Covid stories 23 – a vaccine & tiers of a clown

So will today be the turning point? The Pfizer vaccine is given the green light by the regulators. Perhaps the Moderna and Astra Zeneca ones will follow shortly. Certainly there was huge excitement if you believe the media and in a morning meeting, someone said their well-being was a 9 as the vaccine was on the horizon.

Perhaps in my usual nature, I am more circumspect. Not only does the Pfizer vaccine have massive logistical difficulties, it requires two doses, and then 4 weeks later, it is apparently effective. And then the record of the government rolling anything out remotely competently suggests it will be protracted, complicated and fraught with difficulties. I ‘hope’ the worst may be behind us by Easter but I don’t expect things to really change till the back end of summer.

In the meantime, there has been almighty squabbles going on in the HoC regarding the tiers system with over 50 Tories voting against their implementation (whilst Labour abstained, never really a good look). And yet the media seems preoccupied that when the tiers system comes back to the House for the next vote, it will be voted down.

It seems literally extraordinary that anyone can look that far forward with any degree of confidence. Lockdown 2.0 ended last night and this morning the queue of cars going into York was worse than I’ve seen since the inception of Lockdown 1.0. The infection rates are dropping a little but nowhere near enough and whilst the death rate lags behind new cases, 648 deaths today suggests Lockdown 2.0 has hardly been an unqualified success.

And so sadly another dose of pessimism. It seems inevitable that the infection rate will spike as we go towards Christmas and everyone rushes out to the shops, and even food eating pubs. And then to compound it all, a five day ‘free for all’ over Christmas will almost inevitable precede Lockdown 3.0 in January. So the idea we should all get too excited about the narrow differences in tiers seems faintly ridiculous. I still find it bizarre that so many commentators look at the economy and health as if they are very separate entities, they are intrinsically linked and the sooner we get on top of the infection rate for good, the more likely the economic health will recover.

But perhaps being cynical – as we move into Brexit – it suits a narrative to blame economic woes on the pandemic rather than ideological choices.

We shall see.

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Richard B

Richard B

Still love The Clash, inequality, class, social security, food, stigma. Trustee @ Welfare Benefits Unit. 5ker. West Ham till I die.