There is a growing anger amongst the general public about the lack of any proper planning for this disaster. I bought a selection of newspapers this morning and although they were all limited editions the common feature was an attack on the Government and local authorities.
At the beginning of the outbreak the media were supportive and in what on reflection seemed akin to the WW2 propaganda they appealed for people to go to work and follow the public service announcements .
Yet as the weeks have passed it has become obvious that whatever plans were in place were totally inadequate. There seems to have been an assumption that the infection rate would be between 25-30% of the population over a six month period. In reality the infection rate has hit 50% in some areas. However, the most significant underestimates have been in relation to the mortality rates which were thought to be 30% at the worst - when it is currently hitting between 75-80% of those who fall ill.
It's this fearful mortality rate that is keeping people at home and bringing the country to its knees. In Edinburgh alone, out of a population of nearly 450,000, there have been nearly 200,000 reported cases (probably severely under-reported) with 145,000 deaths. The death toll in Scotland is approaching 1.75 million and the absence rate from work is running at 75% which includes those who have died; those who are ill; those who are caring for the sick, young or elderly; and those who are simply too scared to go to work.
A powerful example came from Edinburgh City Council where they bravely tried to maintain services - unfortunately the office conditions merely served to provide a breeding ground for the virus, which led to nearly 90% of staff who came into work falling ill. Learning about these figures it's no surprise that I haven't heard anything from the Education office.
There has been talk from the outset about two waves of "it" coming over a 16 week period. Almost all scenarios had been based on this assumption which would have spread out the impact on services, whereas it appears that it's hit us in an enormous wave - I think back to the image of the Tsunami I wrote about four weeks ago.
In effect that is exactly what we have been hit with, yet the Government continue to reject such a picture - they are issuing bulletin after bulletin proclaiming that we are gradually starting to manage the outbreak - LIES!! - and everyone knows it. Gordon Brown was on the News at lunchtime today saying that they could not have predicted the severity of the outbreak and that no scenarios took account of what we are experiencing - I did feel sorry for him (he's lost one of his sons who had cystic fibrosis) and his wife is in hospital - which in itself is aggravating many of the public who can't get such care for their family. He relied upon telling us that we were tackling this "shoulder-to-shoulder" with every other country and human being on the planet......I'm afraid I switched it off at that point. There comes a time when you only care for those you know - the fact that nearly a billion people have died already means nothing to me in comparison to losing Graham and Kirsty .... is that selfish?