Socialist Worker

More die at home from other illnesses due to virus crisis

Issue No. 2704

dfgdf

Fear of contracting Covid-19 is putting people off from going to hospital (Pic: PA)


More than 8,000 more people have died at home since the start of the coronavirus crisis than would have done in normal times.

And 80 percent died of conditions unrelated to the virus according to their death certificates, a Guardian newspaper study found.

Fear of contracting Covid-19 may be putting some people off going to hospital.

The figures showed 8,196 more deaths at home in England, Wales and Scotland compared with the five-year average for this time of year.

Statistician Jason Oke said people could be “dying of other causes that would not have happened under normal conditions”. 

He said such deaths could be seen as “collateral damage of the lockdown”.

Chair of the British Medical Association Dr Chaand Nagpaul said, “These ­figures underline that the devastation wrought by Covid-19 spreads far beyond the immediate effects of the ­illness itself.”

He said that the NHS has shifted to focus on the virus. “More than half of doctors in a recent BMA survey told us this is worsening the care of non-Covid patients,” he said.

Nagpaul said visits to A&E have dropped by up to 50 percent. He said there has been a drop by half of patients attending hospitals with heart attacks.

“Many ill patients are not getting the care they so desperately need now,” he said. 

One report last week found around 11,600 excess deaths in the community in Italy during the pandemic. 

These included deaths from heart attacks and strokes.

Professor Andrew Goddard from the Royal College of Physicians said people who had heart attacks delayed seeking help “either because people don’t want to burden the health service or because of fear of catching Covid-19”.

In England and Wales, there were 23,583 deaths in people’s homes over the past seven weeks. 

The five-year average is 16,794.

And in Scotland, there were 3,453 deaths in homes and non-institutional settings in the seven weeks to 3 May. 

That compares with 2,046 in a typical year. 


“The award reflects outstanding performance over a five-year period during which £7.5 billion of value was created for Ocado shareholders. The remuneration committee is satisfied that Ocado’s pay schemes past and present, deliver above-market pay outs only for outstanding results.” Ocado chair Lord Rose explains why founder and chief executive Tim Steiner has been given a £54 million bonus.


Out of date NHS kit is latest Tory failing

Some four fifths of the respirators in Britain’s pandemic stockpile—20.9 million out of 26.3 million—were out of date when the coronavirus hit. 

Some 200 million items of PPE in the stockpile expired before January this year.

This included over half of all surgical face masks.

Hundreds of millions of PPE items expired throughout 2019. Stock lists on 30 January show around 200 million respirators, face masks, medical syringes and needles had expired eight months before.

And a significant number of respirators had their use-by date extended, sometimes twice. 

Some had initial expiry dates of 2012 that were changed to 2016, then again to 2019 or 2020.

The national inventory didn’t contain any gowns, despite recommendations that it should have.

Meanwhile the Tories ordered 400,000 medical gowns from Turkey that were quickly declared unsafe. 

They ordered the gowns from a firm that was just three months old. It produced T-shirts and tracksuits before shifting to making “high-grade medical wear”.

The order is thought to have cost £300,000.


Trevor Phillips’ software stereotypes

The involvement of Trevor Phillips’ consultancy to Public Health England’s inquiry into Covid-19’s impact on ethnic minorities was always a wrong idea. 

Phillips, the former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and Prof Richard Webber are partners in the company Webber Phillips.

Phillips was suspended from the Labour Party for Islamophobia. 

Webber Philips has developed software to identify whether different ethnic groups “specialise” in particular types of crime. The firm says its Origins programme— which identifies people’s ethnicity or religion on the basis of their names —helps to ensure police investigations are “not based on stereotyping but on hard evidence”. 

Troublemaker is certain that the dozen or so police forces that use Origins did so for hard evidence purposes. Certainly not to prop up their institutional racism. 


Prison labour replaces sacked staff

Prisoners are replacing refuse workers to pick up litter in New Orleans. 

The move follows a strike by dozens of refuse workers demanding proper safety equipment, hazard pay and sick pay.

The workers earn just $10.25 an hour. One strike organiser Gregory Woods said, “$10.25 to pick up trash—come on now. It’s contaminated with coronavirus.”

Workers were sacked after striking. Now prisoners employed by Metro Services are doing their jobs.

The city’s sanitation services said Metro Services “has long been an advocate of helping persons who had been incarcerated return to society in a meaningful and productive way”.

But not in a well-paid way—the prisoners will get just 13 percent of the wages of a refuse worker.

Woods said, “They are trying to use those dudes to do our job and paying them way less than they were paying us. 

“All of it is a hustle for them, a scam. They saving money—that’s all it is.”


Death is just a ‘way of life’ for Americans

Why not just get on with ending the lockdowns because people are going to die anyway? That’s the message from former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

He said last week that the US should reopen its economy because “there are going to be deaths no matter what”.

And what’s more, people should take heart from their lives being put at risk. “The American people have gone through significant death before,” said Christie. “We’ve gone through it in World War I, we’ve gone through it in World War II. We have gone through it and we’ve survived it. We sacrificed those lives.”

He added that sending soldiers to die in foreign wars was a “sacrifice” worth making “because we were standing up for the American way of life”.

“In the same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life,” he explained.


The US last week blocked a vote on a United Nations security council resolution backing a global ceasefire during the pandemic. The US claimed it wanted no references to the World Health Organisation in the resolution. One diplomat said, “It might be that someone very high up made a decision they don’t want it.”


The Things They Say

‘This is the beginning of an invasion’

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweets some anti-migrant racism

‘We are being humiliated’

Farage doesn’t like people coming to Britain via Dover

‘State of utter confusion’

Even TV presenter Phillip Schofield is annoyed at Johnson’s speech

‘Downing Street is now hostage to the health-and-safety mafia’

Sun political editor Trevor Kavanagh attacks Johnson’s plan to ease the lockdown

‘Opportunistic public sector unions’

Kavanagh says workers are to blame for Johnson’s alleged tame measures

‘Draconian social distancing’

What Kavanagh claims transport unions are insisting on

‘Ministers fear ‘The Blob’ is colluding to sabotage the reopening of schools’

A Daily Mail headline


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.