Rupert Murdoch helps COVID-19 killing people

This 10 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Watching Fox News Coincides with Higher COVID-19 Death Rates | NowThis

Fox News contributes to COVID-19 spread, according to a recent academic study.

In US news and current events today, studies found Fox News viewership coincided with higher coronavirus mortality rates. In one study, infection and mortality rates were higher where Sean Hannity reached the largest audiences. People who listened to Hannity and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh were also more likely to believe in rumors and conspiracy theories and less likely to take sanitary measures like hand washing. So how has this affected Fox’s most loyal viewer? Watch to find out.

Siouxsie singer, Siouxsie guitarist, Siouxsie COVID-19 doctor

This music video from England is called Siouxsie And The Banshees – Warwick University 1981.

As far as I know, there are three women in the world called Siouxsie. Siouxsie of the Banshees. And Siouxsie Medley, United States post-hardcore punk rock guitarist. Finally, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, the best known New Zealand doctor now fighting COVID-19.

All three Siouxsies have in common that they were born Susan (Susie) and changed the spelling later.

This 9 July 2020 video is called Vocal Coach [Beth Roars] reacts to Siouxsie And the Banshees – Spellbound (Siouxsie Sioux Live).

Siouxsie Sioux is not just a songwriter and singer, but sometimes also a guitar player.

In this live music video, she sings the Banshees song Sin in my heart. And plays second guitar to the late John McGeoch’s lead guitar.

This live music video from the USA says about itself:

Dead Sara – Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine cover)

Dead Sara performing Killing in the Name Of at the Echo in Los Angeles on 5/6/2014.

Chris Null and [lead guitarist] Siouxsie Medley venture into the crowd to play towards the end.

Suzie Medley changed her name to Siouxsie mainly because of her partly Native American ancestry.

Finally, Dr Siouxsie Wiles from New Zealand.

Ever since she was a teenager, she has dyed her hair pink.

She now angers right-wingers in New Zealand who want to ‘kick that woman off TV’.

She gets hate mail from sexists who hate women, especially pink-haired women who supposedly ‘cannot be real scientists’. And from ‘coronavirus is just a little flu‘ ‘Flu Klux Klan‘ persons who would not mind if in New Zealand as many people would die like rats from COVID-19 as in Donald Trump’s USA and in Bolsonaro’s Brazil. Usually, these two categories of Siouxsie Wiles haters are the same persons.

Bats may help against COVID-19

This 2014 video says about itself:

This 48-minute documentary explores the world of bats and the scientists who study them — including the late Donald Griffin, a Harvard zoologist who was the first to describe their echolocation ability in the 1940s. Using 3-D graphics to recreate the bats’ acoustic vision and shooting with infra-red and high-speed cameras, this film offers an exhilarating “bats-eye” journey into the night.

From the University of Rochester in New York State in the USA:

Bats offer clues to treating COVID-19

To combat COVID-19, we need to regulate our immune systems to resemble those of bats

July 9, 2020

Bats are often considered patient zero for many deadly viruses affecting humans, including Ebola, rabies, and, most recently, the SARS-CoV-2 strain of virus that causes coronavirus.

Although humans experience adverse symptoms when afflicted with these pathogens, bats are remarkably able to tolerate viruses, and, additionally, live much longer than similar-sized land mammals.

What are the secrets to their longevity and virus resistance?

According to researchers at the University of Rochester, bats’ longevity and capacity to tolerate viruses may stem from their ability to control inflammation, which is a hallmark of disease and aging. In a review article published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the researchers — including Rochester biology professors Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov — outline the mechanisms underlying bats’ unique abilities and how these mechanisms may hold clues to developing new treatments for diseases in humans.

Why are bats ‘immune’ to viruses?

The idea for the paper came about when Gorbunova and Seluanov, who are married, were in Singapore in March before COVID-19 travel bans began. When the virus started to spread and Singapore went into lockdown, they were quarantined at the home of their colleague Brian Kennedy, director of the Centre for Healthy Aging at the National University of Singapore and co-author of the paper.

