Analysis

34 people in 24hrs – UK death toll surges as Johnson continues to dither over school closures

Steep rise makes grim mockery of Johnson’s distancing ‘suggestions’

34 people have died in the UK in the last 24 hours as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The daily trajectory is steepening:

1
10
14
20
16
34

Astonishingly, in spite of the increasing devastation, Johnson is still trying to justify his slowness in closing schools – still only partial even after today’s announcement – by saying that schools are safe because children are less severely affected by the virus.

As if they cannot pick it up at school and pass it on at home to more vulnerable relatives and neighbours.

Johnson’s dithering, his resistance to implementing WHO recommendations and his focus on protecting wealth are lethal – and his claims to be ‘doing the right thing at the right time’ are a sick joke.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

25 comments

  1. The idea of deliberately delaying decisive measures to stop the spread, the rationale being to promote herd immunity is folly ➕ heartless recklessness. The failure to have had testing and tracing from the outset is also folly and recklessness. Those on the NHS & social care frontline and all other key workers should have been tested from the get go. Testing and tracing also needs to be routine for anyone in the wider society with symptoms.

    The rigmarole of building herd immunity was a smokescreen. Dead members of the heard are dead. They are not immune. They are dead. With a non lethal disease, heard immunity is beneficial. To justify allowing well over 300,000 elderly & vulnerable to succumb to the disease, with the spurious claim of building herd immunity is criminal. The balderdash of “flattening curves”, is also the sort of justification flimflam charlatans concoct to mesmerise the ignorant and gullible. It is a technique of propagandist. It is often used with graphs on charts and some “expert” pointing at charts and photos to confect authority. NB Colin Powell with his charts pre invading Iraq etc. The North Korean fellow is also fond of his charts and pointing even off into thin air. Johnson Cummings & Co are no better.

    NB also the flip flopping within hours, when challenged. Stop and think also of what they say. One does not need to be a virologist to realise what Johnson has been saying, makes absolutely no sense.

    The strategy should have been from the outset: Stop the spread. Test and trace. Monitoring at borders. Clear consistent information. Hand washing charts everywhere not mindless tunes. Adequate availability of DURABLE personal protection equipment, rather than the cheap flimsy trash from private parasites the Tories love.

    The situation in the UK, re Covid-19 can only drip from the likes of Cummings, Johnson & other Tories. Theresa May was understating when she called her own team “The Nasty Party”.

  2. So – schools are actually closing – at about the time that a balanced scientific view would indicate as right. Doh! I would have thought thought that the figure of £75000 might have been a prompt for Skwawkbox to think a bit harder about focus – on, for instance, the need to ramp up testing.

    Wandering around the collective street and ringing a bell doesn’t really impress. Except the hysterics.

    The major concern on the street at the moment is actually not directly about the Tories, but the depredations of the Bog Paper Brigade, which reflects the deeper problems of the SunMail mentality that won the election for the Tories and backed Brexit against all rationality.

    There are a lot of reasons for getting into the Tory ribs. Just banging on in an indiscriminate fashion isn’t an intelligent strategy

    1. @RH ” schools are actually closing – at about the time that a balanced scientific view would indicate as right ”
      Have you a link to the verifiable source of that scientific view or is it your opinion . Just trying to sort the fake from the real and keep the hysterical tripe out of the debate

      1. Yes – I’ve already posted the links. Go look. If you’ve missed it, the utterances of the Chief Scientific Advisor actually do reflect the science.

        “keep the hysterical tripe out of the debate”

        Indeed. So stop it – it’s what I’ve constantly argued.

      2. RH with respect comrade ,, ” Ringing hand bells ” and other such diatribe isn’t then ?
        Perhaps you’d do well to follow some of your own pontificated advice.
        P.S the Govt Chief Scientific Advisor ( hint Govt might just help here ) his advice is flying in the much more imo trustworthy WHO and its real unbiased expertise .
        I seem to remember him just days ago still advocating the herd immunity crap.

        What you constantly have been doing is consistently criticising this blog and it’s editor but not actually suggesting anything concrete . That is imo destructive criticism and not in anyway intelligent or constructive .
        It may not be perfect or live up to your high standards of editorial quality , but it is a least a LW source of info
        We await your intelligent strategy …..

        As others have suggested to you , if you don’t like what SB puts out , then stop reading it . There are plenty of sites out there to have ago at .
        Try this one , destroying that would actually be useful

        https://www.labourfirst.org/

  3. The language coming out his mouth is Nudge Theory, he is sticking to his original plan make or break.
    He is ignoring lessons and advice from China,Italy and WHO.
    He is putting any responsibility of any failure onto the wider population because they have choices.Ignore my gentle suggestions at your own peril,we are a ‘democracy’ and have choices.Its up to citizens to choose whether to go to clubs and pubs.Schools are still the incubators of COVID19 and will remain so until the weekend and the the child vectors can do as per cunning plan.

