I had to drive across England this week. The motorway traffic was lighter than usual and most of it was commercial vehicles. The service stations I stopped at were almost empty.
I checked the news at each stop and saw that my government was continuing to lie and dodge and failing to act but that they’d taken emergency powers that I’m sure they’ll be forced to use by next week.
I saw, in the faces of the people around me, a slowly dawning understanding that this is serious but it seemed to me that most people still didn’t understand how ill-prepared we are or how many people are going to die.
I feel like I’m watching a car wreck in slow motion but that the people around me still haven’t seen what a pile up it’s going to be yet.
What we need now is calm, competent leadership.
We’re not going to get it.
My guess is that we’ll see non-essential travel and public venues shut down next week, together with the enforced isolation of people over seventy.
What we won’t see is protection for front line medical staff and social care staff, who can’t even get COVID-19 tests never mind N19 Respirators.
We are all vulnerable.
We have all been failed by our government.
We all need to look after ourselves and each other as far as we can for at least the next two months.
I expect an infection rate of 70% (43 million) with 10% of the infected (4.3 million) needing hospitalisation.
Hospitals will be overwhelmed, causing the death rate to rise from a possible 1% (43,000) to at least 6% (258,000) with maybe a quarter of those (64,000) being under sixty.
This doesn’t take into account “knock-on deaths” caused when people suffering from other health problems or from traumatic injuries are no longer able to get the treatment they need because the hospitals are overwhelmed.
Like most people, there’s nothing I can do about any of this, especially with a government that doesn’t want to listen.
So, I’m going to retreat for a few weeks and hope that it isn’t all going to be as bad as I think it is.