The three scientists, all experts on longevity in mammals, got to talking about bats. SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have originated in bats before the virus was transmitted to humans. Although bats were carriers, they seemed to be unaffected by the virus. Another perplexing factor: generally, a species’ lifespan correlates with its body mass; the smaller a species, the shorter its lifespan, and vice versa. Many bat species, however, have lifespans of 30 to 40 years, which is impressive for their size.

“We’ve been interested in longevity and disease resistance in bats for a while, but we didn’t have the time to sit and think about it,” says Gorbunova, the Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Biology at Rochester. “Being in quarantine gave us time to discuss this, and we realized there may be a very strong connection between bats’ resistance to infectious diseases and their longevity. We also realized that bats can provide clues to human therapies used to fight diseases.”

While there have been studies on the immune responses of bats and studies of bats’ longevity, until their article, “no one has combined these two phenomena,” Seluanov says.

Gorbunova and Seluanov have studied longevity and disease resistance in other exceptionally long-lived animals, including naked mole rats. One common theme in their research is that inflammation is a hallmark of the aging process and age-related diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease. Viruses, including COVID-19, are one factor that can trigger inflammation.

“With COVID-19, the inflammation goes haywire, and it may be the inflammatory response that is killing the patient, more so than the virus itself,” Gorbunova says. “The human immune system works like that: once we get infected, our body sounds an alarm and we develop a fever and inflammation. The goal is to kill the virus and fight infection, but it can also be a detrimental response as our bodies overreact to the threat.”

Not so with bats. Unlike humans, bats have developed specific mechanisms that reduce viral replication and also dampen the immune response to a virus. The result is a beneficial balance: their immune systems control viruses but at the same time, do not mount a strong inflammatory response.

Why did bats acquire a tolerance for diseases?

According to the researchers, there are several factors that may contribute to bats having evolved to fight viruses and live long lives. One factor may be driven by flight. Bats are the only mammals with the ability to fly, which requires that they adapt to rapid increases in body temperature, sudden surges in metabolism, and molecular damage. These adaptations may also assist in disease resistance.

Another factor may be their environment. Many species of bats live in large, dense colonies, and hang close together on cave ceilings or in trees. Those conditions are ideal for transmitting viruses and other pathogens.

“Bats are constantly exposed to viruses,” Seluanov says. “They are always flying out and bringing back something new to the cave or nest, and they transfer the virus because they live in such close proximity to each other.”

Because bats are constantly exposed to viruses, their immune systems are in a perpetual arms race with pathogens: a pathogen will enter the organism, the immune system will evolve a mechanism to combat the pathogen, the pathogen will evolve again, and so on.

“Usually the strongest driver of new traits in evolution is an arms race with pathogens,” Gorbunova says. “Dealing with all of these viruses may be shaping bats’ immunity and longevity.”

Can humans develop the same disease resistance as bats?

That’s not an invitation for humans to toss their masks and crowd together in restaurants and movie theaters. Evolution takes place over thousands of years, rather than a few months. It has only been in recent history that a majority of the human population has begun living in close proximity in cities. Or that technology has enabled rapid mobility and travel across continents and around the globe. While humans may be developing social habits that parallel those of bats, we have not yet evolved bats’ sophisticated mechanisms to combat viruses as they emerge and swiftly spread.

“The consequences may be that our bodies experience more inflammation,” Gorbunova says.

The researchers also recognize that aging seems to play an adverse role in humans’ reactions to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has such a different pathogenesis in older people,” Gorbunova says. “Age is one of the most critical factors between living and dying. We have to treat aging as a whole process instead of just treating individual symptoms.”

The researchers anticipate that studying bats’ immune systems will provide new targets for human therapies to fight diseases and aging. For example, bats have mutated or completely eliminated several genes involved in inflammation; scientists can develop drugs to inhibit these genes in humans. Gorbunova and Seluanov hope to start a new research program at Rochester to work toward that goal.

