love sport and what it can teach us then sit back and enjoy the greatest sporting event on the planet

  11. Just came across Ian Murray’s five-point plan in my inbox, the third of which is as follows:

    I will take personal responsibility for rooting out antisemitism, bullying and harassment across our party. I am proud to have the endorsement of the Jewish Labour Movement and you can read my plan to tackle antisemitism here.

    NB Well if he roots out all the malicious and vexatious allegations first, he won’t have much left to do!

    Afterthought: I don’t ever recall anyone in the LP being suspended for Islamophobia prior to now, and it does seem rather incredible that of ALL people, it should happen to Trevor Phillips, the original chairman of Blair’s EHRC, and just a few weeks before Jeremy stands down as leader. Needless to say, I think we ALL know who the party ‘gangsters’ are!!

    1. I don’t think it’s ‘incredible’ that Philips should be suspended for racism. Over the past few years he has frequently come out with strange often ambiguous comments that suggested a racist mind set and a growing distaste for left wing politics. Tbh I assumed he’d already left, his opinions were so Tory.

      1. Paul, What I am saying is that it’s incredible that he, of all people, should be the first person to be suspended for (alleged) Islamophobia (since Jeremy was elected leader) IF that is the case AND that it should happen NOW, just prior to Jeremy standing down. I mean how very fortuitous for Jeremy’s enemies, given all the outrage it’s led to in the media. Now Jeremy and Co are party ‘gangsters’ etc, etc, etc.

        Needless to say, it’s all a stitch-up, just like it was with Ken and Jackie and Marc and Chris……………

      2. I agree about the whole shoddy business being a set up. When you read the Daily Mail today it’s only too obvious it was scripted and honed to perfection. I thought it was a sort of Goodbye gift for Jeremy. Philips sees himself as an intellectual too clever for party politics. It’s a plea to be accepted into a higher social class (a Peerage is now very likely). Perhaps he was hedging his bets and it would have been very different if Labour had won the election.

    2. Forget the individual. What concerns me is that the indiscriminate use of the accusation of what you might call ‘identity prejudice’ has become so devalued that I look with scepticism on such incidents as a matter of course.

      In the long run, I think it’s dangerous – because it hides the real instances of discrimination and prejudice in a forest of nonsense. It plays straight into the hands of the extreme right.

      Cultural and religious belief differences are a legitimate subject of debate, and there is a world of difference between questioning the nature of such and ‘hate speech’.

      We could all come up with a list of things that offend us – but the solution isn’t to ban discussion of those issues. I say that having lived in a culturally mixed area where we all dealt with difference without jumping on a chair and screaming at every passing mouse.

  12. These despicably callous & irresponsible words from Bojo, in the above video, should cost him his job. Here we see PM behaving like a rabbit caught in headlights of an oncoming lorry, telling itself it’s not happening…but it is the poor who will pay disproportionately, rather than rich Tories who have underfunded our NHS for years

  13. “EU countries are holding a conference call at 4pm today to decide on next steps in relation to coronavirus. They are considering a coordinated response in relation to managing the risk.”

    They can just f. off. We Brexiteers know what we’re doing ‘coz we’re isolationists and we’ve sequestered enough bog paper to deal with the squits.

    Our hero Jonno will sort it. That’s why we voted for him 🙂

    1. I wonder if she needs isolating,?Nadine Dorries a health minister with experience of being an ex nurse.I wonder if shes been subjected to the NHS she previously worked for?,or has she gone private?.either way she can claim first hand knowledge that should earn her a few bob to throw away at Cheltenham if we are lucky.

      1. I understand from news reports that she is recovering and has only suffered from fairly mild symptoms. She is self isolating. It should however be noted that she attended meetings in Downing St at the end of last week.

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