If you are still reassuring yourself that we just need to be British about it all, please read these two accounts by hospital doctors in Italy, which spell out what happens when medical services are overwhelmed:
Note from the above that other life-threatening emergencies remain untreated, even unassessed. It’s not just Covid-19 victims that will suffer. These medics tell us we must take great care with old and vulnerable family and acquaintances, to reduce the chance that they may have to come calling on a system that can do nothing for them.
Once again, please read the above accounts.
Veteran Conservative commentator Iain Dale reminds us https://www.iaindale.com/articles/its-time-to-reverse-the-decline-in-nhs-bed-numbers-updated of the long-term decline in the UK’s hospital bed provision, something he warned us about two years ago. According to this ranking on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_OECD_countries_by_hospital_beds , our beds per capita are fewer than Italy’s, and one-third of Germany’s (which could help to explain the latter’s lower Covid-19 fatality rate.)
Meanwhile, over in Moneyland, we have the insane, Shkreli-like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Shkreli unempathic suggestion from CNBC financial commentator Rick Santelli: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/06/your-brain-capitalism-cnbc-market-analyst-rick-santelli-calls-infecting-global
‘I'm not saying this is the generic-type flu—but maybe we'd be just better off if we gave it to everybody. And then in a month, it would be over, because the mortality rate of this probably isn't going to be any different if we did it that way than the long-term picture, but the difference is we're wreaking havoc on global and domestic economies.’
As wise owl Richard North observes http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=87542 , ‘adoption of the "take it on the chin" option would lead directly to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths.’
North also points out that the UK has long neglected to prepare for an epidemic, and links to this study https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-019-2616-1 that was published just before WuFlu hit and said presciently, ‘A serious influenza pandemic is very likely to overwhelm the health care system.’
We failed to Contain – perhaps that was not possible, in a free-living democratic society – but it is absolutely vital to Delay the progress of the disease, to give our NHS a chance to cope.
Further, when all this (or the worst of it) is over, we need to reassess Britain’s general preparedness for emergencies of all kinds. Waving COBRA at us like a magic wand when crisis is upon us, will not do.
It is time for our political class to professionalise.