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It is very interesting to look at the political alignment of the Covid-19 deniers. So far the predominant majority have been of the right and extreme right, with some exceptions. This reaction of the right and far right is discussed here by Jason Wilson from the Guardian Australia. For example Steve Bannon appears to take it seriously but only as an instrument to attack China. The extreme right wing governments in UK and USA have tried from the outset to underplay the effects of the virus and managed to delay the response to the crisis and to twist the scientific advice that is offered by tempering it with practical economic and sociological considerations. There is no doubt that cracks are now appearing in this attempt to use science for political purposes. Recently Professor Helen Ward wrote a scathing expose of how the advice given By Professor Ferguson has been twisted by the government.
When I say that politicians “refused to listen”, I am referring to the advice and recommendations coming from the World Health Organization, from China and from Italy. The WHO advice, based on decades of experience and widely accepted by public health leaders and scientists around the world was clear – use every possible tool to suppress transmission. That meant testing and isolating cases, tracing and quarantining contacts, and ramping up hygiene efforts.
The UK did well in the early phase, but then, on 12 March, the government alarmed many public health experts by abruptly abandoning containment and announcing that community case-finding and contact-tracing would stop. The aim was no longer to stop people getting it, but to slow it down while protecting the vulnerable.
There have been some disagreements between what Whitty has said, against that of Vallance in some of the daily updates, including the differences in death toll between Germany and UK.
Asked about the differences with Germany, where the number of deaths appears to be increasing less rapidly than in the UK, Prof Chris Whitty told the daily government press briefing on Tuesday: “We all know that Germany got ahead in terms of its ability to do testing for the virus, and there’s a lot to learn from that.” Germany is already able to test 500,000 patients a week and is under pressure to increase this further.Whitty had interjected after the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, gave a more circumspect reply, saying: “The German curve looks as though it’s lower at the moment, and that is important, and I don’t have a clear answer to exactly what is the reason for that.”
More recently in Question time on BBC1 on 16th April, Dr Rachel Clarke, a palliative care consultant, exposed the deficiencies of the policies surrounding care homes, which have been ignored, and of the current shortage of PPE for NHS and other frontline staff, as well as a slow and defective overall policy.
So where does the left stand in all this? The left should be united in recognising the gravity of this situation and point out the mishandling of the situation that arose from ideology. The episode has illustrated how poorly the current western capitalist materialism has failed to see the essence of how to deal with such a massive humanitarian crisis affecting their own populations.