    1. I had online barney with a so called fellow socialist about the pseudoscience of the Nudge Unit. I agree – this has their sticky prints all over it. Seeing how far they can nudge us into taking responsibility when the PM fails. They are the eugenecist crap behind sanctions and demonising the disabled and more recent the pensioners. They are force behind the “goodbye boomer” attitudes. They are the ones who have pushed the idea, against data, that “only” the elderly and sick will die (even in horrific numbers). They didn’t realise there was still some decency out there and that it wasn’t that actually specific. They have now moved to the next stage of nudge. But we have lost allowed the dithering to allod the virus out into society. That will still have some effect on reducing the useless eaters.
      They haven’t gone away. Until we get rid of the Tories they will be at the heart of darkness in the UK.

  4. Current death rate in Italy 3-5% of those infected Target UK 60% of population to be infected(lowest estimated amount) to achieve herd immunisation
    60million population in UK.
    30+million infected x 3%= actual estimated deaths.

  5. Latest figures from Italy 40,000 infected circa 3000 deaths hope my maths is wrong 7.5%. I hoped this isn’t mirrored in other areas.

    1. SM where are you getting those figures from , source please ,

      latest WHO Sit Rep as of 17th shows
      European Region
      Italy
      27980 total confirmed cases
      3233 new confirmed cases
      2503 total deaths
      349 new deaths as of 17.3.20

  6. BBC World News
    The number of people dying from coronavirus in Italy has risen by 475 in one day to nearly 3,000 – the biggest increase since the outbreak.
    There are a total of 35,713 confirmed cases in the country, with more than 4,000 having successfully recovered. One hour ago updated.

  7. Folk need to get their heads around a simple fact, the NHS does not have the capacity to deal with covid 19
    Government policy is to ration the number who end up in hospital,
    Closing schools increases the risks to grandparents which then puts pressure on key staff to take time off,
    In reality your on your own, but equally the mortality rate is 1%
    It will pass then you can do the post mortems

    1. A bit of sense.

      We can debate how much NHS capacity is affected by previous cut-backs – but the fact is that no health service could operate without this policy of trying to spread the load in the current circumstances.

      There is a tendency to think that China has it all licked. What is forgotten is that they have achieved this current situation after being 4 months ahead, and since they made the mistake of trying initially to suppress recognition of the situation.

      I was in hospital yesterday, and what I saw was actually a measured attempt to prepare for what no staff had any illusions about. Part of the plan certainly wasn’t a someone with a couple of stripes running around shouting :

      “Don’t Panic!”

    2. The sheer scale of the now imminent likely coronavirus maximum death rate period (probably from May to July) , in the UK, the government having utterly failed to introduce seven weeks ago the necessary mass-scale ‘test and isolate’ programme, is terrifyingly illustrated by this excerpt from an article on the utter failure of the government to react at all to its own 2016 flue pandemic large scale exercise , in the New Statesman:

      ‘Britain now faces a grave shortage of the machines that will keep critical patients alive. By combining government statements with publicly available documents, that shortage can be estimated. The government expects between 60 and 80 per cent of the population to contract coronavirus, or between 40 and 53 million people. Assumptions laid out in 2018 by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, or SPI-M – a working group of 10 academic teams – predict that 4 per cent of cases will require hospitalisation; this is in line with estimates for Covid-19, the disease that is caused by the virus Sars-Cov-2, both commonly referred to as coronavirus.
      SPI-M’s modelling also assumes that a quarter of those hospitalised will need a ventilator; this, too, aligns with the World Health Organisation’s findings on coronavirus in China, and may even be an under-estimate. In short, at least 1 per cent of all cases can be expected to need ventilation, or between 400,000 and 530,000 people. Modelling released on March 16 by a team at Imperial College, which has informed government planning, suggests a 1.3 per cent rate. That rate has risen after new data from Italy.
      The government has said that it expects 95 per cent of all cases to occur over a nine-week period, with 50 per cent coming during a three-week peak. This reflects modelling by SPI-M in 2018, available online, and the course of the 1957 influenza pandemic in the UK. This means that during the peak, which is expected to arrive in Britain in late May or June, 15 to 20 per cent of all coronavirus cases will hit the NHS every week for three weeks. Assuming only a 1 per cent rate, rather than the higher rate in Imperial’s latest modelling, the number of patients needing a ventilator would therefore range from 60,000 per week to more than 100,000.
      The United Kingdom has 5,000 ventilators. Many are sure to already be in use, as ventilators are deployed with intensive care beds, and Britain’s intensive care beds run at 70 to 80 per cent capacity most months. Each ventilator will typically be required for at least ten days, making the gap between demand and supply more acute ‘

