Coronavirus – forget governmental credibility

Think ever-growing human susceptibility

It’s over a year now since CV19 appeared, allegedly in China, and rapidly spread world wide – that so-called global pandemic.

Are matters improving at last?

Far from it – they get worse with each passing day, given the new virus mutants popping up – in the UK, South Africa, Nigeria (allegedly) etc etc- if not more lethal – at least more infectious.

So how do things look specifically in my own country (Britain)? Answer. Not good (increasingly worrying, if the truth be told). Why not?

One hardly knows where to start. But if I had to single out a particular issue, it’s the manner in which government and media constantly focus on a particular issue, namely “the strain on the NHS”, with more and more beds occupied by Covid 19 victims, fewer and fewer for urgent non-CV patients (newly-diagnosed cancer included!), with increasing risk for NHS workers at all levels etc etc.

It’s seems abundantly clear that the chief worry on the part of Government is that of its own “credibility” – its ability to cope with the latest problem to arrive on its doorstep.

It’s the NHS that is being perceived as (initially at any rate) the prime (or close-on-heels secondary) victim.

Is that right? Is that responsible government?

My (admittedly) first reaction is to say NO! You need to reorder your priorities , Government – in Britain and elsewhere – and FAST. You all of you need to recognize that the current pandemic is not just the latest chapter in a long long mind-numbing history book. It’s become the dominating title of the 21st century – and needs to be treated accordingly!

OK, it’s easy to say that, but how? Yes. HOW does Government rise to the occasion? How does it show it’s pulling out all the stops to treat CV19 with the seriousness it deserves?

This posting is primarily about the need for the appropriate degree of alarm, as distinct from practical “solutions” (assuming that such an idealistic notion can be entertained).

But I’ll flag up one approach that maybe needs to be considered, not urgently, but calmly and leisurely, say over a lengthy and time-consuming 48 hour period starting right here and now, albeit on an admittedly low profile somewhat quirky (but internationally-based!) website.

Cease thinking about vaccines – preventive or hopefully curative- in the context of centralized hospital beds. That not only puts staff at risk, my own medic daughter included, but the patients themselves (crowded in with others maybe at ever greater risk to their own survival).

Think afresh. Devise a MASSIVE NEW INITIATIVE to shift treatment (and maybe even diagnosis) from state-run hospital into the safer confines individual HOME

In short, draft in the necessary medics – doctors, nurses, paramedics etc – by the 100s, tens of 1000s, protected head-to-foot with 99.9% efficient protective clothing. Take along home-based, home-friendly ventilators etc. Draft in additional help – whether from retired medics, pensioners, the temporarily unemployed etc etc, willing to make a super-human effort to – hopefully – nip this scourge in the bud via HOME-BASED ISOLATION.

I’ll stop there for now. Expect further instalments, whether defensive – depending on co-bloggers reservations and/or objections – or on additional new thinking re practicalities (finance, manpower etc etc ).

Thank you for reading to the end of this urgent missive…

Update, Jan 11, 2021, 10:30

Have just notified the BBC via a current website invitation to submit questions (strict word limit).

There was only room for me to flag up the title of this posting and a link thereto!

It remains to be seen whether there’s any comeback from the BBC.

PS (added Jan 13): no response from the BBC re my supplied link to this site and its message, merely a bizarre, self-indulgent email a few minutes ago, inviting me to take part in a short survey re the BBC. I considered supplying this posting’s message in more detail, until reading this attached message in small print at the bottom of the email:

This email is sent from an automated account which is not monitored and so we’re unable to respond to replies to this email.

You are the pits, BBC. You truly are the pits with your smug, superior, elitist little ways. (That’s without mention of recently over-75s like myself expecting to be spared shelling out a big gob of money each year for a so-called “TV licence”, read BBC-licence, then having the offer withdrawn by the BBC itself – not central government – at the 11th hour.

I hope to see you (a) uninvented (b) reinvented, BBC, in the not too distant future. How? In a manner that makes you (c) less like a remote UN agency, and (d) more like a mouthpiece, just once in a while, for the British man (or woman) in the street.


Author: Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.

17 thoughts on “Coronavirus – forget governmental credibility”

  1. Maybe a nice idea but practically there are insufficient medical staff to do the job.
    Better idea was the Nightingale hospitals that never got used. They should never have allowed Covid patients into ordinary hospitals to the detriment of their existing customers.

