Clueless and cavalier: Johnson closes the school door too late...
For the 3rd time, the government has imposed a lockdown - and again, long after the situation demanded it. Sunday was the 6th day in a row that more than 50,000 new Covid cases were recorded. In fact, after a small fall in the number of patients in hospital with C-19 during the November lockdown, the trend restarted from where it left off, at an even steeper rate. This number is now higher than the previous peak during April.
Even faced with the vertically rising graph of case numbers, the government had to be forcedinto closing schools, a proven source of contagion, which SAGE advisors already warned of, on 22 December! Indeed, primary schools in most of the country were still meant to open on Monday, with Johnson saying on Sunday that “schools are safe”(which he still repeats to this day, despite having now closed them!). But school staff in many places ignored him, staying at home and teaching online.
The government-appointed head of Ofsted, the education watchdog, wrote on Sunday that “We cannot furlough young people's learning or their wider development,"less than 48 hours before all schools were shut until February half-term. But what exactly has the government done since March to support young people’s “learning” or “wider development”? It did not ensure that every household had free internet nor free mobile phone access, nor even that every child had enough to eat!
Behind their hypocritical outcry over the “poor” working class children who will miss out on their “education”, the government’s only real concern is that their working class parents can carry on turning up at work. And yes, many of these parents are actually key workers - among the lowest paid and at the same time the most vital, yet also with a higher risk of infection by the virus.
Again, just like in March, we’re told that if we can’t work from home we must go to work. So construction, factory and transport workers must risk their health for the profits of the bosses. Just what is “essential” about car engines?!
And even in the food industry workers are packed in on production lines, leading to more outbreaks - as was seen throughout last year. As the government medical advisor said, “Covid loves a crowd”!
After reassuring workers that there was such a thing as a “Covid secure workplace”, we are now told that Health and Safety inspections were not even carried out during the lockdowns! So now the TUC (which knew this!) is saying that the 3X-10X increase in Covid’s spread rate means that workplace health and safety must be “upgraded”. And all work halted in the meantime? They don’t dare to say so!
Of course, the bosses are just being true to form when they put profits before lives and health. And politicians of all parties try to cover this up because that's what the capitalist system requires - a system which is not only worse than Covid, but which makes Covid much worse.