Like a virus, the spread of ideology relies on transmission among the community. Society is made up of various groups and has been since the dawn of time. We have a minority of thought leaders known as innovators and they are followed by Early Adopters.
Trumpism and Brexit, like Nazi Germany, have relied on the mass mobilisation of the majority. No amount of education, press influence or political opposition can stop the majority once they have got hold of an idea. It doesn’t matter whether than idea benefits them or not as it is safety in numbers.
Politicians use common enemies as an extra means of getting compliance. It seemed the Nazis required the most, discriminating against age, health, colour, religion and disability as well as political opponents, journalists, academics and scientists disproving their policies.
That type of totalitarian dictatorship still exists in some parts of the world. However, today dictatorships are much more visible to other nations than they were in the last century, which is our biggest protection.
That is, if thought leaders provide information, support and guidance to the rest of their communities to counter-act the more destructive elements of political leadership.
An example here is Tracy Daszkiewicz who dealt with the contamination from Novichok in Salisbury. Tracy Daszkiewicz was promoted to head of Health and Safety for the whole South West region after she guided the community of Salisbury to complete safety – which took a year – but we did not get the whole story and her name has not been prominent enough during the COVID-19 response.
Excess deaths rose steadily from 2010 when the Conservatives came to power as a direct result of austerity cuts to public services and healthcare leaving a weakened NHS despite numerous warnings and predictions of a global epidemic. Seven coronaviruses have been circulating since 2003, when SARS-COV-1 first spread and it reached the UK in 2013.
Additionally, Public Health England under the guidance of Professor John Newton has been shown to be unfit for purpose. Responsible for alcohol, Newton took funding from alcohol companies for Drinkaware. Responsible for diet and obesity,
Newton took funding from ultraprocessed food manufacturers to create the Eatwell Guide, which would only serve during a real famine. As chief testing officer in charge of COVID-19, Newton advised the government to stop contact tracing and quarantining people arriving in the UK when he predicted ‘millions of cases’ and Public Health England’s team of 300 contact tracers would be overwhelmed.
What happened to the 5000 local contact tracers trained for just such a health crisis, that Newton never deployed? Here is a man taking hand outs from private companies and not declaring conflicts of interest. Like the Wizard of Oz he is controlling the machine behind the scenes. Local authority and NHS trust efforts were rejected.
Looking back at Salisbury, Tracy Daszkiewicz managed to avert central control from Downing Street acting remotely over the health and safety of the Salisbury community, which was essential for transparency (updates were given regularly), community response (questions were answered), action (investigation and testing was carried out to track down the source of contamination) and emergency measures (cars were destroyed).
What do we need to tackle COVID-19 in the community?
Mask Use – it is vitally important that information and guidance on mask use is unbiased, free of political or economic interest, articulate and accessible for all. To be efficient, the right masks, used correctly may reduce infections in these types of circumstances, as set out at the beginning by government advisers: “the only evidence showed masks might help when worn for short periods of time, inside in confined spaces when social distancing wasn’t possible”
- In healthcare environments
- In crowded places
- On public transport
- At work or study indoors, such as offices or factories where ventilation is not good.
A report in the FT showed that infection rates rose more in countries with outdoor mask mandates. Wearing masks while outdoors seems very counter-intuitive in the face of a coronavirus, which doesn’t jump between strangers walking around outside, who are not speaking face to face.
The same story that a mask protects others is vague and divisive. Why would the majority wear a mask if it does nothing for them?
From the outset, wearing a mask inside confined spaces where sustained contact and proximity with others would have reduced the spread of COVID-19. This is because, if you touched your face after travelling on public transport when you might have picked up some virus particles, the material of the mask would be a barrier to passing those particles into your nose and mouth.
However, those not used to wearing a face mask will touch their faces more than if not wearing a mask. This has made masks lethal for many people. They reduce breathing capacity, making the wearer pull the mask away from the face to breathe in more air.
Instead of breath from an infected individual dissipating outside, it can move up and straight into the eyes. People who wear glasses find they steam up. This increases viral load for the wearer, with more viruses particles entering the body before immunity has kicked in.
Why are we not being given basic facts? The common cold can incubate for a few days and we must surely know why this is and be aware when we have come into contact with someone who has caught a cold.
The period before symptoms appear is when someone is infectious and the virus is invisible. There are many solutions to this, to protect vulnerable people, however the majority of us make anti-bodies when our immune system fights off a virus. We would only succumb if we are below par. However, symptoms are grossly mis defined. This is the immune system at work and people who do not mount an immune defence, due to immunosuppression – which could stem from medication, pain-killers or over-prescription of anti-biotics for mild viruses in the past – are at the most risk.
Those in large households, with children and containing members who go to work in busy offices or factories or in hospitality or catering and take public transport are the same 10% who catch flu each year.
Those taking public transport need to get good at safe mask wearing – for minimum period possible, starting with clean hands and put on behind the ears and sanitiser used between touching surfaces and touching face and minimal talking while wearing the mask.
There have been documentaries released on YouTube discussing “Science Versus Politics” over the whole pandemic response. It seems to have been hijacked by governments to operate control of their nations without discussion, challenge or checks from the public, academics, scientists and let alone the UK press, which has been bowed into submission by millions of pounds in advertising from Public Health England.
Here a politician stands up to Boris Johnson for not announcing lockdown extension in the chamber of the house of commons before “some patsy questions from Laura Kuenssberg”.
Where possible for work and study to be carried out online. Where students need to be in school, to make learning skills to protect themselves against the spread of a virus as accessible and easy to practice as possible. Outdoor social events could be encouraged for interaction and connection between students. I think using the outdoors as much as possible during warm summer months would benefit all of us. It is so good to see the surges in outdoor activity and use of amenities. This can be turned into a plus.
Like fire alarms, schools and universities could use practice drills to help students internalise hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing, using gamification to make it fun, so can be used if a virus transmits and go back to normal when risk averted.