“Humans have two possible strategies if we want to prevent inflammation, live longer, and avoid the deadly effects of diseases like COVID-19,” Gorbunova says. “One would be to not be exposed to any viruses, but that’s not practical. The second would be to regulate our immune system more like a bat.”

COVID-19 kills hundreds of United States prisoners

This 3 July 2020 video from California in the USA is called More Than 1,100 Inmates Infected With COVID-19 At San Quentin Prison.

By Nicole Chavez, CNN in the USA:

7 prisoners with coronavirus died at San Quentin and hundreds more are dying in US jails and prisons

July 10, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom [of California] is facing mounting pressure to release inmates as corrections officials scramble to contain outbreaks of coronavirus at state prisons.

The outbreak at San Quentin State Prison, where more than half of the Covid-19 cases in state prisons have been reported, has claimed the lives of at least seven incarcerated people, according to a tally from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“It is incredibly frustrating that we had one person make the decision to transfer a few patients from one prison, Chino, into San Quentin,” Newsom said Thursday in a news conference. “That decision created a chain of events that we are now addressing and dealing with. I’m not here to sugarcoat that.”

The prison had escaped the early months of the pandemic unscathed until cases began soaring in late May after a transfer of detainees from the California Institution for Men in Chino.

Several advocates and lawmakers gathered outside San Quentin on Thursday, calling for the release of medically vulnerable and older detainees. California has not had an execution since 2006, yet six people from my understanding in the past few weeks have been executed by Covid while on death row,” said Adnan Khan, executive director for Re:Store Justice, a criminal justice reform advocacy group.

Authorities in California have been releasing prisoners who are close to finishing their sentences since March due to the pandemic. In San Quentin, more than 500 detainees have been released due to both expedited and natural releases, the CDCR has said.

Inside prison and jails, the pandemic couldn’t feel more palpable as detainees were forced to live, work and eat in close quarters.

Correctional facilities across the country have become major hotspots for the virus in the past months and San Quentin is just the latest.

Nearly 100 people have died in Texas facilities

Before the outbreak at San Quentin, the virus ravaged correctional facilities in central Ohio, Illlinois, Colorado and Texas, where at least 91 incarcerated people and nine staff members with Covid-19 have died, according to state’s department of criminal justice.

Corrections officials are still trying to determine whether 26 additional deaths are linked to the virus.

About 130,000 people are incarcerated across Texas facilities and more than 10,500 detainees have or have had Covid-19. At least 1,927 staff members have also tested positive for the virus, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Unlike California and other states, Texas officials have not moved to release parole-eligible detainees or those who are near the end of their sentences in an effort to reduce the population and slow the spread of the virus, despite calls from advocates and family members.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order in March to prevent the release of “dangerous criminals” from correctional facilities.

“We want to prevent the spread of #COVID19 among prison staff & inmates. But, releasing dangerous criminals in the streets is not the solution,” the governor tweeted at the time.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report saying that more than 570 incarcerated people and over 50 correctional staff have died.

The ACLU analyzed the states’ response to Covid-19 in jails and prisons and found that many states have taken very little action to “implement a cohesive, system-wide response to protect and save lives” amid the pandemic.

Coronavirus infections are more than 5 times higher in prisons

A study released earlier this week showed that the number of incarcerated people infected with Covid-19 and the coronavirus-related death rate in federal and state prisons is higher than the overall US population.

Coronavirus deaths and infection rates higher in US prisons than general population, analysis finds

“The number of US prison residents who tested positive for Covid-19 was 5.5 times higher than the general US population,” said an analysis led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Researchers said the disparity could be worse because mass testing in some prisons revealed wide Covid-19 outbreaks “with infection rates exceeding 65%” but many facilities are not testing inmates or only test symptomatic people.

The study analyzed cases and deaths from March 31 to June 6 using publicly available data from corrections departments websites, news reports and other sources. As of June 6, there were more than 42,100 cases of Covid-19 and 510 virus-related deaths among the nearly 1.3 million incarcerated people, researchers said.

