Dr Owain Williams By: Dr Owain Williams
Lecturer in IR and Human Security
View profile and Diary

14 Mar 2020 : Question Time

Trump releases memo that he is COVID-negative. Places like Panama locking down today, Meanwhile press – such as Daily Mail and Express – are panning John Ashton. “ranting Professor”. I see he is also getting abuse on Twitter. The thing is he was completely right – we are losing control (did we ever have it?). This disease is now interacting with worst facets of neoliberalism: cuts, self-responsibility, rejection of state intervention, market fundamentalism, and lack of care for marginalised. Car crash combination really. My flight home now has to be in the next few days or I am really stuck here on my own. Folks are now self-isolating and that is a huge relief. They have a big garden and can walk at least. Talk to sister Beth. William is being an arse and insisting on going out and seeing friends, she is still expected to go to school. The UK position is now increasingly stupid. A largely absent PM bumbles his way through briefing flanked by advisors. No restrictions on m, just isolate if you are unwell. Yet press conferences are increasingly sombre. Whitty and Valance know that rates of infection will be high and apparently the government is being guided by science. By the 12th we have some 590 cases, but experts think there is more likely 10,000 cases in the community. Many of the people on Twitter are increasingly tearing their hair out about UK response, especially the absence of testing and lack of PPE and ventilators (there are apparently just 5,000 in the UK). I think of the Stereophonics gig planned for tomorrow and I can’t quite believe it. Also, we had 250,000 attend the Cheltenham Festival to watch horse races. It is complete madness. Meanwhile Whitty seems to be worried about people getting fatigued with isolation and moving to quickly. We are not testing and we are not getting ready viz PPE equipment and ventilators. In the UK the number of confirmed cases rose today 1,140 and the total number of people who had died in the UK increased to 21. Early detection of disease means people can receive care and isolate, and not transmit. It is becoming rapidly apparent that interventions in China, South Korea and Singapore are working and they have flattened the curve. Korea has tested at incredible rates and reacted straight away to Hubei outbreak. They trained doctors and created 100 testing labs in January! And gave twice daily briefings and started mass testing in early February and tracked ten thousand church goers (members of a cult it seems). The 2015 MERS outbreak there made them put in place an infrastructure, tracing infection and quarantine are crucial. Increasing consciousness that the behavioural scientists in UK government are getting this wrong. Durham university goes online today Our university more or less BAU.

© 2020, All rights reserved. Views expressed are those of individual contributors. Privacy Policy