SARS CoV-2 coronavirus / Covid-19 (No tin foil hat silliness please)

sammsky1

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Inside No 10 everyone is at war over coronavirus
While the prime minister is upstairs with a fever, ministers, civil servants and the NHS are playing the blame game
Tim Shipman, Political Editor, Sunday Times

Construction work at the Nightingale Hospital, the jewel in the crown of the government’s faltering response to the coronavirus pandemic, was nearly brought to a juddering halt on Thursday morning. It was a Whitehall farce that lays bare the chaos and confusion that has gripped the government.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC), a joint industry and government body, had issued guidance on social distancing at building sites. Unless workers could remain at least 6ft apart, it said, “work should not be carried out”. Building firms deluged the council — and at least one cabinet minister — with warnings that they would have to down tools at every construction site in the country, “up to and including the Nightingale”. The guidance was swiftly reversed.

According to the department of business, the confusion was the result of a disagreement within the CLC. But Nadhim Zahawi, the construction minister, and senior figures in the Cabinet Office were involved in resolving the issue. “They were ordered to reverse it,” said one industry insider. “It was a total shambles and BEIS [the business department] should have a better grip on things.”

The suspension of work at the new field hospital at the ExCeL centre in London’s Docklands would have been a blow to the government. Its credibility is already reeling from the worst headlines of Boris Johnson’s premiership over the failure to provide virus tests for NHS staff or to give them the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). As one political adviser said in despair on Thursday: “There is a total absence of policy or a plan.”

For three days the situation had been made worse by a string of defensive performances by cabinet ministers, including the business secretary, Alok Sharma (described by one Tory aide as “a batsman with no scoring shots”); the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick (dubbed “Robert Generic” by unkind colleagues); the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab (“Britain’s Dan Quayle”, according to one Dutch commentator); and Michael Gove, minister for the Cabinet Office.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, back from a week of self-isolating, helped to steady the ship with a composed performance at the No 10 press conference on Thursday afternoon. He outlined a five-point plan to raise the number of tests to 100,000 a week this month.

But his turn attracted anger from cabinet colleagues and No 10, where aides said the health secretary had given too little credit to the officials who worked flat-out on the plan in his absence. “There is not much love for Matt Handjob here,” said one No 10 official.

A Whitehall official said: “We are supposed to be saving the lives of the coronavirus victims but in government everyone is trying to kill everyone else.”

Downing Street is irritated by Hancock’s grandstanding and failure to fulfil public promises; the department of health, in turn, is furious with both NHS England and Public Health England for frontline failures; Hancock is also at odds with Gove, whose department has angered the Treasury by interfering in plans for the labour market; the Cabinet Office is accused of meddling by the business department.

Ministers and their political aides are in a stand-off with Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, over civil service preparedness for the crisis. And looming on the horizon is a philosophical disagreement between Treasury and health ministers over how and when to lift the lockdown. All are watching their backs in anticipation of a public inquiry into their efforts to keep the nation safe.

The most serious rift is between the health establishment and the politicians, who cannot order NHS bosses to do anything since the Lansley reforms gave the health service operational independence nearly a decade ago. Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, was labelled “a megalomaniac, micromanaging control freak” by one senior figure this weekend. He is blamed for failing to get a grip on the PPE supply, for refusing to let private labs take on testing work (a decision reversed last week) and for a system that has repeatedly given incorrect and overly optimistic information on progress to ministers.

A health department source said: “NHS England and Public Health England were reluctant to relinquish their power to private labs. Stevens has this absolutely illogical fear of anyone else getting any say over what happens in the NHS.”

The PPE had been “out of date in the warehouse”, the source added. “It should have been checked and updated as part of the resilience planning. We were being contacted by manufacturers saying, ‘I can make tests. I can make PPE.’ That all went into the machine, but the machine is not ours; it belongs to Public Health England and NHS England.”

Sedwill and other mandarins, meanwhile, are in the line of fire for the speed of their response. “The civil service doesn’t like doing things it doesn’t normally do,” a political aide said. “They deliver at pace in the structures that they have pre-prepared. They are not good at trying to do things differently.”