      As can be seen, the 5,000 to possibly 12,000 ventilators the NHS may have is going to be totally irrelevant when the infected and seriously ill cohort numbers start to peak. We would need hundreds of thousands of both ventilators AND skilled staff. So unfortunately we will be quite likely back to 1918 flue pandemic-style ‘survival of only the fittest, and deaths in the hundreds of thousands, and an NHS staff shattered physically and mentally by the crisis. No wonder the government are currently being evasive and dishonest about the lack of ventilators. We can simply forget ventilators being available at all in meaningful numbers, or the understaffed NHS being able to cope in any small way. The Tory government will know from their experts by now by now that their failure to act early enough has meant that in two months or so we will very likely be filling large communal plague pits with tens of thousands of the corpses of our older citizens who, as in Italy, our crematoria simply cannot handle, A return to the London in particular of the Middle Ages in the periodic Plague Years. The consequence of having an incompetent neoliberal government of corrupt, incompetent, spivs, (and their collaborators of the Blairite Labour Right) finally coming home to roost.

  8. Novel virus too many variables to determine mortality rate but government estimates are on the lower range but will only increase if we don’t make the right changes to our behaviours choices.
    Tangential thinking “That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”
    Noam Chomsky,

  9. RH, if you’d switched a little less suddenly and a little more subtly from “Broad Church Voice of Reason” to “Skwawkbox is Fake News” you’d have looked a little less like a tired old tart with a new pimp.
    Fresh orders from the war criminal?

    1. That’s unusually incoherent for you, David. You seem to have been infected by the main virus carried by Skwawkbox.

      Think about it – no ‘switch’ entailed – the application of reason is what highlights the criticism of Skwawkbox and its predetermined line of non-analysis. For a quick example – look at the sloppy under-researched ‘wonder drug’ post.

      The situation is actually bad enough without social media distortions of facts and motives. OK – if you want group therapy for the hysterical – that’s fine, but it ain’t insight. Or socialism. It’s repetition of a pre-formulated line.

      Christ! Many here don’t even read the post in front of them without wild imaginings and distortions, let alone grasp anything useful about the issues around of this epidemic and its amelioration.

      One thing for certain – endlessly repeating the same drumbeat about the venality of the Spivs isn’t going to protect or cure anybody.

      Sometimes a crisis brings out enhanced awareness, but frankly – and sadly – Skwawkbox has now become a parody of self-isolation, just into chucking stones when the party line is contradicted – and with little relevance to anything serious.

      Now back to reality ….

      1. … and just to be more positive about the alternative possibilities (to repetitive slagging) that there are – the Groan has an article that suggests what the real left should be discussing – apart from the obvious current civil rights issues :

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/18/boris-johnson-covid-19-response

        The economic implications are immense in terms of the alternative to simplistic market solutions that are now being forced.

  10. CNN reports that :
    Corona virus in Italy and France 29,% of those in age group 20-54 age group.
    In USA nearly half of people in ICU are under 54.
    52% Corona cases of those infected are under 54.

  11. Bring that the strategy of isolating/containing this virus has now passed ,other than any medical breakthrough, the only option forward is herd immunity .It is how this strategy this employed and implemented that is the contentious issue rapid(Laissez Faire) or introducing controls .
    China or UK.

  12. Even if one ignores the morality, complete lockdown serviced by those without dependants is the utilitarian solution in that it causes the quickest end to the emergency with the fewest deaths, fewest orphans and fewest bereaved parents. Parents should be home with their children for the duration.
    Having no dependants myself it’s obvious.
    Grandparents don’t actually have dependants, just heirs.
    Surely grandparents, given the choice, would choose that their children and grandchildren should survive them?
    If required to drive food or other essential deliveries, or any other work of which I’m capable, I’d jump at the chance to be useful again in a good cause.
    The older generation contains the skills within it to keep the country running.
    We have that experience after all.

  13. Fearful Walsh BBC just stated that getting Covid 19 would give immunity for perhaps a year.This is a novel virus we are still learning about it. In China and Japan have had possible reinfection or the original infection had not past. They don’t know!! Time will tell us.There will be many waves/outbreaks in the future before Herd immunity is achieved and that figure is unknown time will tell.Please people go to other sources than the BBC – CNN and Euronews much broader view and believable.

  14. Boris’ always wanted to be King of the World, he’s the manifestation of a modern day KING CANUTE!

Leave a Reply to rob Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: