There is so much data being thrown around about Coronavirus now that it is difficult to tell your ‘R’ rate from your elbow.
We have endured spikes in local areas, including Greater Manchester, that have led to local lockdowns and we are told that the government is concerned of a ‘second wave’ of COVID in the Autumn.
On a daily basis, the figures of infection rates and deaths are trotted out as we are fed a litany of gloom and doom from the media – mainstream and social. The propaganda objective of scaring the population into a semi- zombified state has been hugely successful, despite the woeful communications strategy adopted by Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Dominic Cummings et al.
Whilst we obsess with health statistics, which show that you are more likely to get killed in a car accident that by Coronavirus, the slow death of our economy and our cities is largely going unreported.
Predictions of an economic contraction of between 9-14% are now real. The devastation this will have on jobs, on the places we live and, yes, on our health, are hardly being discussed.
I said over a month ago that it was time for the government to move the dial on the COVID debate, be more positive and proactive in getting people back into work and getting the economy moving again. The longer the negative narrative remains, the harder it is going to be to convince people that they can return to their offices, our cities and our fabulous hospitality venues safely- which in turn will only see that economic contraction figure increase.
Why untreated illnesses, mental health and the impact semi-lockdown is having on our children has not been highlighted more in recent weeks beggar’s belief. And, if the economy does crash beyond what experts are already suggesting, those who are arguing for a continued draconian approach to combatting this pandemic will have to explain to me how they expect our schools, health and other public services to be funded in the future.
One final piece of news that I put out there for information purposes only. Sweden decided not to lockdown. Evidence suggests that their infection and death rates are no worse than ours. And whilst its economy has shrunk, it has not taken the hit the UKs has – and it will bounce back quicker.
If, ultimately, this proves to be the case, there will be some very serious questions to be answered by the Prime Minister and his advisors, not just on the mismanagement of the health challenges, but on the economic impact too.