Gaps on supermarket shelves

The COVID Diaries – 263 12th January

Gaps are appearing on supermarket shelves due to the combined impact of new Brexit red tape hitting imports and staff sickness arising from the coronavirus. Fresh fruit and vegetables are being particularly affected.  

More disruption is expected as delays occur at borders and uncertainty over new trading rules causes confusion. Online supermarket Ocado has warned of shortages of some products this week

Virus “out of control”

The COVID Diaries – 262 11th January

The head of the National Health Service in England has told MPs that the spread of Covid-19 is out of control in many parts of the country.

Simon Stevens told the Public Accounts Committee: “We are facing an incredibly serious situation. We have more than 30,000 severely ill coronavirus patients in hospitals across England. 

“That is up by 13,000 just since Christmas Day. In London perhaps one in 30 people has the coronavirus, in parts of London, it may be twice that number and if you look across other regions of England. The issue is the coronavirus is once again on the rise, in Merseyside for example, in just the last week, there has been a further 50 per cent, increase in the number of Covid hospitalisations.”

Republicans call on Trump to resign

The COVID Diaries – 261 10th January

Momentum is growing behind moves for a second impeachment of Donald Trump which has now gained senior Republican support.

Senator Pat Toomey said he believed the president had committed “impeachable offences”.

Toomey also called for Trump’s resignation – the second Republican to do so since Wednesday’s violence.

UK Covid-19 deaths rise above 80,000

The COVID Diaries – 260 9th January

The number of Covid-19 deaths in the United Kingdom has now risen above 80,000 with the total number of fatalities related to the virus increasing by more than a thousand for the fourth day in a row.

Scientists have warned that current restrictions are still allowing a lot of activity which is spreading the virus and that lockdown measures need to be strengthened.

Most incompetent president in the history of the United States of America

The COVID Diaries – 259 8th January

Today it is appropriate to share some words from President elect Joe Biden:

Donald Trump is the “most incompetent president in the history of the United States of America”.

“He has exceeded even my worst notions about him.”

“There are two ways people are inspired – by inspirational leaders and by terrible leaders.

“What this president has done is ripped the bandage right off to let the country know who he is and what he’s about, and how thoroughly unfit for office he is.”

“This isn’t about Republican-Democrat anymore. This is about people who understand what this country is about and the things we have to agree on and move together on.”

Trump held to account

The COVID Diaries – 258 7th January

Following Donald Trump’s incitement of far-right activists to march on the Capitol in Washington, which resulted in the building being stormed, 4 deaths and the ceremonial count of electoral college votes being suspended, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated she is prepared to move forward with articles of impeachment against Donald Trump if Vice President Mike Pence does not replace him through a process laid out in the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.

“I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment,” Ms Pelosi told reporters.

Trump’s coup explodes

The COVID Diaries – 257 6th January

Today the United States has seen the probably inevitable conclusion of Donald Trump’s desperate lies and refusal to accept that he lost the presidential election. His Vice-President, Mike Pence, has had to explain to him that his role in formally counting the electoral college votes is to record the will of the states, not bow to some brutal mob boss who thinks he can order the will of the people to be ignored.

Trump spoke to the mob, wound them up like clockwork and they stormed the Capitol so proceedings had to be halted. Scenes we never thought we would see in the US. It is ugly, horrible but the inevitable outcome of Trump’s presidency.

In contrast, President Biden made a statesmanlike speech – the speech the president should have made. On 20th January he becomes president and America can start to rebuild. It can’t come a day too soon.

Late again!

The COVID Diares – 256 5th January

So, one day after saying schools are safe, Boris Johnson has announced that primary and secondary schools in England must close to almost all pupils, and everyone must stay at home.

Lockdowns with similar rules are in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

1 in 50 people are now infected with Covid-19 and, yet again, the question is why did it take the Prime Minister so long to act. Putting off the inevitable just makes everything worse.

People can only go out for essential reasons.

Coronavirus cases top 50,000 for sixth day in a row

The COVID Diaries – 255 3rd January

Government published figures show that for the sixth day in a row new coronavirus cases in the UK have topped 50,000, with a further 54,990 people testing positive.

The total number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test in the UK is now over 75,000.

Teachers are expressing fears over schools reopening and there is despair after Boris Johnson claimed schools are safe to open, despite the surge in infection levels.

School opening plans in chaos

The COVID Diaries – 254 2nd January

Education secretary Gavin Williamson is facing renewed calls that he should resign as his plans for school reopening next week descend into chaos.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “It is massively risky to open schools when so many parts of the NHS are teetering on the brink. The economic and human impact of keeping them closed is severe – but so too is the impact of thousands of wholly avoidable extra deaths. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up effectively keeping the majority of schools closed until the February half-term.”

SAGE,  the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has warned that it would be  “highly unlikely” that the pandemic could be brought under control if schools open next week.