    Besides which, you think the UK is doing a bad job? Look at the utter cluster fuck the USA is making of administering the vaccine, not to be had for love nor money! Mainly sitting in Government warehouses!

    Reading the papers generally there seems to be no-one except the Israelis who have got a hold on it at all. Can you imagine this world if something serious was running amok with an 80% kill rate?
    Lets hope the cockroaches make a better job of it next time round. (Time to grow my pincers and go brown and glossy!)

  2. Some might think that diagnosis and even treatment of cv19 is less about medicine: it’s more about scanning a checklist, and knowing which of a series of standard and limited interventions to apply next.

    Some might think that does not require a highly-trained medic to be in personal attendance, taking chances with their own health and safety.

    Some might think that the so-called Nightingale Hospitals were a bureaucratic standby, one that failed to do the business (explaining why most if not all are still vacant and unused).

    Thus the need to start afresh, using the home of new victims – actual or suspected – as the treatment centre. Send in the appropriate remedial equipment with trained operatives. Keep the medics in their surgeries and hospitals, communicating with the house-visitors via Zoom etc.

    The virus is not malign as such – given its simplicity. It’s merely programmed to reproduce itself, using our body machinery as distinct from its own.

    Recognize it for what it is – an unhelpful passenger – eliciting a largely predictable shortlist of symptoms – for which home-based remedies exist.

    I repeat – switch treatment from hospital to home. Spare suspected victims the need to travel to and enter risky new places outside their own homes…

  3. The NHS unable to cope… Is that somehow new? The NHS can’t even cope with a bad ‘flu season. Every single year there are panicked headlines about the NHS facing the greatest strain on its services ever. I remember the winter of 2016/2017 when people were dying in hallways at NHS hospitals because they simply couldn’t manage. Italy has suffered because of mass budget cuts. Spain has as well. Germany only managed because of blind, dumb luck. They were attempting to drastically cut Germany’s ICU capacity. Had the pandemic struck next year rather than last, Germany would have fared infinitely worse.

  4. This appeared just 10 mins (07.10) in today’s Express. (Not my favourite newspaper, but I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this particular news item): My bolding of final sentence!

    Dr Kilgallen said those living in Northern Ireland should only call 999 if they are really unwell as hospitals are being kept for “the sickest people”.

    She said: “We want you to know the emergency department is open for business but that involves all of us thinking carefully before we use it.”

    The doctor added almost all surgical procedures at the hospital have been postponed and many patients are having to be taken home by relatives due to a shortage of ambulances.

    So what if anything is waiting for them after returning to home?

    If domestic homes are to be used routinely as an overspill centre in this pandemic, within and probably beyond N.Ireland, should there not accordingly be plans put in place to supply the particular homes in question with emergency staff and, at the very least, basic equipment? (Maybe they are, but I’ve yet to see it in print…).

  5. Anyway, thanks for your responses thus far, you welcome frequenters of Boadicea’s and Bearsy’s longstanding and indeed interesting (albeit somewhat quirky!) internationalist site.

    ( Yes, this Oz-based site has/had much to commend it, internet-wise- albeit with occasional niggles on my part).

    I’m now taking my leave.

    Goodbye, one and all.

    (Have decided to re-invent myself where the presently much sidelined, downplayed Internet is concerned relative to ghastly late-arrival social media – Twitter, Facebook etc.).

    See use /misuse made by an exiting US President no less of Twitter etc!

    Yes, those passe (minus e acute) plain and simple personal Internet blogsites etc. desperately need additional and enlivening shots in the arm! Bit like you know what! Hint – cv!

    MSM please note. You have done our modern fact/opinion-hungry society a huge disservice thus far with your wilful self-promoting neglect of man-or woman-the-street internet-expressed opinion. Nuff said.

    Again.- final farewell Chariot. Continue please to speed (or trundle) along at your own pace.

    Colin Berry (retired scientist).

  6. CB: I do hope your most recent post wasn’t made in earnest. You see, I’m not a scientist. I’m just a mediocre petty functionary trundling along like an ageing ox. One issue I have noted is that people who do not necessarily need to go to hospital are kept in hospital. Sometimes, they have recovered but because the tests are so sensitive, they’re not released. That takes up space and hospitals rarely operate with much room to spare, anyway.

