Long Haul

I am reluctant to add to the gloom, but it is the football authorities that really get me. They are living in a fantasy world if they think football, business or almost anything else can get back to normal in April.

The government expect Covid-19 to peak in June. Peak, not go away. It will be early September before we may be sufficiently on the downward trajectory for the government to consider ending the suppression stage. Then to complete the misery please note that some scientists say the virus will return next winter in even more virulent form. So, we could have a year or more of this.

The enormity of that prospect is staggering. The events of the last fortnight have taken our collective breath away. We need to get our heads around the possibility that business and people are going to be under these draconian restraints for twelve months. I hope I am wrong, but we know so little about this virus. An effective vaccine could be months away with global distribution 18 months after that.

So, we have to get into the mentality that relief is not just around the corner. We need a whole new system to support business for a sustained period. Thank heavens we are coming into summer when we can go for walks in the countryside, but the long summer days will be the backdrop to more infection and sadly, deaths.

Who wants a loan?

A great debate is raging about the merits of loans to businesses who have had the rug pulled from under them in a matter of days, and direct cash payment to workers.

We are right on the cusp of the creation of a major unemployment problem. What is a pub boss to do when the government may be on the point of getting the police to stop customers coming in? A repayable loan or firing people?

Gordon Brown knows a thing or two about a crisis. The former Prime Minister was surely right to say that people must be kept employed in their current job. “Whatever that takes” has become the new mantra of the Chancellor. Well print the money, give people security and money in their pocket and we might prevent a spiral into recession.

Test Test Test

We all want to pull together at this dreadful time, but there still must be space for criticism of the government.

It is clear now that 5,000 tests a day for the virus were woefully inadequate. It meant that desperately needed doctors and nurses were sitting at home untested. They may have had the virus, but most likely it was a seasonal cold.

With the current level of testing we have no idea how many people are infected and therefore what the mortality rate is.

Things are picking up now, but people are entitled to express their anger that not enough was done in the earlier stages of the pandemic in this country.

Stay safe.