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With planes grounded, cruise ships eager to discharge passengers, millions of people avoiding public transportation as most factories, businesses, offices, shops and leisure outlets close, we are commuting far less as people work from home, games and events are postponed: The Blue Planet, precious Mother Earth is taking a long, deep breath of fresh air! I have experienced unique environments untouched by the distressing pollution of our destructive human intervention. After so many years of sailing to incredible places throughout the world, from remote atolls in the South Pacific to the raging drama of the Southern Ocean on the Whitbread race: I am truly passionate about protecting our planet!
As the pandemic spreads its deadly tentacles worldwide I worry most about the poor in countries where I have witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of our morally bankrupt policy of scavenging Medical staff from countries that cannot afford to train them. Their hospitals are already routinely overwhelmed with patients they struggle to treat with minimal supplies and donated outdated equipment; they have no spare capacity of ICU beds to prolong the life of those hit by the Covid 19 virus! Unlike Ebola we will be less willing or even able to help them out as our own healthcare system reels from the scourge of this disease.
We must find more affordable solutions for treatment of the afflicted or countless millions will perish in the developing world. The much maligned island nation of Cuba may come to the rescue with treatments they have been developing in cooperation with the Chinese, but Boris Johnson might need to stop his rabid anti-Commie rant and some eat humble pie! The the Chinese National Health Commission listed the Cuban anti-viral drug Interferon alfa-2b among the treatments it is using for Covid-19 patients. The admirable Cuban policy of Medical Diplomacy has bought Doctors and Medical training to so many poorer countries throughout the world in a spirit that we should emulate. Infectious disease can so readily incubate in squalor and abject poverty, but rapidly arrive on the next jet to land at Heathrow. It takes a global Pandemic for us to realize we are all in this together and we need to collaborate for survival.
One potentially more affordable salvation for less affluent communities and for us in the UK, following our disastrous strategy of doing too little too late, is the amazing life-line offered by an innovative piece of rapidly reengineered kit that could reduce the need for full ventilation or at least slow the progression of Covid respiratory symptoms to the point of ICU support. The new design is an adaptation of a very familiar piece of equipment called C-Pap, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which has been used in the past for people whose heavy snoring reduces their O2 stats overnight.
The Guardian Article: “F1 team helps build new UK breathing aid for Covid-19 patients” describes how the device was rapidly reengineered, developed and built in less than a week through a collaborative effort between Medics and Engineers to meet the urgent demands posed by the Covid 19 crisis. Cpap devices have already proven their efficacy with Covid 19 patients the article points out after “being used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China, bridge the gap between an oxygen mask and full ventilation.”
Here in the UK we already use this apparatus in our hospitals and it’s safe enough for sleep apnoea patients to use at home, but they are currently in short supply according to the piece. “The device delivers a steady stream of oxygen and air to patients who are struggling to breathe and can be used on standard wards, unlike ventilation, which requires patients to have an invasive procedure and sedation in an intensive care unit. The vital breathing aid that was designed “to keep Covid-19 patients out of intensive care has been delivered to London hospitals for clinical trials.”
At a point where we desperately crave an item of positive news we heard that the “Engineers from UCL and Doctors at University College London hospital (UCLH) developed the device, which is claimed to be an improvement on existing Cpap systems, with Mercedes Formula One in less than 100 hours from first meeting to first production model. The device has been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.” This development could be a real game changer in the battle to avoid overwhelming our NHS as preventing or postponing the requirement for more complex ventilation equipment in the ICU could cost the lives of multiple Covid 19 patients and reduce the Collateral Damage impact of running out of ICU beds as described in the Hammer and the Dance.
This could buy us a little more time, but we cannot afford to squander a single second of that brief reprieve. Just as that remarkable innovative team raced to build this novel piece of kit in short order, we must drastically increase the both the pace and the extent of testing. Obviously the testing should start with frontline NHS staff, but it should not continue as a random patchwork of widely variable provision. We must continue with a comprehensive lock-down, accept the social distancing, but also vigilantly track down all contacts, tracing all suspected cases for strict isolation. If we do not take Covid 19 a lot more seriously, we cannot possibly hope to succeed it totally eradicating this highly infectious disease.
Covid 19 is not the only time sensitive crisis that we have failed to take seriously enough and suffered the consequences of inaction and Tory blundering. Thankfully it is not too late to “Rescue our Watchdog” and demand a thorough investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election as this urgent issue is just as pressing as Covid and the two are inextricably linked. Unless we totally remove this Tory Government from office we will be forced to accept the tragic consequences of their dangerous decisions that will continue to put multiple lives at risk as buying ourselves more time will not bring the Tory’s dystopian nightmare scenario to an end.