  7. Thank you Christopher.

    My issue is not with with personalities, least of all those I encounter on sites such as this.

    Here’s the title of an article that’s just appeared on the Telegraph.

    “China goes into ‘wartime mode’ after 103 new Covid cases detected in city of 11 million”

    It sums up my my own dissatisfaction with our so-called western Governments who fail to recognize the seriousness of the current pandemic (read modern-day Plague).

    The internet is proving worthless as a means of conveying the appropriate message to Government.

    Yes, we too need to go into a kind of wartime mode, faced with the current threat to our entire health, economy, livelihoods etc.

    So-called Government continues to worble on, to drag its heels, allowing matters to go from bad to worse, week by week, such is the nature of mutant viruses.

    That’s my very last word on the subject. Apols to future commentators to this (my second and final posting) who receive no reply. No offence intended.

  8. It is difficult to see how isolation can prevent the spread of the virus since several of the Gorillas in San Diego zoo have tested positive for corona and it is now accepted that the virus can be spread by domestic dogs and cats amongst other animals.

    Gorillas Test Positive for COVID-19 at California Zoo
    This is the first known instance of COVID-19 among non-human primates in captivity.

    Derya Ozdemir
    By Derya Ozdemir
    January 12, 2021
    Gorillas Test Positive for COVID-19 at California Zoo
    Christina Simmons/San Diego Zoo Safari Park
    As COVID-19 cases in California see a dramatic surge with confirmed cases to date reaching 2,710,801, what is believed to be the first known instance of COVID-19 among primates in captivity has been reported. Two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a press release by the zoo officials.

    The staff was reportedly following the recommended precautions for COVID-19 and wearing PPE when near the gorillas; however, the officials at the zoo’s Safari Park stated they believe an asymptomatic staff member infected the animals.

    Three of the gorillas are currently showing symptoms of coronavirus.

    Some of the gorillas are showing symptoms
    It was first seen on Wednesday, January 6 that the two of the gorillas were coughing. While gorillas can cough for any number of reasons, San Diego Zoo Global decided to test fecal samples from the gorillas for SARS-CoV-2 given the current circumstances. The samples were sent to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System.

    Caterpillar Just Showcased Autonomous Mega-Truck Fleet for Next-Gen Mining
    The tests detected the virus in the gorilla troop, with the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirming the rest results on January 11.

    “Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery.”


    While previous studies had verified that some non-human primates are susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2, this is the first known instance of natural transmission to great apes, per the press release. Researchers don’t know if the gorillas will have any severe reactions.

    This makes gorillas the seventh animal species to have contracted the virus after confirmed infections in tigers, lions, mink, snow leopards, dogs, and domestic cats.

  9. The British Coronavirus variant, the more contagious one, has now been detected in twelve States in the USA.

    Ohio have meanwhile come up with another variant. Just to be different, they’re calling it COH.20G/501Y.

    For whatever it’s worth (probably very little in this economy), Coronavirus rates in the County where I live, especially in two areas thereof (one of which I call home) have skyrocketed. My first thought was that all those heedless people who insisted upon traveling and gathering for the holidays are now having to pay the price but Health officials say that this is not the case. They suspect instead that we in this area may now have a Coronavirus variant of our very own. Whoopee!

    At least so far, existing vaccines are apparently effective at blocking contagion of all strains. The Chinese are not so lucky, as their own vaccine has come to be considered only 50% effective.

    On the brighter side of things, read this:

  10. PS: Have posted the following a short while ago to a Harry de Quetteville article in today’s Telegraph on the NHS response (or lack thereof!) to CV-19 and its disturbing, nay depressing new variants :


    “Stiff upper lip” causing folk to hold off contacting the NHS?

    Don’t contact your GP, we’re told, if suspecting one has contracted the virus, don’t go to a pharmacy, don’t go to a hospital.

    Call that 111 number instead, and maybe get directed to a mass testing centre etc etc. Location? Distance? (Expect to be kept guessing, at least initially).

    “Stiff upper lip” causing folk to sit tight, adopt a wait-and-see attitude? Or puzzlement and maybe resentment at the info’ vacuum?

