John’s UK Coronavirus Diary – No 4 – “I was involved in pandemic planning”

In response to my blog yesterday about the coronavirus outbreak, someone I know – a very level-headed chap – sent me these three pieces, which I post without comment…


(Photograph by Roman Kraft via UnSplash)

I have been a community first responder (CFR) for some years. This is an unpaid role where we attend all sorts of medical emergencies – we use first aid equipment, defibrillators and oxygen.

As the coronavirus situation became more widespread, the calls we could be sent became more restricted as the threat level increased. No being sent breathing difficulties or anything that could be COVID-19 related. Preparations were ramped up within the NHS.

More call handlers were required for 111, more admin staff. 

We were asked: “Would we help?” Two days training AND pay. 

We, of course, said: “Sure, whatever you need.” Didn’t ask what rate. I’d do it for free.

A week later, the call for help changed: “We may need 999 operators and dispatchers. Can you help?”

“Of course. Whatever you need.”

Now, these 999 operators and dispatchers, as new recruits, normally get 12 weeks training in a classroom and then close supervision before being unleashed. This is intense and skilled work.

Last week, I got 8 hours training and I am now on standby for when COVID-19 illness or isolation reduces the current team to below minimum levels.

When the call comes, I shall drive 70 miles, each way, to my call centre. During my shift – which may be nights or weekends – I will get an unpaid half-hour meal break. I will, of course, pay tax and National Insurance on my wages.

My hourly rate? £9.17p


(Photograph by Antoine Dautry via UnSplash)

In a previous life, I was involved in pandemic planning for national government. 

The published loss rate (ie death rate) was based upon 1% of the total population. We actually pre-planned for 2.5%. 

This % loss was based upon the group most affected. 

The 1918/21 flu targeted 18-30 year-olds.

In 1958/60 – children.

And normal flus target the old and sick.

We did an Impact Assessment and, as required for any plans, a Cost Benefit Analysis.

If it hits children (who are 25% of the population) we lose 10% of the kids. Very sad, but we’ve not spent much on them. They are replaceable AND we get smaller class sizes.

If it hits working adults (who are 50% of the population) we lose 5% of the potential workforce. Very sad; we have wasted money educating them, but we keep their pension pots, they will be replaced soon AND unemployment goes through the floor. We pay less Social Security benefits and get more tax revenue.

If it hits Old Age Pensioners and the vulnerable (25% of the population), we have a 10% loss rate of grannies, grandads and the permanently sick. Very sad, but they were going to die soon anyway. Do the maths… up to 10 years x 1.6 million x weekly pension savings, care savings, savings on hospital costs, bus passes, free TV licences, etc etc. PLUS… all those homes are freed-up.

Two years or so after we completed our planning, they accidentally purchased the wrong flu vaccine as the wrong seasonal flu hit us. 

There were 60,000 excess deaths of the old and vulnerable.


(Photograph by Engin Akyurt via UnSplash)

People at the moment are hoarding because they are short-sighted chimps and self-obsessed.

I currently do my shop once a week and buy what I need for the week. Supported by an online shop with delivery.

That said, with my background, I had seen this coming and stocked up way before the rush in January and February with some rather nice frozen ready meals, frozen vegetables and canned stuff. The wife has noted my cooking has improved dramatically. 

I have ample stocks of hand sanitiser, nitrile gloves and toilet paper. That last item is almost a no-need, though, as I benefit from a top of-the-range Geberit Mera bottom washer/dryer. People (who haven’t got one) laughed at the expense when I purchased and fitted it two years ago.

My home is also rigged-up for my standby generator and I have stocks of petrol (in cans and in the wife’s car) for one month of limited usage, along with a wood burner.

The country is two meals away from anarchy…

Indeed, when the power goes off, people will be using their ill-gotten toilet roll stashes in the dark and wondering how long their frozen food will last and can it be eaten cold? 

The shops will not open as lighting and tills won’t work. Cash or barter will be the only currency – the former in short supply as the hole-in-the-wall cash machines cease to operate. 

The mobile and landline phone systems will crash within 24 hours as their batteries drain. WiFi and TV stops immediately. The few who have old FM radios will get news telling them to flee to the hills, but they can’t re-fuel their cars as the underground tanks won’t pump. 

Essential services that maintained their standby generators are good for seven days but need to protect their own assets. Their staff fail to turn up for work, though, as they are sick or self-isolating or, more likely, just protecting their family from gangs of feral youths and adults who roam the streets looking for places to loot.

… CONTINUED HERE

2 Comments

Filed under coronavirus, Medical

2 responses to “John’s UK Coronavirus Diary – No 4 – “I was involved in pandemic planning”

  1. Danny

    More? There’s MORE!!

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