Distrust over the ability of civil servants to move quickly has led the health department to hire about 75 project management staff from the “big five” public affairs firms, including Deloitte, to deliver the testing regime and expand hospital capacity.

Sedwill has been criticised for trying to push through rules that would have made every special adviser fill in a form before leaving home — seen as an attempt to freeze them out of decision-making.

But the buck stops with ministers. “If officials are failing, it is the job of ministers to get a grip and squeeze the system so it works,” said one Whitehall official.

According to his colleagues, Hancock is an optimist and has been too ready to believe reassurances from the NHS. “Matt has seen the coronavirus as his stage and his leadership opportunity. He has overpromised and been unable to deliver,” one of them said. Another said that if he failed to deliver on the pledge of 100,000 tests, “he should resign”.

Hancock has clashed repeatedly with Gove, who is said to have “humiliated” him in a cabinet committee discussion on ventilators. “Michael knew the detail and Matt didn’t,” a source said.

Gove’s Cabinet Office officials annoyed the Treasury on Wednesday when they sent over, unprompted, a plan for outsourcing groups such as Capita and Mitie to set up a website where any company furloughing staff could advertise their skills to other firms that might take them on. The plan was killed by Tim Leunig, a senior adviser to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, but other officials had called it “unnecessary”, Treasury sources said.

Leunig is accused of taking an “ideological approach” to reforms, which meant that businesses had to be rejected for a commercial loan before receiving a government-backed one. Sunak reversed that last week when it became clear that the banks were not lending. “Leunig is a menace,” said one Tory.

Treasury ministers are privately becoming vocal about the economic and health dangers of a long lockdown, placing them on a collision course with Hancock’s team. It could take weeks before scientists know whether having had the virus will give people longstanding immunity, allowing them to be issued a certificate or armband so they can get back to work.

“Ministers are being told that social distancing will need to continue until at least September,” said one Whitehall official. But a Treasury source said: “There are economic implications to a long lockdown, but there are also mental health effects. We also need to consider the health implications of delaying screening and treatment for other conditions like cancer. A deep recession would also cause health impacts.”

With unemployment expected to run into the millions, the business department is fearful of even larger job losses next year. A source familiar with the discussions said: “The period from October 2020 to June 2021 could be a bonfire of jobs. The shops will reopen and government support will be tapered away. Those shops will just hit the wall. This time next year you are looking at a 30% reduction in the service industry. A lot of people will get back on their bike and the bike will just fall over.”

Ministers who are not in the eye of the storm are becoming irritable that their work must remain on hold during the crisis. Participants at one meeting, chaired by Raab, supposedly about repatriating the one million Britons stranded abroad, were bemused when nearly 30 of the 90 minutes was taken up by Liz Truss talking about trade.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, has been holding conference calls with police chiefs and the heads of the intelligence agencies. But the one attempt by the Home Office to make waves was a briefing that Patel wanted the borders closed to flights from virus hotspots.

Ultimately the big decisions will rest with Johnson and his depleted team in Downing Street. Three of his communications staff members were working from home last week, at least one of them with symptoms of the coronavirus. Johnson himself has been in isolation all week, his health worse than anyone in government has admitted. “He is coughing and spluttering through these video calls,” said one participant. “He looks dreadful.”

No 10 finally admitted on Friday that the prime minister was running a persistent high temperature, as it explained why he would not be leaving isolation after seven days as planned.

Last week, despite buoyant public poll numbers, MPs have begun to voice concerns about his performance. “When the shit hits the fan we have been told that this guy is Churchill,” a senior backbencher said. “Now would be a good time to start to look like it.”

Johnson has already taken one big decision this week, agreeing to the release of 4,000 prisoners considered low-risk or who are near the end of their sentences. That was a move that left both Patel and Robert Buckland, the lord chancellor, “uncomfortable”.

The decisions the prime minister must take next will be more than uncomfortable. “Decisions and mistakes always have a cost,” said one adviser. “In this case the cost is human lives.”
 
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CassiusClaymore

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YOUR diet hasn’t improved. Mine has. My neighbours has. My colleagues diets have. I’m not in contact with a single person who’s eating worse.

