Lockdown 3 (Day 13) Wensum Park

It didn’t take long for the snow to go. Just pockets of compacted ice in shaded corners and the decomposing remains of snowmen on the lawns of the parks. The low Sun was wonderful. I walked with my face covering in place for most of the time, so am dubious as to whether I topped up my vitamin D levels. Just being out in the bright light was invigorating enough.

I was out a little later than yesterday, but most people seemed in good humour today too. Was it because it was Sunday, the blue sky and brilliant light, more obvious signs of spring, or the relative warmth? Or is Norwich just inhabited by good-natured pedestrians? Any or all of that might be true or false. The sample size is too small to verify the posited theories. The evidence too subjective.

The Great Clown has enjoyed a reduced presence in the media these past couple of days, which may be another reason why the populace of this fine city are in gentle humour. Who knows? I hope that the hospital teams are able to share in the elevated mood of the weekend.

The last report from Twitter on Friday was that around 600 people are being treated for Covid-19 in the county’s hospitals. The number of infected per 100,000 was recorded in the local newspaper as 628.9 for the past week for the city; now the highest in Norfolk The coronavirus needs host bodies to live in and this is the vicinity where there are potential host bodies in the greatest numbers.

The question now is whether the third lockdown will be sustained until infection rates are minuscule, or until the proportion of those vaccinated is such that we can start a revised social existence.

I understand that the Chinese government is vaccinating everyone up to the age of 50 years first, as these are the most economically active. In the UK it is the most aged and vulnerable groups first, as well as where possible, medical staff. The UK decision is based on cost-effective use of vaccines considering life’s saved per vaccination.

But are all lives equal in the UK?

The life of an 80 year old saved by vaccination provides +1.26 years of saved life.

The life of a 40 year old saved by vaccination would save +41.26 years of saved life, which is 32.75 times more saved life years than saving one 80 year old.

This assumes every one lives to 81.26 years of age, (the average life expectancy in the UK as of 2018 – which is falling apparently as a result of the decade of Tory cuts).

Like you, I am a little unsettled by considering these calculations, but these are the kinds of calculations that are being made to decide how to distribute the government funded vaccine.

Or might the vaccinations be distributed by employment categories? Of these which group would you vaccinate first? All the (low-paid) customer-contacting key workers? Yes! I say.

Another alternative might be to let the richest buy what they can afford and let everyone else enjoy the leftovers, which is how the “free” market works. This pandemic exposes the flaws in that system, I suggest.

Incidentally, this is what the richest countries are doing, leaving the world’s more impoverished nations to get to the back of the queue for vaccines, unless they magic up some of their own, or break the code and infringe the patents, as India had to do previously with other medications.

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CLP 17/01/2021

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Christopher Perry

Liberté, Equalité, Humanité

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