If you’re planning a new year’s party – listen to your mom

Samantha Batt-Rawden

I’ve said it before on this blog,  Paul Lewis has an unerring knack of saying the right thing at the right time, even when what he says is not strictly accurate. Right now he is being criticized on social media for being alarmist, publishing a league table of infectivity that relies  for its accuracy on reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 across countries around the globe.

The table is inaccurate ; Russia revised its deaths upwards to 180,000 shortly after publication, many countries are not testing to the degree we are and in any event what matters is excess deaths over previous years. But there is a bigger point here.

The second wave is not a ripple and there’s a third to come

On Monday I tried running down from Hammersmith to Chiswick along the river and quickly discovered it too hazardous, people were treating the narrow river path as if this was 2019. I mention this as the path passes by Paul’s house, he must watch the crowds flow by him on the Strand with the same concern I had. My son and I, meeting for the one and only time over Christmas ended up walking along the A4 – to be safe. Londoners may tut-tut about cars parked on the Brecon Beacons but the people on the Thames path were showing no better self discipline.

The current wave of infections is predicted to peak mid January but that assumes we further tighten our lockdown. We cannot afford to relax our guard, we must sanitize and not socialise.

Which brings me back to Paul and why he is right. In response to criticisms he made the critical point which is that our irresponsibility is not just putting ourselves at risk, but putting others- typically people more vulnerable than the people I saw walking on the Chiswick Strand.

The thread Paul pointed to is published below.  It is absolutely right that it is published and that we focus at this time, not just on ourselves but on our wider society. Which is why Paul is right – even though his numbers were wrong.

The bigger picture

Whether you agree with the Government’s handling of the pandemic or not, whether you see us at the bottom or top of the league table – is not relevant. What is relevant is that we are being hit by a second wave of a virus that has mutated to stay one step ahead of us. We have our vaccines but they will not be ready for most of us who will get infected in the next three months.

We cannot do much to make the situation better but we can do plenty not to make the situation worse. Now really is the time to stay safe and put aside whatever extravagant plans you have made for the new year. Paul Lewis’ is that this is serious and @sbattrawden needs to be listened to.

Paul Lewis

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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