‘They have given us flimsy paper masks,’ detainee says

Families and advocates have been calling for better conditions at the Prince George’s County jail in Maryland and now actors Jesse Williams and Alec Baldwin, singer Fiona Apple and several Broadway actors have joined them.

“We’re locked down for twenty-three hours or more per day in our hot cells. I get one hour to shower, use the phone, and clean my cell. There’s no social distancing on the phones,” said Baldwin in a video as he read a statement from a 39-year-old detainee.

The video is one of several messages recorded by celebrities, attorneys and activists for “Gasping for Justice”. An initiative by the impact advocacy project Hear Us to share first-hand accounts from detainees.

The statements were part of a federal lawsuit filed in March on behalf of detainees, describing unsanitary and crowded conditions at the Prince George’s jail.

“I don’t think it’s clean enough in here, and we are not getting enough cleaning supplies. I try to keep my cell clean, but they don’t let us use bleach. I ask for spray-nine and the guards say no. I use a rag and my hands. When I find a way to sneak some spray-nine, I use that too,” another detainee said in a statement, read by Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill” actor Sean Allan Krill.

“They have given us flimsy paper masks. The guards tell us not to lose our masks because we can’t get a replacement,” the detainee’s statement added. “Not all inmates wear their masks; neither do the guards.”

Scott Hechinger, a public defender and director of Zealous, a national initiative to support defenders and communities in moving their advocacy outside of court, said the pandemic has only made the conditions at correction facilities like Prince George’s even more visceral.

“Just because there are not cameras inside, it doesn’t mean there isn’t injustice happening there,” Hechinger told CNN.

As of Wednesday, there have been 19,456 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Prince George’s county, according to data by the state’s health department.

COVID-19 in Donald Trump’s USA

This 10 July 2020 video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Houston Mayor Cancels GOP Convention Amid COVID-19 Spike | NowThis

A GOP convention scheduled to take place in Houston, TX, has been canceled — listen to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s moving explanation.

In US news and current events today, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has cancelled the 2020 GOP Convention set to take place in Houston, Texas amid a rising Texas COVID spike. The current Texas coronavirus caseload and Texas COVID spikes have been a cause of concern for the Republican Convention 2020 for months now, as the Republican party plans to go full steam ahead with an in-person 2020 GOP Convention amid the Texas COVID-19 spike. The decision of Mayor Turner stems from memories of his mother, who was a hotel worker, some of the most vulnerable essential workers who would be in danger of COVID without social distancing.

THE OTHER COVID CRISIS Nearly 14 million children went hungry in the U.S. in June, with Black and Hispanic households hit disproportionately hard, according to an analysis of census data released by the Hudson project. The economic fallout from the pandemic shows no signs of abating, either, with federal relief measures running out soon and unclear guidance about returning to schools.  [HuffPost]

Fauci: “We’re just not” doing well in the coronavirus fight.

Teachers who are parents share thoughts over reopening schools.

Small study adds evidence that pregnant women can spread virus to fetus.

Christian summer camp shuts after 82 children and staffers test positive.

Bill Nye is sick and tired of people not wearing masks.

INDOOR TRANSMISSION ‘CANNOT BE RULED OUT’ The World Health Organization has updated its guidance on how the coronavirus can be transmitted. Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said that while there’s no concrete proof that airborne transmission of the virus is happening, there’s enough reported evidence of its spread in closed settings to merit more research. [HuffPost]

COVID-19, post-coup Bolivia, Donald Trump’s USA

This 10 July 2020 video says about itself:

Bolivia’s President Jeanine Añez said on Thursday she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Añez said in a tweet she was “well” …

When British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive, he also initially said that he was ‘well’. But things got worse for him. He had to go to intensive care. Doctors estimated he then had a 50% chance of dying.

Ms Añez is a rich descendant of the Spanish conquistadores, who conquered Bolivia in the sixteenth century to get rich from its silver mines. She has enough money, not just to dye her hair blonde and for her plastic surgery; but also to be tested for coronavirus. Millions and millions of poorer people, in Bolivia and all over the world, don’t have that privilege.

