Losers to honors | Miscellaneous

Britain is emerging from the hassle of a pandemic. Will Boris Johnson be forgiven for his violent vaccination past sins?

At a recent press conference of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it was announced that 31.6 million people (60 percent of the adult population) have already received the first dose of the vaccine, and 5.4 million – the second. The British deliberately focused on the widest possible vaccination with the first dose at the expense of repeated injections.

Photo: AFP

The number of patients in hospitals has fallen more than 10 times since the peak in January, and the number of deaths – 70 times (the most terrible day, January 20, claimed 1823 lives) and continues to fall. The chief physician of England, Professor Chris Whitty, based on data from four “historical countries” that make up the UK, claims that vaccination reduces hospitalizations by 80 percent and symptomatic morbidity by about 60.

Everyone recognizes that now in Britain the vaccination procedure is organized cleverly and clearly – vaccination is moving from at-risk populations to the young and healthy.

The queue is electronic. At a certain time, an SMS notification comes, and on the government website (or by phone) you can choose a convenient time and place for the procedure. There is no information that it is possible to bypass the queue, and there will not be – last year, the prime minister with a heavy covid was lying, as the press testified, in an ordinary city hospital. There is no paid vaccination either.

Vaccination passports and covid status are discussed, as well as a system of “traffic lights” for travel abroad, which will classify visitors from different countries by vaccination level and infection rate. Travelers returning from Green List countries are expected to not need isolation upon return to England.

Only Israel and a few smaller countries are ahead of the UK in terms of the number of vaccinated per capita. This is all the more impressive against the backdrop of the sad performance of continental Europe, which is experiencing a third wave and closes again on lockdown.

England, on the contrary, is preparing to move on to the next stage of easing restrictions (here the third lockdown has been in effect since the beginning of January; Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales have their own quarantine lifting schedule, however, very close to English). Shops, hairdressers, libraries, gyms, zoos, etc. will be open from April 12th. Children will be able to attend any indoor activity. Restaurants and pubs will begin serving customers outdoors, although they will only have to eat and drink while sitting. The number of guests at weddings will grow to 15 people, and two visitors per inhabitant will be allowed in nursing homes.

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The requirement to work from home, if possible, remains in force, domestic travel is minimized, and international travel is prohibited. Outdoor gatherings will still be limited to six people or two households.

Thanks to the undoubted successes, the Conservatives confidently outperform the Laborites in the polls (42 versus 32 percent of those willing to vote, respectively, in the general elections), and Johnson’s personal rating on the main indicators (trust, competence, decisiveness, etc.) has good dynamics. But quite recently, all literally actions and responses of the government to overcome the pandemic were criticized as decisively failures.

A year ago, Johnson clearly missed the impending crisis, did not understand the meaning of the impending very serious danger. He demonstratively shook hands with “everyone” in the hospital, where there were patients with covid. He laughed at the government’s efforts to provide ventilators, calling them “Operation Last Breath.” In order to “release” the hospitals, the elderly were discharged en masse, without testing, to nursing homes, and so the disease was brought there. Scientists and experts believe that the prime minister was three times late with the announcement of lockdowns, and estimate the cost of the delays at several tens of thousands of victims. Covid casualties exceed those of the British civilian population in World War II. In the networks and in the press, mentions of Johnson as the largest “serial killer” in the history of the kingdom flashed.

Фото: Chris J Ratcliffe For Covid-19 Bereaved Families For Justice / Getty Images

The government has slipped into the topic of providing health workers with the personal protective equipment they desperately need. The press over the past year has been full of stories of frivolous contracts and “warm seats” received by people close to the Tory leadership or their sponsors. The “pride” of the cabinet – the system of testing and tracing the infected – has become the talk of the town because of its basic flaws and fabulous cost (37 billion pounds sterling). Johnson endorsed and promoted the Chancellor’s Eat to Help project, which encouraged an early return to food service in the summer of 2020, which scientists estimate led to a second wave of the pandemic. And so on. The press counts almost two dozen jumps and “turns” of the government.

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Yet the latest political success outweighs past failures. “The decisions made by the Johnson government in the darkest moments of the pandemic in spring 2020 to support vaccination projects — investing early and substantial funds — now look like a masterpiece,” writes the global business press leader The Financial Times. “It was a turning point for Johnson and the country.”

Apparently, thanks to the chief scientific adviser to the government (Sir Patrick Wallance), the government put its stake on the developments of Oxford University in time. University specialists assured that they would produce the vaccine within a year, and received support and funding.

A government vaccine task force has been created to manage the medical and logistical challenges of the entire chain from creation to delivery of millions of doses. The team placed early orders for a number of potential vaccines, including Oxford / AstraZeneca and BioNTech / Pfizer, well before the European Union. In total, the kingdom has pre-orders for 300 million doses from six different manufacturers.

The UK seems to have forgiven Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a while for 127,000 fatal deaths – one of the world’s worst death rates and the deepest recession in the G7.

The government’s successful mass vaccination program this year closes for most Britons past cabinet failures in managing the pandemic. Perhaps temporarily.

Boris Johnson. Photo: AP Photo / Frank Augstein, Pool

On a wave of optimism, the opposition’s demand for a public inquiry into the government’s response to the pandemic sounds pale. 34 percent of residents believe that such an investigation should be launched immediately; 36 percent believe that there is no need to rush into this, and 16 percent are against working on mistakes at all. Johnson agreed with the idea of ​​a public inquiry, but is postponing the process until an indefinitely better time, when the pain of loss and failure begins to wear off. Historical examples are disappointing: an investigation into the actions of the cabinet of ministers in preparation for the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003 began six years after the start of the war, and ended in 2016, five years after the withdrawal of British troops. As a reminder, the next general election in the United Kingdom is due to take place by 2024.

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A complex and troubling topic in the national vaccination campaign is the resistance to the campaign among minority groups. Among those over seventy, in England, only 4% of white people have not been vaccinated, according to the Oxford University analytical platform OpenSAFELY, cited by the politically right-wing magazine Spectator. But among those who are called “black Africans” this share is almost ten times higher – 37 percent. In this group, about 11 percent of Indian Britons, 19 percent of Bangladeshis, 22 percent of Chinese British, and 26 percent of Black Caribbean residents are unvaccinated. While it is easy to overlook the success of vaccinations, Spectator notes, it will do little good to those who did not participate. Both the right and the left press ask themselves the question: how to deal with anti-axers? According to the opposition left-wing Guardian, politicians should focus on creating “botanical immunity” – investing in education so that people can recognize fake news, conspiracy theories, misinformation of different kinds and forms.

After the implementation of the national vaccination program, the British are ready to donate their surplus vaccine to developing countries: 54 percent of residents are “ardent” for it, 30 percent – “rather for”. (By the way, it turned out that women and people over 30 are more generous, and the right-wing conservatives are almost twice as “greedy” as the British Labor and Liberal Democrats.)

Britain seems to be starting to emerge from the haze of the pandemic. Time will tell whether the grave mistakes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government will be forgotten and whether their dire consequences will be forgiven.

Evgeniya Dillendorf

A source: New Newspaper


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