Covid lockdown sceptics must have been delighted to read that the head of the UKHSA has joined their ranks.
But for those of us who have compromised immunity and are therefore extremely vulnerable to Covid, it was most unwelcome and reinforced our view that we have been abandoned by those at the highest levels of the government and NHS.
Dame Harries says that “people are good at watching the data”. But hardly any accurate and up to date data is publicly available with the termination of the ONS survey. How many people know that the gov.uk website shows that there were 168 weekly Covid deaths a month ago and 2,767 weekly hospitalisations last week, but provides nothing more recent?
Another wave of Covid is upon us but we wouldn’t know if a cluster of sick air traffic controllers at Gatwick wasn’t causing cancelled flights and was therefore newsworthy. All protective and mitigating measures have been dumped. There is no free testing, and health workers are being told not to wear masks to protect themselves and their patients resulting in many of those at risk not daring to visit hospitals or GPs.
It is no good telling the elderly and most vulnerable to get booster shots if, when they get there, the room is crowded, poorly ventilated, and few are masked.
Let’s hope Dame Jenny Harries’ voice is not the dominant one when the government finally gets round to recognising that Covid is still threatening the health and wellbeing of our society.
Joan Twelves is a member of the Covid Action Steering Committee.