So, after Bolsonaro in Brazil and Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras, another far-right president gets COVID-19.

Ms Añez, a right-wing Christian fundamentalist, became president because of a military coup supported by Donald Trump’s CIA. A coup with much bloodshed, especially against the indigenous majority of Bolivians.

The Bolivian government confirmed that at least seven ministers, including its health minister, had tested positive and were either undergoing treatment or recuperating at home.

Dutch NOS radio reports today about Donald Trump‘s country:

In the United States, a record number of coronavirus infections has again been recorded. The previous record was set on Tuesday, when 60,200 infections were diagnosed within 24 hours. Last day there were 60,500 for the first time.

The country has the highest number of infections in the world with 3.2 million infections. More than 133,000 people have died from the virus and the number of daily corona deaths per day is increasing in the US. In the past three days, an average of more than 900 people a day died from the effects of the virus.

COVID-19 update from the USA

This 8 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

COVID Projections Predict Dark Future For US

COVID projections predict a dark future for the United States in the coming months. What can you do to protect yourself? John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report.

Four Florida men face charges after allegedly selling “miracle” bleach cure.

TRUMP RALLY ‘LIKELY’ CAUSED VIRUS SURGE Tulsa, Oklahoma, is experiencing a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases after several large events two weeks ago, including a Trump rally that drew thousands of people. Tulsa’s health department doesn’t publicly identify individual settings where people may have contracted the virus, but its director said the rally and large protests that accompanied it “likely contributed” to the surge. [AP]

TRUMP’S BIG FLORIDA CONVENTION GAMBLE Uprooting the Republican nominating convention from North Carolina and moving it to America’s highest-value swing state may have seemed like a smart move a month ago. But now coronavirus cases are surging in the Sunshine State and the move could backfire if it loses him Florida’s 29 electoral votes. [HuffPost]

This 9 July 2020 video says about itself:

Trump Pressures Governors to Reopen Schools | NowThis

‘They think it’s gonna be good for them politically so they keep the schools closed, no way’ —President Trump says that he will ‘put a lot of pressure’ on governors tp reopen their schools in the fall.

In US news and current events today, President Donald Trump has expressed his intention to pressure governors into school reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire economy, but school reopenings are among the biggest questions faced by America among the larger wave of COVID reopening. Reopening schools without a reopen play is a fool’s errand, because school reopenings are crucial to getting our economy started again, but if a school reopening means that students and faculty are less safe, we need a strong COVID reopening plan to make it work, and that hasn’t been the strong suit of President Donald J. Trump. Much like his behavior throughout the COVID19 pandemic, President Trump plans to leave the problem to governors, while simultaneously making their job more difficult by pressuring them, as he states in this video. There are many questions remaining about COVID recovery and COVID reopening, and none are more urgent than schools.

PENCE SAYS CDC WILL RELAX SCHOOL GUIDELINES Vice President Mike Pence said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will relax guidelines for reopening schools amid the pandemic after Trump complained that the recommendations were too stringent. Trump has framed the continued school closures as a sign of political opposition. But reopening schools safely is complicated and expensive. [HuffPost]

Melania Trump statue set on fire in Slovenia.

AMERICANS CONCERNED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AGAIN Americans are worried again about the coronavirus pandemic after a drop in concerns from April to June, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds. You can explore the results of the survey here. [HuffPost]

COVID-19 United States news

This 8 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

The New New York City? Houston Hospitals Struggle with “Astonishing” Rise in Coronavirus Cases

As COVID-19 cases rise and hospitalizations are soaring, hospitals in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are running out of ICU beds. On Tuesday, Texas set a grim new record of 10,000 new cases in a single day. “It’s been astonishing,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Dr. Sheri Fink, who has been reporting from Houston’s largest hospital. “They’ve been adding unit after unit after unit just to care for coronavirus patients.”

