Tuesday 15 September 2020

Day 183 of self-isolation - the Few

Never was so much owed by so many to so few

Today is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, where Britain stood alone against the Nazi aggressors, and defeated them in the skies over our islands, using a well-organised system of defence with the newly-invented radar at the front line.

Today we are fighting a different battle - against Covid-19. We won the first battle, but the second is starting now. New infections are up to 3000 per day, and the R-number has reached 1.7, which will lead to a doubling of infections each week. If that keeps up, then by the end of September, we'll see 12000 per day, and by the end of October, 200,000 per day. For comparison, last March/April we were recording 5000 per day. We can't let it get that bad, but it's difficult to see what our government, once more focussed on Brexit, can do about it.

But we won't have as many deaths as we had last time. Now we have treatments that we didn't have then, such as dexamethasone, and other steroids to prevent the cytokyne storm. Also, we are doing a lot more testing now, so instead of just knowing about cases as they entered hospital (and by then were already severe), we now know about more mild infections. Another good thing - the idiotic advice not to mask, has now been replaced with advice to mask. Masking will lead to fewer infections than without, and many of the infections that would have been severe will be mild, because of the lower infecting dose of virus particles.

On May 10, 1940 Churchill said “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

That wasn't quite right. We had radar, and the RAF. He also said "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."

Same here. We have to beat this virus to get back to some sort of normality, and to do so, we will be using the newly-developed Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine, a vaccine that uses a completely new vaccine development technique. We don't know exactly when the trials will be complete (they were put on hold a few days ago, but are now back on track). Unlike radar, we couldn't develop the vaccine before we needed it. I'm hoping that it will be available in the next few weeks.

Until then - blood, toil, tears and sweat.

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