Coronavirus 25th March 2020

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

1. The local hospital rang Antoinette this morning to cancel her next physiotherapy appointment. Apparently, the hospital is closing its doors to sick people. I found this a little odd because it’s a small hospital with no A&E and no ITU beds. Still, I have long waited for the day when hospitals decided it was better not to let the corridors and wards get filled up with poorly people. I wonder how many millions of other people in pain are being told that their hospital appointment is cancelled.

2. I am astonished that the only people being tested for the coronavirus are the seriously ill who are in hospital. Epidemiologically, we need to know how many people have had the coronavirus (with or without symptoms) in order to make plans. We are convinced that Antoinette had the coronavirus. A short while ago she was coughed on in a health food store by someone, and a few days later she developed symptoms. The cough was so bad she damaged ribs on her healthy side and has a good deal of pain there. The tissues on her left side are burnt up by the radiotherapy and scarred by surgery and the tissues on her right side are damaged by coughing.

3. Sorry if you sent an email and I didn’t get it. Emails keep disappearing. I wonder where they go.

4. I spent ages today trying to get through to the Sainsbury hotline to report myself as being an elderly person – in the hope that we could then book a supermarket delivery. It would have been easier to get through to the tax office. All I got was an occasional message telling me to do what the Government tells me to do and stay indoors. I don’t suppose anyone in the Government saw the irony in that. We can’t get a food delivery but we have to stay indoors. Having spent most of the day ringing the priority delivery number (so that we can order food) I eventually got a recorded message which told me I had to go to to register. I went to but after ten minutes I gave up – having failed to find anywhere to register. And what, pray, about the five million people (most of them elderly) who do not have access to the internet? I have to say that the Government in Britain has made a complete hash of caring for its citizens. It had plenty of time to organise adequate phone and food delivery services as originally promised but it has failed dismally. It would have been easy to use existing call centres to provide folk with a place to obtain information. And, for heaven’s sake, we live at a time when the Government knows everything about us. Why not just tell the supermarkets who the over 70s are? For millions, it’ll be fried carpet for dinner until someone in the Government works out that if you lock everyone in you have to make an effort to keep them alive. Unless, of course, you don’t want them to stay alive. But that’s the thought that got me into trouble in the first place.

5. It is now that we need more self-service check out points in supermarkets to avoid putting supermarket cashiers in the firing line – having to confront hundreds of people face to face. Testing supermarket cashiers should be a priority over testing celebrities and footballers.

6. The big danger with the coronavirus is pneumonia. That’s what kills. And it is, of course, the same reason that flu kills. And by the way the flu virus constantly mutates in the same way that the coronavirus is probably going to mutate. It’s the ever changing nature of the flu virus which explains why the flu jab often doesn’t work at all. They are giving you a jab against last year’s flu and this year’s flu will laugh at it.

7. I have, as promised, put a quiz on vaccination on the health page. Find out just how much you know about vaccines.

8. I see that a study at Oxford University has concluded that the coronavirus could have already infected half the British population and been spreading in the UK since January. Professor Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology said we need more testing to find out where we are in the epidemic. But tragically and inexplicably the Government is only testing people who are seriously ill in hospital. The danger is that those numbers will distort the picture massively. Dr Gupta is reported to have told the Financial Times that she was surprised that there had been such unqualified acceptance of the views from Imperial College in London – the views upon which Government policy has been based. If Dr Gupta is right then my original predictions were also exactly right.

9. I still believe many governments have panicked over the coronavirus. I believe the `cure’ will be worse than the `disease’. I could be wrong, of course. But my worry is that, if I am right, when will the Government have the courage to cancel its lock-in policies? Or will they continue and then, in a few months’ time, say: `There you are, we saved you all. By the way, income tax is going up next April.’

10. Happy birthday to all those (especially children) who will `lose’ a birthday in the next few weeks or months. No presents or cards or balloons or cakes or party.

11. As I predicted the other day, our local council has decided to suspend bin collections. Never miss an opportunity to save money at the expense of the citizens. They are, however, continuing with the recycling collections – thereby massively increasing the risks of cross infection but reducing their penalty payments to the European Union. That’s the second most stupid thing they’ve done. The most stupid thing they have done is to close all the parks to stop people taking exercise. I rather thought we were all allowed a brief exercise period every day. The council appears to have decided otherwise. Watch out for a rise in obesity, heart attacks and diabetes.

12. Antoinette has been in tears for days, already tired and weak and now depressed by the deluge of abuse, lies, distortions and malicious libels which have been coming my way. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time and, to be honest, I’m weary of illogical, unfair, venomous criticism from people who have well-formed opinions and a lot of prejudice but very little knowledge. I'd like to take a rest for a while unless anything really important happens. I will finish my book about Antoinette’s experiences tackling cancer – explaining what we’ve done and why. And Antoinette will do more of her marvellous paintings. (I wish I could show them to you.) I hope some readers found the information on reassuring (that was always my unfashionable intention).

Copyright Vernon Coleman 25th March 2020