JANET STREET PORTER on how the Covid numbers used to justify lockdown

If 45,000 people can sing themselves stupid at Wembley, why can’t we dance at a wedding? JANET STREET PORTER on how the Covid numbers used to justify lockdown just don’t add up any more

You may have noticed we haven’t had one for a while and, so far as I am concerned, the government’s awful Covid Press conferences ought to be scrapped forever.

Along with the with the daily infection numbers the government publishes.

They serve no purpose other than to perpetuate a feeling of anxiety and fear.

Turn on one of the deadly 5pm No10 briefings and you might as well be living under Putin or the Stasi. A series of propaganda statements. No answers.

In the meantime we are going around in circles, waiting for Boris to man-up and make a decision.

The nasty attack on Chris Whitty in the park the other day wasn’t just boorish yob behaviour, it was also an indication of the increasing frustration and rage at the government’s lack of a route back to normality that’s now being felt by even the most placid and law-abiding citizens.

Anti-lockdown demonstrations are turning ugly, the business community is screaming for an end to restrictions, and the building trade says we haven’t got enough workers because of Brexit.

You may have noticed we haven’t had one for a while and, so far as I am concerned, the government’s awful Covid Press conferences ought to be scrapped forever, writes JANET STREET PORTER

So what’s the truth about the current danger from the pandemic?

Latest figures indicate just 23 people died in England this Tuesday after testing positive.

The seven-day average is 17, that’s 26% less than a week ago.

Far less than the number who will have died in that period from cancer, pneumonia, and influenza.

The death rate is 1/40th of what it was in the second wave, and yet night after night we get the same meaningless numbers from the government.

And increasingly occasionally a vacuous show-and-tell from Boris and his band of boffins – JVT, Whitty and Vallance. 

The graphs, the charts, the incomprehensible facts and figures, still delivered in the same misery-speak.

At Prime Minister’s Question Time we still have to look at a quarter-empty chamber spattered with a few masked MPs who look like the Black Death could come for them at any minute.

The infection rate IS rising rapidly but should that warrant the nightly dose of governmental gloom? Hardly.

The Delta variant has resulted in a 62% rise in infections to 26,068 this week – the highest level since January – but very few of those unlucky enough to test positive are being admitted to hospital.

Latest figures indicate just 23 people died in England this Tuesday after testing positive. Pictured: Fans at the Euro 2020 England vs Germany match at Wembley

People can happily hug each other in Trafalgar Square singing Football’s Coming Home – which is fine. But not at a wedding. Pictured: Stock image

With vaccination steaming ahead (44.6 million Brits have had their first dose, 37.7 million their second), two thirds of the UK’s population will have been jabbed by July 19.

Together with natural infections, the jabs are systematically building resilience to a virus which is always going to be in circulation, constantly mutating.

Scientists and doctors agree that even one dose of vaccine gives protection, two jabs even more, and now new research indicates that mixing vaccines for your first and second jab could be equally safe.

Today we learn that over-50s are even going to get a third booster jab in the autumn.

All that means that for the vast majority of reasonably fit people Covid is now a disease that, at worst, only causes mild discomfort.

Despite soaring positive tests, of the 87,000 NHS beds in England and Wales, 1.1% – fewer than 1,000 – are taken by Covid patients.

In the week to June 18, there were 9,459 deaths in England and Wales, of which just 1.1% were a related to Covid.

JANET STREET PORTER asks: But why can’t we dance and sing at a wedding?

For most people, a bout of covid is an inconvenience, a bit like flu. Some people have had it up to three times – but they’ve recovered in days.

So why are we still wallowing in official doom and gloom? What’s the danger and what are we saving the NHS for?

Meanwhile, 450 people a day are estimated to die from cancer, many of whom could have been saved if they had been able to access treatment on the NHS.

Hundreds of thousands of cancer sufferers are sitting on huge NHS waiting lists, hoping the scant supply of much-needed resources will come their way before they are diagnosed as terminal cases.

Obesity is another killer which will eventually bring the NHS to its knees regardless of Covid as the morbidly overweight develop a whole range of conditions from heart disease to diabetes and strokes which routinely end up with a stay in hospital.

The obese require special beds, extra staff to move them around. And still people are stuffing crap in their mouths eating themselves to death. More people will die next year from being overweight then Covid.

Instead of graphs and charts about Covid, grim footage of medical conditions allied to it ought to be compulsory viewing for schoolkids once a day.

Rather than pointless Prime Ministerial press conferences on Covid why don’t Boris, Whitty and Vallance show up with a bunch of charts to show us how many people over-eating kills?

What about Public Health ads focusing on obesity which ran before the news every night?

Could one of the reasons for the high profile press conference be a bloody-minded determination on the part of the Prime Minister to perpetuate the myth that he’s leading some well-organised campaign to get Brits back to normality?

In truth, at this point mental health is being badly affected by the government messaging on covid and its constant focus on the negative.

People are also frustrated by the sheer incoherence of the rules and regulations which seem unfair and random.

For example, Wembley Stadium admitted 45,000 fans to England versus Germany, when the authorities already knew that a recent spike in infections in Scotland was a direct result of Scottish fans travelling South to watch to game against England last week and gathering together in homes and pubs.

And did you see the pictures from Tuesday night after the game against Germany? Where’s the logic that allows fans to spill out onto the street after watching the game, joyfully hugging, kissing and embracing each other willy-nilly – while parents are still denied the simple joy of attending their kids’ sports days or school fetes.

People can happily hug each other in Trafalgar Square singing Football’s Coming Home – which is fine.

But why can’t we dance and sing at a wedding?

Theatres face bankruptcy and the tourism industry is on its knees as rules about red, green, and amber destinations change from week to week.

And to rub salt in our wounds, businessmen from Amber countries can now enter Britain and don’t have to quarantine if they can prove their work is ‘important’.

And Brits who have received two jabs and come into contact with someone with covid must still quarantine, even if they test negative. Bonkers!

Meanwhile the lack of a coherent policy for protecting school children sees record numbers languishing at home a year behind in their schooling because Private Pike Williamson consistently fails to lead the way in the Department of Education.

Now we’re finally told that school ‘bubbles’ that send 200 kids home if one of them gets Covid are going to be scrapped and replaced with daily testing, but probably not until September.

The daily statistical blitz is a key aspect of the continuing infantilisation of the British public. We’re patronised by boffins who can’t agree about how to end lockdown.

Patronised by ministers who can’t keep their trousers zipped or their hands under control.

Patronised by a Prime Minister who nearly died because he failed to understand the seriousness of the virus. A man who dithered and wavered, allowing over 20,000 visitors into the country from India at a time when the Delta variant was rampant there.

We have kept our part of the deal. We washed our hands. We are still wearing our masks (unless we are a football fan, because obviously God’s an England supporter, except in Scotland) .

But we’ve all seen enough numbers now. The only ones they should still publish are hospitalisations and deaths. And unless they look like breaching dangerous thresholds the country should be declared free forthwith.

Perhaps Boris is scared what might happen if we were allowed the freedom to set our boundaries and make choices for ourselves.

Choose where we eat, drink, play, go on holiday and even where we have sex.

But he can relax. We’re not all dumb enough to snog under the office CCTV camera. 

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