the long 2020

Red alert, day 44. Lockdown, day 34. Suffolk has 877 (+27) confirmed cases in today’s figures, neighboring Essex has 2202 (+183, about 2X Suffolk population) cases and Tower Hamlets has 586 (+4, about 0.5X Suffolk population) confirmed cases as of this morning.

The UK has recorded 148,377 cases on 640,792 tests (+28,760, some on the same people). A total of 20,319 (+813) deaths in hospital have been recorded. That curve definitely hasn’t turned. We are not getting out of lockdown on early March.

Local politics in Ipswich is frozen as council elections have been postponed to 2021. This means 16 councillors will serve an extra year. Mayor Jan Parry and Deputy Mayor Jane Riley will also serve an extra year in those posts as the annual meeting to elect the mayor can’t be held (Ipswich Star).

Nationally, the thing to be furious about this week is that the UK government’s scientific advisory group also includes Dominic Cummings, as well as the brother of a government software supplier who has worked on Vote Leave and has a contract for the NHS tracking app among others (Carole Cadwalladr reports).

Someone with a bigger platform than me (599K followers) agrees that the US needs a shadow government:

I’m reading Gina Kolata’s book on the flu (Flu, 1999). Some episodes seem overreported from current perspective, notably the botched swine flu vaccine program in the 1970s. So. much. ticktock. detail. But it was a huge and memorable prophylactic vaccine program for seasonal flu. A quarter of the US population got shots. Other countries also gave swine flu shots: in the Netherleands, everyone was vaccinated twice. The US program was shut down when people who subsequently got Guillain-Barré syndrome started suing the government. The suits seem to have been thrown out or settled and it still seems unclear whether the vaccine increased the incidence of GBS beyond what it would have been.

Only the government had been willing to assume liability in the first place so that the vaccinations could go ahead. Insurers wouldn’t touch it. We have had annual seasonal influenza vaccinations since World War II ; and they have been generally available since at least 2004 in the US, and the late 1960s in the UK. It seems likely that governments assume liability for those too, but I cannot find a statement of it.

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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