As hundreds of scientists warn WHO of potential airborne spread. Global COVID-19 pandemic takes a new upward leap. By Benjamin Mateus, 9 July 2020. Airborne transmission would have broad implications for workers who have been forced back to their jobs facing inadequate measures to protect their health and life.

Trump’s back-to-work diktat threatens teachers’ lives. 9 July 2020. On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump demanded that US schools reopen in the fall amid a raging pandemic, threatening the lives of thousands of teachers: here.

As Trump demands full reopening of schools. US coronavirus case count soars past 3 million: here.

Florida orders schools to reopen as COVID-19 cases surge: here.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer pushes unsafe reopening of Michigan schools: here.

“A rank-and-file safety committee is exactly what we need”. Toledo Jeep workers demand action after dozens test positive for COVID-19. By Jerry White, 9 July 2020. Anger is reaching a breaking point at Fiat Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Complex after reports that supervisors, union officials and workers have contracted the disease.

“How many of us have to die to build their Jeep Cherokees?” Detroit FCA workers call on workers at GM, Ford and other companies to set up rank-and-file safety committees: here.

The COVID-19 vaccine and the drive for profit. By Frank Gaglioti, 8 July 2020. As the pandemic rages across the planet, the struggle to develop a vaccine has become an urgent task. But the vaccines will be weaponized for geopolitical purposes, not to provide the treatments equitably on a global scale.

Coronavirus news update

This 8 July 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus infections are soaring in Central Asia.

Former Soviet states have been suffering a second wave of cases since lockdown restrictions were eased two months ago.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

TRUMP PROMISES TO PRESSURE GOVERNORS TO REOPEN SCHOOLS President Donald Trump vowed to pressure states and local governments to open schools in the fall, despite the renewed surge in coronavirus cases. At a White House roundtable to discuss fall plans for public schools, Trump claimed, without proof, that some schools were staying closed for political reasons. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” Trump said of local leaders. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.” This comes as a GOP lawmaker urged constituents to “stop getting tested.” [HuffPost]

6 DEAD, 1,500 INFECTED AS CORONAVIRUS RAVAGES SAN QUENTIN Half a dozen inmates have died and more than 1,300 inmates have been infected by the coronavirus at San Quentin State Prison in Northern California, as advocates urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to release more prisoners. In late May, San Quentin prison had zero confirmed cases of the virus among its around 4,000 inmates. But after over 120 prisoners were transferred in from a facility in Chino — 25 of whom later tested positive for COVID-19 — an outbreak began. As of Tuesday, 1,369 people incarcerated at San Quentin and 184 staffers had tested positive. Only 13 inmates with active cases have been released so far. [HuffPost]

USA: As COVID-19 rages at San Quentin, a prison rabbi and activist offer comfort and support.

Israel employs controversial tracking tool to fight surging COVID.

COVID-19 disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain

This 7 July 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Boris Johnson should look in the mirror before blaming Care Homes | Professor John Ashton – EP 12

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a a point… 00:00 Boris Johnson blames Care Homes 03:19 Exercise Cygnus, PPE & other Government failings 04:41 Still massaging the figures 05:37 American style press briefing incoming 06:39 Getting stories off the front page 07:21 The curious case of the BBC & Boris Johnson’s Haircut 08:09 Blame the public 10:29 Clap for the NHS today, privatise it tomorrow 12:32 State vs Private Sector 15:24 Masks 17:13 Airborne Spread 18:03 The virus has not gone away 19:13 The world is a very small place

From daily News Line in Britain today:

THE TORIES have no plan to deal with a second spike of the deadly coronavirus.

A fresh report just released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warns that the ‘Government does not have either a clear understanding of the equipment needed for clinical and care workers, or how to distribute it – particularly in the more fragmented care sector.’

UK meat processing factories involved in COVID-19 outbreak back up and running. By Tony Robson, 8 July 2020.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 8 July 2020:

Editorial: Ignore the government: Covid-19 is far from finished

OVER 20,000 people have died of and with coronavirus in care homes.

