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We are in very dangerous territory now where governments (politicians) are taking liberties with our freedoms for political ends. The virus is serious but evidently affects those in the elderly age group or with underlying health issues. This is not a new revelation and is one of the reasons northern Italy has been overwhelmed. I cannot understand why the elderly were not immediately advised to self-isolate. Testing should quickly be done to place those who need to be isolated in temporary care in hotels. Once tested and given the all-clear they could socialise amongst themselves in safety, as they are doing in all established care homes. Care workers would also be tested regularly to ensure no contagion.
We all know that the crisis in the care industry is an utter disgrace in the UK. A reluctance to fund beds by local authorities and to work efficiently with the private sector has left us with a huge deficit in an industry which should be booming given the demographics. Many hospital beds are permanently blocked in hospitals largely by vulnerable, elderly people who should be in long term care (delayed days in hospitals in the UK has been running at 200,000 a month or over 2 million a year). Hence, the crisis, as these are the first people who will fall ill and succumb to viruses and bacterial infections.
A targeted response was needed but instead, we have resorted to panic. The jokes about how to procure food with a firearm may prove portentous.
The extreme measures being taken now are creating problems that will potentially consign us to a further decade of economic malaise. Jobs are being lost, businesses destroyed and public finances will again be decimated. The toll of this on mental health should not be underestimated.
Meanwhile, we can only hope that government is putting all its energy into health and public services behind the scenes so the restrictions can be lifted ASAP and we all come to terms with the endemic nature of this form of flu, and get on with our lives.