Also : Why the Fcuk are people ordering takeaways?!? They cost a fortune and you’re inviting contamination risk into your life.

Closing Gyms hasn’t made getting fit harder. It’s shut down an avenue that many took. You can get just as fit in 1-2 square metres at home as you can in a gym. People just need to be more inventive.
Tbh if you were a slob before this isn't going to change you and if you were a fitness freak before then like you said those people will be more inventive. It's a mentality thing.

Fewer work stresses seems a bit glib though. I wager there are far more people stressed about not having any work and wondering how they are going to stay afloat than those thinking "well this is nice to be out the office."
 

sglowrider

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Depends on how good your test is, right? If it relies on a high concentration on antibodies being present then yes. If it's still capable of detecting lower concentrations, then you're fine.

But once you do have the antibodies, you don't necessarily need to worry about your immunity at least for the short-medium future. Your immune system is quite efficient.
Thats the million dollar question right know.

Nobody seems to be able to assess whats a good test kit or a highly inaccurate one other than to depend on the level of spread in the community.
 

do.ob

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Its just the political rights playbook, they muddy the water calling everything partisan and their voters fall for it. It's been the same in the UK with Brexit.

Not sure i like the gotcha calling out of individuals like this though. Arguably it serves a purpose to convince others but it feels very callous
I think it's even more than playing the partisanship card. They attack truth and facts as a concept. Just blasting people with an endless stream of supposed conspiracies, falsehoods and bullshit. At some point people can't filter it anymore, their critical thinking gets overloaded.
 

sglowrider

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It comes down to testing I think (which is what SK showed months ago). The more you can test, the more informed decision making you can make.

A friend of mine just got tested in Germany a few days ago. Turns out one of her colleagues had it, and someone just turned up at her door to test her. She didn't even know.

Edit: funnily enough she was complaining they didn't swab her throat. They just got her to swab her cheers and her nose.
That's the value of contact tracing. The key is to keep the numbers small in order to ensure that patient care isn't compromised. Thus, test, trace, map and then isolate.
 

Dante

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YOUR diet hasn’t improved. Mine has. My neighbours has. My colleagues diets have. I’m not in contact with a single person who’s eating worse.

Also : Why the Fcuk are people ordering takeaways?!? They cost a fortune and you’re inviting contamination risk into your life.

Closing Gyms hasn’t made getting fit harder. It’s shut down an avenue that many took. You can get just as fit in 1-2 square metres at home as you can in a gym. People just need to be more inventive.
YOU'RE out of touch with the average person.
 

Fosu-Mens

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There's no way the average diet has improved. Lots of people are ordering takeaways and buying processed foods that can last them for a few weeks. It's a lot harder to eat fresh foods on a daily basis than it used to be.

And in terms of exercise, closing the gyms has made getting fit a lot harder. Speaking personally, I normally walk to work everyday. Since the lockdown, I'm also losing out on several miles per day.
Difference between processed food and canned food. Also, frozen vegetables are as healthy, if not more compared to fresh vegetables. They are also cheaper on average. Eating fresh food is not the same as eating healthy, and frozen food have the same amount of nutrients as fresh food (Vitamin B and C might be lower).

Regarding exercise, the main difference would be if you are allowed to go outside for a run or not. Strength training can be done easily with your own weight.

Unless you don't have a freezer, your local store is empty of certain goods etc there is no reason for eating unhealthy.
 

Foxbatt

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Hancock is an idiot. He even walked out of a meeting with the Royal Society of Physicians because a junior doctor dare question him.
All politicians are in it for themselves and hoping old Boris cops it so they can become the PM instead of the PM.
They are all Iznogouds.
 

Pagh Wraith

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He sounds like he's in touch with a lot of very affluent and like-minded people, right?
After pointing out how expensive take-aways and deliveries are? Don't think so.

You would hope people use the situation to adopt a healthier lifestyle, learn to cook or just EAT LESS. Would be interesting to see some data on this down the line.
 

Dante

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Difference between processed food and canned food. Also, frozen vegetables are as healthy, if not more compared to fresh vegetables. They are also cheaper on average. Eating fresh food is not the same as eating healthy, and frozen food have the same amount of nutrients as fresh food (Vitamin B and C might be lower).

