On Wednesday I returned home from hospital and of all things on my mind I thought about a small commemoration I have on my mantelpiece. It is from King George V and it reads “ I join with my grateful people in sending you this memorial of a brave life given for others in the Great War”. It was to my great uncle. He caught Spanish Flu in the trenches and died. That was their version of coronavirus. It was deadly and is estimated to have killed at least 50 million people globally. God forbid that coronavirus should ever inflict similar damage on humanity today but it does deliver a sobering message that we should take the threat of a pandemic seriously.
Perhaps the most delusional response to Covid-19 comes from President Trump. Despite the fact that there are least 60 cases in the USA he has announced it is a total of 15. Soon he reckons it will be “close to zero”. To inspire confidence he has put Vice President Mike Pence in charge. The truth comes from Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Head of the U.S. Centre of Disease Control, who stated on Tuesday that Covid-19 cannot be stopped and that U.S. policy will soon have to be switched from containment to mitigation. Trump has also come out with the ludicrous assertion that a vaccine is just around the corner. This is palpable nonsense. It is 12 to 18 months away. What, of course, is driving that very stable genius crazy is that this might ruin his re-election bid. For starters Trump has actually cut funding for the Centre of Disease Control. How is that going to look if this pandemic gets a grip ? The unfolding drama could propel Bernie Sanders into the White House, and alter the course of American history.
However, whatever way you look at it, we have in front of us a potentially very unsettling situation. Having spent rather a lot of time recently in hospital I don’t doubt the dedication of those that work there and on the front line in our A and E units. However, our already overstretched and under resourced hospitals can only cope with so much. The rest is up to us.