Sorry for the absence this week, family illness and other things have taken up all spare time.
The non-stop Covid news is very trying for all of us. The era of 24 media is a distressing one, things are bad enough without the constant stream of inane takes (yes, I get the irony!) across all news outlets, many of whom have given up reporting for the cheaper option of just cut 'n paste Reuters and add some views.
A current issue being raised is the lack of testing for Covid in the UK. Clearly, we are well behind the curve on what we could have done to stop the spread. But us and most European countries.
We should have stopped international football and skiing trips etc. "If only" we will be saying for years to come after this.
However, on the current media spasm around PPE and testing I feel the NHS has a lot to answer for. There is no real shortage of PPE at the basic level, but distribution to the right places has been poor. Moreover, I know of plenty of suppliers keen to help with equipment, but NHS procurement has long processes and rules - it only buys from those it knows already. Addtionally, it has an aversion to dealing with the private sector. By contrast, in Germany they are very far ahead procurement for testing and PPE but worked with Bayer a few weeks ago to produce an effective cheap test and manufacturing capability.
The NHS wanted to do it in house and to work with Universities and their laboratories. Perhaps they would have been better to speak to GSK or to contract it out to them - but if you have socialised medicine it means a socialised approach. I note the US, for all of its many mistakes, also has plenty of testing available....as does Korea, Singapore etc. The questions are being asked of the government, but as ever in the UK, complete worship of the NHS (this is not to do down a sterling effort by it frontline currently has to include all its staff - when the admin side we know is very weak indeed) means that the buck cannot stop where the issue lies.
It is not too late to change course, I see the Government has been super keen on "Dyson" ventilators which has had the Left in fits of vapours about Brexit - in reality it is a sensible move in these dark days to put all hands to the pump, literally.
Let's hope the NHS and Government are learing some fast lessons about moving quickly becuase unfortunately the situation is going to get very bad now, very quickly for a time.