Socialist Worker

Tory freedom day disaster

As Covid cases continue to soar the Tories have decided to lift all restrictions and scientists are already ringing alarm bells writes Sam Ord

Issue No. 2764

Boris Johnson is making sure to put responsibility for controlling the virus on normal people

Boris Johnson is making sure to put responsibility for controlling the virus on normal people (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


At the start of this month, Boris Johnson warned that Covid-19 cases could rise to as many as 50,000 a day by 19 July. For once he was telling the truth—indeed he has over fulfilled his prediction.

Last Saturday some 54,674 new cases were recorded across Britain. It was the ­highest total for six months, ­equalling the appalling numbers in January that forced school closures.

Big business, the media and some trade unions are bemoaning the large number of people forced to isolate themselves when “pinged” by the NHS app for being near someone with Covid-19.

The Unite union claims the high number of self-isolating workers is on the “verge of shutting” factories across Britain.

But instead of blaming the disastrous Tory handling of the pandemic, Unite’s top brass fears self-isolation will result in industries moving to China.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “It is not an exaggeration to say factories are on the verge of shutting and that at some sites hundreds of staff are off work.

“One major engine supplier has said that so many people are absent and orders so far behind that work may to be permanently relocated to China.”

Ignores

The simple truth that Turner ignores is that there are a lot of pings because there are a lot of cases.

On present figures, which are set to worsen, there are 350,000 new cases in a week.

Simply put the root cause of economic and social disruption is transmission, not isolation.

The Tories’ “freedom day” on Monday dawned with the health secretary catching the virus and the chancellor and prime minister being forced to isolate themselves.

They tried to avoid this by claiming they were ­joining a “pilot programme”, but were forced to U-turn after an outcry.

Despite this the Covid-19 safety restrictions were abandoned anyway with ­thousands ­attending ­nightclubs midnight ­openings. Over 1,200 scientists and doctors have signed an open letter to The Lancet medical journal opposing the government’s plan for mass infection as a “dangerous and unethical experiment”.

They denounced the Tories’ strategy of “herd immunity by mass infection,” which will “place 48 percent of the population (children included) who are not yet fully vaccinated, including the clinically vulnerable and the immunosuppressed, at unacceptable risk.”

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty admitted that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus could reach “quite scary” levels within weeks.

Tory policies push over one million children of key workers into poverty
Tory policies push over one million children of key workers into poverty
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Cancer patients, disabled people and other clinically extremely vulnerable groups say they will feel unsafe stepping out of the house after hearing that mask and social distancing requirements are to be abandoned, charities have warned.

Campaigners estimate that 3.8 million people have been left feeling abandoned by the government’s shift towards promoting “personal responsibility” as the sole means of dealing with the surging Covid-19 infection rates.

In Britain, almost 38 ­percent of people who contract Covid-19 are still dealing with one or more symptoms 12 weeks later, according to the React study undertaken by London’s Imperial College.

Affected

Dr Toby Hillman, an expert on this issue, said most of those affected were aged in their 30s, 40s or 50s and ­previously fit.

This defies the stereotype that Covid-19 causes most problems for elderly patients with existing conditions.

Hillman said, “I think the degree of impairment that people are experiencing, with long Covid, you could compare with some of the impairment which people had with polio.

“We’re talking about a younger population. They’re teachers, they’re bus drivers.

“Many of them are really struggling to get back to work full time, or in some cases even struggling to get back to work at all.”

Scotland has now moved to level zero of Covid restrictions on Monday, meaning pubs and restaurants can open until midnight.

Most Covid rules in Wales are set to be scrapped from 7 August, but face coverings will still be required in most public places and on public transport.


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