INDEX Saturday January 23, 2021
Top of the Pox
People often ask how come the UK is top of the league when it comes to deaths through covid 19. One reason is ten years of austerity which led to an NHS that was unfit for purpose when it came to dealing with the pandemic. Another was that the UK government was basically asleep at the wheel when it came to dealing with a national pandemic.

In 2016 the government ran exercise Cygnus designed to find out if the NHS could cope with a flu pandemic. The result was that it found out that it could not. Rather than do anything about it, the Tories carried on regardless, pretending they hadn't noticed.

But there is more to it than that (and Boris Johnson's frequent zig zags and public displays of incompetence). The UK is the most obese country in western Europe, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Its annual Health at a Glance report, showed that 26.9% of the UK population had a body mass index of 30 and above, the official definition of obesity, in 2015.

Obesity is, of course, a disease associated with poverty and inequality, so it is not at all surprising that another grossly unequal country (America) also has some of the highest levels of obesity and covid mortality.

Inequality does not just cause obesity (one of the prime markers associated with severe reactions to the virus). Job insecuity and low pay forces people to go to work even if they are ill, endangering themselves and others. Welcome to the modern world of Tory Britain.
Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Saturday January 23, 2021