Television and The Bug

One of the joys of my house-sitting stints is to watch someone else’s television. Their screens are invariably far larger than the one at home and they have access to SKY sport.

This stint – and it just might end in a day or two – has been very different. For a start, there is no sport to watch as it has been closed down all over the world. Yes, I can watch historical sport but for me, the pleasure of any sporting contest is not knowing the result till the last minute and that is impossible with games that have already been played.

I have been here nearly three weeks now and although to begin with, I watched the news and news programmes, for the past ten days, I have only watched the odd gentle comedy programme like Last of the Sumer Wine. News programmes no longer give us news. Instead we are bombarded by a series of ‘experts’ warning us all that the end is nigh.

Much of what these people tell us is completely illogical or with yawning gaps. Are they deliberate I wonder and if so why? Could the real situation be a great deal better than we are being told? Clearly Bunter Johnson is not sitting in number ten making up fanciful scenarios, nor is he doing his own research. He relies on his surrounding officialdom, but the template he has been advised to accept as gospel truth is the ultra-gloomy prognosis of Imperial College London, with its talk of hundreds of thousands of deaths from millions of infections.

Yet Imperial College has a history of forecasting disaster scenarios, none of which came true. From the economic disaster predicted by leaving the EU to the doom and gloom that accompanied previous epidemics like SARS and Bird Flu, they all turned out to be twaddle.

Coronavirus is obviously very catching and more than a little dangerous to health but every year Britain is hit by seasonal winter flu. Around about fifteen thousand folk turn their toes up with this, but the overwhelming majority of those who die have a severe pre-existing condition which grievously weakens the constitution. It seems the same is applying to coronavirus.

How many of the dead and the infected had or have an already damaged health system and what are the percentages? These are the figures we should be getting but we only hear about those few who died without having a pre-existing condition – and they are a very, very tiny minority.

Even with my limited knowledge of health matters, it seems clear that many of those who are in sound health have already had a dose of coronabug and recovered without fuss. But how many? We are not being told. Yet back in Parliament and seemingly fit as a fiddle is Nadine Dorries who was laid low for a few days and quickly got over it. Matt Hancock was pontificating last evening and Prince Charles is back at work. It seems that those who recover from the bug then achieve immunity and can return to work with no risk to themselves or others. If that is the case, why are so many still being isolated like the not-so-far-affected?

Every day we are shown pictures of desperately gasping unfortunates on hospital beds. Why not show people beaming away and raising a thumb or slurping a glass of plonk in triumph? Silly question I suppose. Good news doesn’t sell newspapers.

Meanwhile, out of Oxford comes a scenario based on intensive research which contradicts the Imperial College model. According to the Oxford research it would have been better to isolate those with pre-existing conditions immediately but let the hale-and-hearties carry on. A minority would have had a bad dose, but the majority would have shrugged off a mild dose as we all do with winter’s annual flu.

Apparently, there is now a fast and simple testing kit which can be self-administered at home or in a brief visit to outpatients which will – I hope – be made available to everyone. If that works, we will know how many have already had a mild dose, recovered and with their new immunity could face the world again and be a danger to nobody. The new kit – if we get it – could tell us that in minutes.

So did a panicky government accept the most luridly violent prognosis from Imperial College of a national holocaust and on that basis destroy the economy as well as many lives? We shall certainly know that when life eventually gets back to normal..

So what if two million people eventually catch the bug and thirty thousand die? That would be fifteen thousand more than the annual winter flu toll – tragic but not a national crisis. And fifteen thousand as a percentage of the national population of sixty-seven million is a small fraction of one percent.

Am I being too optimistic I wonder? Perhaps so but if Oxford is right and Imperial College wrong, government figures are up the creek and we are all being misled.

Let’s face it, during the foot-and-mouth epidemic farmers were told to slaughter six million beasts in the national herd – and did. Later it was confirmed not one of them need have died. It was all a load of official rubbish but again it wrecked a lot of lives.

So yes, things are serious but without the media, we would all get on with our lives and a few more people would die than usual, but the rest would end up hale and hearty – as well as being immune to the coronabug.

At least I have enjoyed more time than usual to read, write and listen to music.

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