As an Englishman living in Spain and working on a radio station I think I’ve got a fairly good idea of how the pandemic has been managed both in the UK and Spain. Let’s face it there hasn’t been many countries Worldwide that have come out of this well. Some did well through the first wave but are suffering now and likewise others who struggled early on are now doing better. Unfortunately both here and UK it looks like it’s been bad news all the way.
On the 25th of April, you may remember I wrote a blog “Has it all been worth it?” At that point I just felt there was an over reaction and too much was being concentrated on this, leaving everything else to collapse. To be honest my view hasn’t changed. I’ve been wanting to write this follow up for weeks but I think now is the time.
Now I do realise there is a pandemic out there and we should do everything we can to protect people as much as possible. But I said it last time, I think we’ve gone too far. Age is the single most important factor predicting when coronavirus kills. Older people are more likely to die in general, and that effect is stronger with coronavirus: out of every 100 people who die, 88 are over 65. Only two out of every 100 people who die, are under 50
My deepest sympathies lie with anybody that has lost a family member or friend, it’s awful but if you want cold hard facts here then one day we will all pass away. Whether it’s from this virus, cancer, a road accident or thousands of other illnesses that are still killing just as many people on a daily basis. But you’re not hearing about that because the media has a total fixation with this pandemic. None of those other illnesses have gone away and in some cases they’re not being treated. Now I realise that’s not the case in all areas as I had comments from medical people last time. But it is fact that there are operations being cancelled or diagnosis of a problem is not happening because of the virus. 4.2 million people are waiting for NHs treatment with around half having waited longer than 18 weeks, this is three times as many as a year ago. GP’s made more than 30,000 fewer urgent referrals for cancer check ups in August compared with last year, while the number of patients waiting more than 13 weeks for a key diagnostic test in August was 239,920, which is 40 times more than last year.
That’s just a couple known facts and there are many others, so why couldn’t the Nightingale hospitals in the UK have been kept open to deal with the latest wave? Freeing up the beds for patients with other illnesses?
Oh yes the mothballing of Britain’s Nightingale hospitals, remember those? Some of which never treated a single covid-19 patient. It raised questions at the time about whether resources (estimated at £220 million) to fight the pandemic were disproportionately focused on building intensive care capacity. When it was clearly not needed.
Five emergency hospitals, with the capacity to treat almost 10 000 covid-19 cases, were opened at sites across the country for fear the NHS might be overwhelmed following scenes of northern Italian intensive care units swamped with seriously ill patients.
But such high demand for intensive care never materialised. Just 51 patients were treated at the 4000 bed medical facility situated in the refurbished Excel Centre in London’s Docklands. The others in Birmingham, Harrogate, Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle and Exeter had just a handful of admissions.
I did see that Exeter was used for cancer screenings and Harrogate as a Radiology outpatient clinic in June and July. But why did this not carry on and why didn’t they extend it to the others?
Here in Spain, or more specifically the Balearic Islands, why were we all locked down when the major problems were in Madrid and Cataluña? That basically led to the islands such as ourselves to have the worst summer season on record. Since this all began in March the Balearic Islands with a population of 1.2 million has had 320 deaths. That’s 0.026% of deaths across the islands. As Islands, 85% of our GDP relies on tourism and you can imagine what that’s done to our number one industry. As we hit a second wave, Madrid is going into lockdown again but the majority of the rest of the country is not. Unfortunately that’s going to be too late for a lot of people.
Ask yourself this;
Do you know someone who’s died from the virus?
Do you know someone who’s been very ill with the virus?
Do you know someone who hasn’t had the virus?
If the number in your answer to the last question is greater than the other two questions then you have to ask why were we locked down?
Let’s take this a little further.
Do you know someone who has died in the last 7 months with something that wasn’t the virus?
Do you know someone who’s been furloughed because of the virus?
Do you know someone who’s suffering financially because of the virus?
Do you know someone who’s lost their job because of the virus?
Do you know someone who’s lost their house because of the virus?
Do you know someone who’s lost their business because of the virus?
Do you know someone who is suffering mentally because of the virus?
Do you know someone who has had their treatment of another disease delayed because of the virus?
I’m prepared to take a bet that the majority of people’s answers above are in greater numbers than the answers given in the first two questions about the virus itself.
So I’ll ask again why the lockdown?
The majority of you reading this live in a democracy. A democracy by definition is government through elected representatives. It is a form of society which favours equal rights, freedom of speech and a fair trial and tolerates the views of minorities. A healthy civil society requires responsible and active citizens who value the system of government and work towards a shared vision of civil life. At the moment I don’t know about you but i feel like we’re living under military rule. I’m not by any means advocating anarchy but I do sense a feeling that many more people are getting fed up with this.
Am I an expert? No, but it seems even the experts don’t know what they’re talking about at times. How many u-turns have there been since all this began? Am I right? Maybe yes, maybe no, but what I do have is a measured opinion that we are all entitled to and I know what I would rather do.
This virus is going nowhere. Even with a vaccine it won’t disappear, flu hasn’t so why should Covid? Let’s safeguard the vulnerable get on with our lives and follow consistent and sensible rules and ensure that the health care system is not overloaded. Anything else is a panic policy of fear of the unknown which achieves nothing.
Wash your hands, cover your face and keep the space.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org