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02nd Jun 2020

John in Lockdown (inst.17)

by Burns Team Writer

Coronavirus Lockdown 2nd June 2020

A History lesson

I’m not a fan of the Sun newspaper but I found an old copy when fetching takeaway fish and chips from the local Ferry Cabin. In what seems like from a bygone age but was only 12 weeks ago, the front page headline of Saturday March 7th screamed, “OFFICIAL: IT’S AN OUTBREAK!” 164 cases of coronavirus… 2nd death in UK.”

The paper devoted 4 inside pages to the outbreak, declaring: NOW WE’RE ALL AT RISK OF GETTING THE VIRUS – ANYONE, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. What else happened that day? The man in charge of dealing with it went to Twickenham along with 82,551 others to see England play Wales. The Express reported that Boris Johnson had “braved coronavirus outbreak” to attend the match.

What happened next? On Tuesday 10th March, Cheltenham Festival started and was about to welcome 250,000 visitors over 4 days.  Festival organisers, The Jockey Club justified the decision to go ahead by citing Boris Johnson’s attendance at Twickenham and they were guided by Government.  Meanwhile, Spain, France and Portugal all announced football was to be played behind closed doors.

In the UK it was business as usual; football was going ahead as normal. On 11th March, the second day of Cheltenham, the World Health Organisation announced that the coronavirus was a PANDEMIC. Liverpool- Athletico Madrid match went ahead on 12th March despite the virus being rife in Spain. Spanish supporters had been advised not to travel.

And so it went. We are now approaching 40,000 dead, much of that likely to be a direct result of failure to act when all the signs were there.

Well, although we botched the onset of coronavirus, we’re getting it right now aren’t we?  The UK Government early lifting of lockdown is a high-risk strategy which is causing concern in England, with anxiety being expressed by nursing and teaching bodies. Thanks to the Dominic Cummings affair, less than 50% of the UK population trust the Government to get things right.

Stay safe,