19 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Just how worried should we be about India this May Day?
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Just how worried should we be about India this May Day?

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The covid-19 crisis deepens across the world; let’s hope Britain does not lower its guard

We tend to take a general look at covid-19 numbers at the weekend and this past week or two have been quite stunning in their developments.

In the UK the daily deaths tally is continuing to fall. At 132 deaths over the past seven days, this is an 18% reduction on the previous week and the new cases tally over the past seven days has been 15514, not a brilliant low figure but a reduction on the previous week of 11% and puts the UK at position 34 in the world table of new cases.

One league you do not want to be at the top of is the Johns Hopkins league of new cases and India has that unfortunate distinction with over 2.5 million new cases recorded, an increase of 23% over the previous seven days and an increase in deaths of 61%. So just how worried should we be about this when it indicates that India is showing just 152 deaths per million of population as against the frontrunner which is now Hungary at 2874 while even the UK lags behind somewhat in position 14 at 1870. You can check it out for yourself here:

However India is a worry. It is the second largest country population in the world at almost 1.4 billion and its citizens live generally speaking in pretty poor conditions. So the potential for spread of the disease is considerable and as the graphic images on television show us daily, they simply cannot cope with the medical emergencies and people are dying in the street, literally. And with all these people falling ill the potential for new variants is also considerable with the chance that they will find their way sooner or later to the UK.

In one sense therefore it is a brave government that risks a test event for youngsters where they all turn up with no masks and no social distancing. We shall no doubt watch the results of that over the next days with great interest. But even that event does not come without conditions – tests before and after to assess the spread or otherwise of the virus.

It is interesting because within the UK it is possible to sense the relief which is being felt as conditions improve and illness drops but with the prospect of everything opening up including foreign holidays, there is still a sense of foreboding amongst many; it just seems so likely that things will suddenly get out of control again – moreover this is not denied by the government’s health experts either.

The world has now surpassed 152 million recorded cases with deaths rising now to 3.2 million so the rampage continues and will it boil over in other parts of the world? Well the trouble is that everyone wants to relax their restrictions and that is the moment when the disease strikes anew. Impatience is one of the virus’s best friends!

And today is May Day, first celebrated on 1st May 1890 by direction of the International Congress of Socialist Parties in Europe – the Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity. Now we have a bank holiday to commemorate this although that normally falls on a Monday. Actually it is also the ancient festival of spring and earliest celebrations date back to Roman times and lots of countries celebrate May Day for their own reasons as well. Interestingly May Day was abolished by Puritan parliaments in the interregnum after the civil war but reinstated with the restoration of Charles II in 1660 and it was 1st May 1707 when the Act of Union came into effect joining the kingdoms of England, including Wales, and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, a political union which has lasted for 314 years.

Adrian Leopard 01-05-21

Photo Max van den Oetelaar

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