Twenty-thousand is a significant figure. Recollect that at the beginning of the pandemic we were told that this was the figure that top specialists believed might be the best we could hope for.

Total deaths are now more than twice that.

There are a lot of problems in the care sector, not least the reality that care is conceived of as a business and that its success is to be measured by profits and shareholder value.

When the drive to profit intervenes in the provision of public services, the ability of government to effect necessary changes is always conditioned by its willingness to challenge the values which underlie privatisation policies.

Prejudice for privatisation is in the political DNA of Tory politicians, Lib Dems and New Labour types alike, and it takes more than evidence or experience to divert them from their defence of the indefensible.

Disastrous as it has been, the more or less complete shift to private ownership is not of itself responsible for the high rate of deaths in care homes.

The full responsibility lies in the hands of the people who thought a systematic transfer of people from hospital to care homes without a testing regime was a sensible move.

This has been compounded by the failure of the sector to anticipate demand for personal protective equipment or of government to fully provide across the sector.

Shifting vulnerable people from a place where professional medical advice and treatment was immediately available to the care sector where none of this was universally available has proved to be a disaster.

Boris Johnson’s grotesque bid to place the responsibility for this level of deaths on care homes themselves exceeds the boundaries of bad taste already pushed to the limit by the Premier’s characteristic buffoonery.

It is not simply a transparent manoeuvre to displace responsibility for the failures of his government but is a more ambitious bid to present the next stage in the government’s campaign to open up the economy and loosen the measures which informed and expert opinion still thinks are necessary to contain the virus.

The alarming feature of this process is the complete failure to resource the means by which infection rates can be effectively monitored, and those infected, isolated and treated and their contacts tracked down and tested themselves.

Independent Sage says NHS Test and Trace is not reaching sufficient numbers of newly symptomatic people and fewer than half of contacts reached within three days of a person are being tested.

We can listen to the sunshine sentiments of the government or we can take a cold, hard look at the real picture. But we don’t know the real picture because, as the Independent Sage group of scientists and doctors says, we don’t know if reported declines in positive confirmed cases are accurate because fewer people are getting tested or fewer people are having Covid-19 or a combination of both.

We do know that the steady decline in new infections has stopped, that nowhere in Britain does contact tracing appear as a key part of the Covid-19 response, and that only Scotland encourages testing.

Faced with an alarming tendency for government to fudge the scientific and medical advice it is getting and to relax social distancing and infection control measures, the sensible reaction is to take extra personal care.

Millions of people have learnt to modify their behaviour. They are also learning to distrust the government.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

PM BORIS Johnson was condemned yesterday after trying to pin the 20,000 plus coronavirus deaths in care homes on care home staff saying: ‘Too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures’ during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mark Adams, CEO of charity Community Integrated Care, told the BBC the PM’s comments were ‘cowardly’. He continued: ‘I think at best this was clumsy and cowardly. But to be honest with you, if this is genuinely his view, I think we’re almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality where the government sets the rules, we follow them, they don’t like the results, they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best.’

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 8 July 2020:

The government still has no plans for PPE shortages, MPs warn, after PM blames care homes

THE government still has no proper plans to ensure that hospitals and care homes have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with a second wave of coronavirus, MPs have warned today.

The cross-party Commons public accounts committee said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was not treating the issue with “sufficient urgency.”

It comes after Downing Street declined to apologise for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments on Monday, when he implied that care homes might be to blame for deaths because “too many … didn’t really follow the procedures.”

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain, 7 July 2020:

Commons catering staff could be advised to walk out over unsafe conditions amid pandemic, says union

CATERING staff at the House of Commons could be advised to walk out if health and safety measures are not put in place, a union warned today.

The London region branch of GMB is calling on management to adhere to regulations and the government’s guidance on Covid-19, and to meet five coronavirus safety tests.

If the tests are not passed and protective measures are not enacted “as a matter of urgency,” they will consider the workplace unsafe and tell staff that they have the right to leave, the union said.

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy. By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020. Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.