Lives or Jobs? Can we have both?

Dear Members,

Nick Stephens of RSA sent me this article from MIT. MIT have a track record of solving problems and not just being an academic organisation. What they say makes perfect sense to me. It also explains why we need testing. I sense our politicians are saying we need it but have no idea why. Which is why they were so unprepared.

CLICK HERE to see the full article

In the article Paul Romer, The New York University economist and Nobel laureate, says “There is so much learned helplessness, so much hand-wringing.” he believes he has a relatively simple strategy that will “both contain the virus and let the economy revive.”

Reviving the economy

“ The key, says Romer, is repeatedly testing everyone without symptoms to identify who is infected. (People with symptoms should just be assumed to have covid-19 and treated accordingly.) All those who test positive should isolate themselves; those who test negative can return to work, travelling, and socializing, but they should be tested every two weeks or so. If you’re negative, you might have a card saying so that allows you to get on an airplane or freely enter a restaurant.

Testing could be voluntary. Romer acknowledges some might resist it or resist isolating themselves if positive, but “most people want to do the right thing,” he says, and that should be enough to snuff out the spread of the virus.

Romer points to new, faster diagnostic tests, including ones from Silicon Valley’s Cepheid and from the drug giant Roche. Each of Roche’s best machines can handle 4,200 tests a day; build five thousand of those machines, and you can test 20 million people a day. “It’s well within our capacity,” he says. “We just need to bend some metal and make some machines.” If you can identify and isolate those infected with the virus, you can let the rest of the population go back to business”

To add in my own penneth worth.

Yes this makes sense. In the 1918 outbreak which MIT have studies, there was an initial outbreak that killed 10’s of thousands, but six months later a more virulent strain evolved and killed 20 million people – young fit ones at that – more than the war had killed.

This is the real danger. People run economies. People who are scared of dying don’t travel and visit restaurants.

So why were we not prepared?

There is a clear precedence. Bill Gates reminded us 5 years ago, and yet our public sector DID NOTHING.

This was the Home Office’s internal Briefing in March 2020 – 4 months into the outbreak – Staggeringly complacent and just plain wrong. CLICK HERE to listen to the recording.

This is why they were completely unprepared in the five months run up. Even the people in the home offices own research lab, were completely out of their depth.

Nurses and Doctors have died as a result of their incompetence.

We need a root and branch review of what we spend, where we spend it and who we employ in the public sector. Undertaken by credible business people. Specifically NOT large corporate.

The Government suggests that we are all in this together. As far as I can see they are not really in it at all, and as ever they want us to pay for it. And there in lies both the problem and the solution. We need a whole lot more accountability in the public sector (As ever front line staff excepted). That means people who are happy to be accountable because they thrive on the challenge.

Stay safe.



Just as an aside, a retired Nursing Sister we know has just returned to work, putting herself in harms way.

She says that 25% of medical staff are self isolating. Further that you could have predicted who they would be a year ago.

It’s this business of those who care vs those who want a career.

We have far too many career orientated people in positions of authority. That is the part of the problem.

5 Responses

  1. Carl French
    | Reply

    Interesting stuff. Yes we have been let down by incompetents – including people in the media who would rather play politics and dwell on sob stories instead of doing investigative journalism.

  2. Wendy Johnstone
    | Reply

    Awful to think that we COULD have been better prepared for this, hopefully things will be different next time.

    • Nick Brown
      | Reply

      We can only hope!!

  3. Kelvin
    | Reply

    With much of our work focused in the events sector, it has all but stopped since the country locked down. This means income in these areas stopped too and I know many other people/companies in the same situation.

    We need a decisive plan of action from our govt in today’s press conference to get the country back on it’s feet. We must keep people safe, and contain this virus, whilst getting the economy flowing again. If we don’t the long term impact on jobs, incomes, lives etc could also be devastating.

    • Nick Brown
      | Reply

      Kelvin hi,
      Yes Spot on.
      Unfortunately I was advised yesterday that all the “Important” (Self Styled) people in the County are getting together in the Resilience Team and could we all please send them our concerns so they can consider them, and report to central government.
      Its an absolute joke. It raised the question What are we paying these people for?
      Fortunately we have access to Grant and he has been taking our concerns directly in the Cobra Meetings. I am sure we have not been alone, but certainly policy has changed, and the government has changed direction more than once in line with our recommendations.

      In any event “We should not worry because the important people are on the case” They are hopelesly out of touch with reality.


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