Socialist Worker

Tories do nothing as Covid cases soar

Cases of the virus are rising sharply but the Tories still refuse to bring in restrictions, writes Sam Ord

Issue No. 2779

The return to schools has been a Covid disaster

The return to schools has been a Covid disaster (Pic: Number 10)


Over 5 million people have now died worldwide from Covid since the first death was recorded in Wuhan, China, 22 months ago.

That’s the official figure—the real one will be much higher.

In Britain Covid cases hit the appalling milestone of 9 million last week.

Overall, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 165,213 deaths have occurred in Britain where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

That’s one in 400 of the population.

An unsafe return to schools and universities coupled with the ongoing return to workplaces has fueled the rise.

Recently cases in Britain have fallen. Part of that is because English schools have been closed for half term.

But another surge will be likely to come as schools return.

Professor, Christina Pagel from the Independent Sage scientists’ group, said, “Cases do seem to have peaked —for now—in school age children, but not yet in adults.

NHS in deep crisis as Covid-19 cases allowed to spread unchecked
NHS in deep crisis as Covid-19 cases allowed to spread unchecked
  Read More

“However, prevalence in primary and secondary school children remains very high,” she added.

Over eight percent of children aged 11 to 15 are currently battling the infection.

Current

Pagel added, “Rising cases recently suggest that deaths will keep rising. I do not think the current level of deaths is acceptable.”

And the government’s official Sage scientists’ group says that the “very high prevalence in schools combined with partly-vaccinated 12 to 16-year-olds in a highly mixing population” makes a vaccine-resistant mutation of the virus more likely.

Sage also said England’s current R number—which indicates how many people someone with coronavirus will infect—could rise to 2.3 if people make a “complete return to pre-pandemic behaviour”.

But this is precisely what the government has encouraged since 17 July or “freedom day”.

The British Medical Association joined the NHS Confederation to demand that mask-wearing, compulsory vaccinations to enter crowded venues, and a return to working from home are immediately implemented.

The Tories are hellbent on refusing to introduce even the slightest safety measures.

A return to working from home is completely out of the question for them.

The government puts business and profit first and people’s safety last. This week it removed all “red list” countries from the banned travel list.

The Tories pin all hope on ­offering Covid booster jabs at NHS walk-in vaccination centres.

But with an incredibly high covid rate, death rate and lagging vaccination rate, the vaccine alone can’t be the sole solution.

There is also the chance that global vaccine inequality will result in a vaccine resistant, mutated virus strain.

Trade unions, students and ­workers must stand up to the disastrous Tory rule and fight for safety and control of their workplaces.


Ambulance queues and shortages are result of Tory cuts to the NHS

NHS managers warn that patients are being put at “catastrophic risk” due to ambulance delays.

For the first time ever, West Midlands Ambulance Service raised its delay-risk rating to its highest level.

Paramedics claim that patient harm is “certain” as patients wait in ambulances outside hospitals until there’s enough staff and hospital beds to care for them.

These ambulance queues have resulted in a huge cut to the number of available ambulances.

Hospital management teams in Staffordshire and the Black Country have asked people to seek alternative NHS services as a result.

Over 5,700 ambulances were forced to wait over 60 minutes to drop off patients in September across the Midlands.

A patient in Cambridge died from cardiac arrest last week while waiting five hours in an ambulance for space in A&E.

And a cancer patient in Shropshire, west Midlands suffering from breathing difficulties died after an eight hour wait for an ambulance.

In September a total of 1,375 hours were lost by crews waiting outside the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Over 750 hours were lost while waiting outside the neighbouring Princess Royal hospital in Telford.

Waiting times contributed to an excess of 16,000 lifesaving hours lost across the West Midlands ambulance service that month.

NHS bosses are predicting for the worst to still come as winter and a severe lack of funding and staff pushes the health service to the brink.

Deployed

Mark Docherty, director of nursing and clinical commissioning said that additional front-line resources had been deployed to prepare for the future and to get patients handed over quickly.

He added, “Despite everything we are doing by way of mitigation, we know that patients are coming to harm as a result of delays.

“We know that there are patients that are having significant harm. And indeed, through our review of learning from deaths, we know that sadly some patients are dying before we get to them.”

He added, “If we follow the trajectory that winter normally follows it’s only going to get worse.

“And we will lose so many hours in December, January and February that it’s difficult to see how we will be able to respond to some patients in a time frame that’s acceptable.”

The West Midlands ambulance service and other ambulance trusts across Britain have seen record numbers of emergency 999 calls.

Today’s issues in the NHS aren’t a result of lazy workers or natural delays.

The Tories have cut and privatised sections of the health service with profit, not efficiency in mind.

With Covid cases rising, a drastic change in NHS infrastructure and more beds and staff are desperately needed to avert an even bigger crisis.


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