Regarding exercise, the main difference would be if you are allowed to go outside for a run or not. Strength training can be done easily with your own weight.

Unless you don't have a freezer, your local store is empty of certain goods etc there is no reason for eating unhealthy.
These things were true before lockdown.

The point is that there are now fewer options to eat healthily and get fit. All it takes for somebody go off the rails is to lose access to the something they'd otherwise rely on.

If you want an idea of what people are eating right now, just look at which shelves are empty at the supermarkets. Hint: it's anything that contains preservatives and a shit-ton of calories.

If people are taking to opportunity to turn their lives around, then good for them. But that's a lot harder to do when they're locked up for 6 and a half days per week. Which is why the average person isn't.
 

christy87

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These things were true before lockdown.

The point is that there are now fewer options to eat healthily and get fit. All it takes for somebody go off the rails is to lose access to the something they'd otherwise rely on.

If you want an idea of what people are eating right now, just look at which shelves are empty at the supermarkets. Hint: it's anything that contains preservatives and a shit-ton of calories.

If people are taking to opportunity to turn their lives around, then good for them. But that's a lot harder to do when they're locked up for 6 and a half days per week. Which is why the average person isn't.
That's not even mentioning how much alcohol people are drinking, as for stresses I'd prefer to be at work, having to deal with my family is tiring.
 

Pogue Mahone

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YOUR diet hasn’t improved. Mine has. My neighbours has. My colleagues diets have. I’m not in contact with a single person who’s eating worse.

Also : Why the Fcuk are people ordering takeaways?!? They cost a fortune and you’re inviting contamination risk into your life.

Closing Gyms hasn’t made getting fit harder. It’s shut down an avenue that many took. You can get just as fit in 1-2 square metres at home as you can in a gym. People just need to be more inventive.
Since when does shutting down avenues not make it harder to do something?! Just because there are workarounds doesn’t change the fact that closing gyms has made it more difficult to get/stay fit.

And that’s without even getting into the end of organised sport. No football means my son (who has zero fecking interest in going jogging, because jogging is dull as feck) will likely lose a lot of his cardio fitness and no climbing gyms, or access to outdoor boulders, means I’m rapidly getting out of shape too (because doing loads of pull-ups and finger-boarding is dull as feck too) When exercise becomes more difficult/boring to do, a lot of people will become less fit. That’s an inescapable fact.
 

Fosu-Mens

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These things were true before lockdown.

The point is that there are now fewer options to eat healthily and get fit. All it takes for somebody go off the rails is to lose access to the something they'd otherwise rely on.

If you want an idea of what people are eating right now, just look at which shelves are empty at the supermarkets. Hint: it's anything that contains preservatives and a shit-ton of calories.

If people are taking to opportunity to turn their lives around, then good for them. But that's a lot harder to do when they're locked up for 6 and a half days per week. Which is why the average person isn't.
If they are buying and eating unhealthy food, then it is difficult to stay healthy without an increase in exercise. Buy healthy food though, given that it is still in stock.

I agree with you that people will have difficulties to adjust to their isolated current way of life, and that their healthy habits might be disrupted or harder to keep in general. And that this is likely a big factor as for why they are buying more "comfort food". Just saying that it is not impossible to eat healthily.
 

Mr Pigeon

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Never said he was prefect but lets look at the figures on the ground shall we, lets start with umemployment, lets add to that pulling out troops from hotspots around the world that the lefties agenda started, lets talk about moving American manufacturing all over the world while depriving people in the heartland of good honest jobs. The list goes on. Hell but the lefty media thinks all Trump supporters feck their sisters :) The Irony on calling names is lost on some.
Billy Blaggs called and he wants you to return whatever is left of the coke and Toilet Duck supplies that you've been snorting.

No, wait, Wumminator called and he wants his wumming machine back. Yeah, that one was better. I'll stick with that one.