    Then what? Maybe “monitoring” while home -isolated, but rarely if ever told what happens if symptoms do get worse, or who one is dealing with. Directed to a CV hotspot maybe, thereby increasing the risk of further exposure or complications?

    Is this really the best you can say or do, NHS, when confronted with a viral plague that can strike anyone, anywhere, any time?

    We need to take a long hard look at our so-called NHS! Some might consider that it’s simply unfit for purpose where mutant viruses are concerned. Some might think we need to switch to a war-footing , one that mobilises emergency home visits, armed with appropriate specialists, whether just ambulance staff, or additionally doctors, nurses, armed with the back-up ancillary equipment (oxygen cylinders, oxygen tents, specialist drugs etc etc).

    (Colin Berry, Jane Berry’s hubby).

    See also his posting on a long-standing internet website:

    Apols, Boadicea, Bearsy et al for the typos in my original submission. I tried to correct via the DT’s Edit facility, only to be told I’d left it too long after posting (maybe 10 mins or so?).

  11. PPS: that comment of mine on the Daily Telegraph (DT) posting appeared briefly, then disappeared without trace.

    Why? One can but speculate, but the likely reason is simple. The DT allows only one commentator per subscriber household (yes, one pays an additional monthly sub’ if one wishes not just to read the paper, but also post comments online). If both man and wife wish to comment under their own names, then one is expected to pay twice over!

    But I’m no stranger to the DT and its money-grubbing little ways. It recently increased the price of its hard-copy editions from £2 to £2.50 on weekdays – a 25% increase no less.

    My response? To reduce weekday purchases from 5 to 3 actual newspapers, cutting existing outlay from £10 to £7.50 per week – a reciprocal 25% decrease! My newsagent looked a tiny bit bemused/unamused when informed of my intentions…

    Two can play at your game, DT!

  12. Big Brother is watching!

    “Ministers have ordered plans to be drawn up for a fresh crackdown at Britain’s borders to stop new variants of the coronavirus undermining the vaccination effort.

    Officials have been told to prepare for the creation of quarantine hotels for those arriving in Britain and to use GPS and facial-recognition technology to check that people are staying in isolation.”

  13. I don’t think any country could afford to provide a ‘personal home service’ to combat this present crisis.

    As I jokingly said to my daughter – if it gets too bad just ask people to self-isolate and paint a red cross on their front doors. That worked in past epidemics – look up the village of Eyam in the 17th C.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever with people who think that ‘lockdowns’ don’t work. We, in Australia, went into lockdown against the rest of the world before the WHO declared a world-wide pandemic. The only place (State of Victoria) who didn’t manage their lockdown properly is responsible for over 800 of Australia’s 900+ deaths from this virus.

    As far as I’m concerned that says it all.

    And, I suspect, that many Ozzies feel the same. Here in Queensland a few cases of the new mutated virus detected in the UK arrived – and we went into a three day lockdown – far heavier than our first lockdown. Generally we all complied – and now life is back to almost normal. My only restrictions are that I must wear a mask in a closed environment, I’m limited as to whether I want to go to a sporting event that I really don’t want to attend and I can’t travel overseas.

    The latter is my biggest problem – but why would I want to visit anywhere else in the world just at this moment?

    I’d like to remind Charioteers that links to other sites might not work as well as you want. There are newspapers which have a pay-wall, and others that can cause difficulties – Bearsy’s the expert on those!. If you post a link can you please check whether they work, and remove them if they don’t. Thanks!

  14. “I don’t think any country could afford to provide a ‘personal home service’ to combat this present crisis.”

    You may well be right Boadicea. (Others have told me the same!). Only time, fortune and/or misfortune will tell.

    (Let’s not forget that way back in 2007, Tony Blair budgeted a total of some £9 BILLION no less for the 2012 London Olympics, which represented a whopping three-quarters of a MILLION pounds for each and every one of the ELEVEN THOUSAND or so expected athletes!)

    (see under sub-heading entitled “Money Matters”).

    Countries willing to take on mountains of debt – notably the UK – can arguably afford whatever those countries wish – and resolve -to afford.

    For my part, I’m now withdrawing totally from the Internet (it having over-monopolized some 15 years of my retirement). Time to pursue other less time-demanding interests.

    I may look in on this site from time to time, but will otherwise be taking a silent back seat.

    ‘Twas good making your acquaintance, one and all.

    Ta ta.

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