This isolation is really bringing the rats out in my area. Wee rat kids who have now resorted to breaking into people's gardens to play on their trampolines because their junkie parents want them out of the house. Some guy came along and fly tipped a bunch of trash down our street in front of a playground in broad daylight and hurled abuse at someone who came out to chastise them about it. Lovely bunch of people.
 

Ady87

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Another drop, 432 I think in England, Scotland and Wales, but I believe we saw the same downturn last weekend before another spike due to admin shortages over the weekend period.
 

Brownie85

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Is there any reason as to why the deaths in the UK seem to drop over the weekend then surge again come Tuesday?
Is it down to weekend reporting or is there another reason. I've seen this happen last weekend, and this weekend too.
 

onemanarmy

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Is there any reason as to why the deaths in the UK seem to drop over the weekend then surge again come Tuesday?
Is it down to weekend reporting or is there another reason. I've seen this happen last weekend, and this weekend too.
Lack of reporting in the weekend. Same happens all around Europe.
 

Brownie85

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Lack of reporting in the weekend. Same happens all around Europe.
So i'm guessing the huge spikes seen on Tuesday include all those that weren't recorded over the weekend?
Kinda gives false hope when you see the numbers dropping :( I'm guessing when we see numbers consistently drop during the week, thats when we can start to feel a little more optimistic?
 

Smores

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Personally I've experienced me and my friends being healthier if anything through all this.

I think people are confusing being annoyed with their own circumstance and not being able to do what they usually like with wider populace.

Honestly if you can't cook healthy food and fit in a workout whilst working from home permanently then when can you. Also I'm sure I'm not in the only neighboured which has seen a huge spike in people walking around.
 

JMack1234

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Personally I've experienced me and my friends being healthier if anything through all this.

I think people are confusing being annoyed with their own circumstance and not being able to do what they usually like with wider populace.

Honestly if you can't cook healthy food and fit in a workout whilst working from home permanently then when can you. Also I'm sure I'm not in the only neighboured which has seen a huge spike in people walking around.
It's about being annoyed about not being able to do what they usually like.

Read the news today. Calls to a Domestic Abuse helpline have risen 25% since the lockdown started. A lockdown is a crude weapon which maybe necessary, still has absolutely catastrophic economic and social consequences.
 

golden_blunder

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It’s definitely not. If nothing else, this situation has gifted people time they never had.

If that time is spent preparing lower calorie nutritious food, with 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise or Calisthenics, added to more sleep, that’s a formula for health.

I’m not even remotely suggesting the situation is a net positive in all metrics of life. But anyone complaining about it being physically unhealthy is short sighted.
Don’t agree
First of all, not everyone can get out to shops on a regular basis to get fresh ingredients. I’d say a higher % of people are eating tinned processed foods, frozen foods and pasta.
Secondly, many people fit their exercise in on the way to work - walking for the bus, popping into the gym etc
Thirdly not everyone has access to a safe space to jog, do yoga or whatever

I have lost weight simply because my portions have been much smaller due to us rationing what we have in the house to eat in between food deliveries. We have a medium sized garden which is dominated by a 12ft trampoline for the kids.

so yes we may have more time; though mine is taken up by trying to homeschool kids whilst my wife works.
 

Organic Potatoes

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Imagine thinking being locked down during a pandemic with limited access to food would lead to less stress and better health for the average person.
 

UnrelatedPsuedo

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I’m ordering a lot of takeaways. Maybe not a lot but 3-4 times a week. It’s partly because I’m used to eating out and partly because I want to support businesses that are struggling currently. I don’t think contamination risk is really above average for takeaway orders either compared to what my other regular activities like grocery shopping or walking a dog.
You’re making different points.

I pushed back against someone suggesting diets were bad as they were getting takeaways. As if that’s not busted logic.

If you want to eat takeaways, cool. Make your own choices. But it’s not even vaguely sensible for someone to say diets are worse as people have to eat takeaways.
 

Foxbatt

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My brother in law's who is a senior NHS Consultant at a hospital has his colleague down with positive test. They work extremely closely. I spoke with him last night. He seems to be resigned to his fate. It's scary and so sad. I don't want to lose him. They can't test unless they get strong symptoms. My brother in law has not been tested yet because up to now no symptoms.