Efficiency is not resilience

Following on from the previous piece on Coronavirus, and bearing in mind particularly the purposely reduced capacity of the NHS, I thought this graph below very instructive on the reasons for the overwhelming necessity for the precautionary approach in any epidemic. It demonstrates clearly that the smaller the capacity the greater the need for delaying infection for a longer period.

In so doing it shows clearly another consequence of austerity. A more resilient system could more easily cope with the effects of an epidemic and could actually even shorten the period of adverse economic effect.

As if to emphasise the needless vandalism that the government has inflicted on the NHS, this frightening twitter thread translated from the account of a doctor in Lombardy is harrowing in its outline of the disaster that ensues from not being able to keep an epidemic within the finite capacity of those tasked with caring for the sick…


  1. Samuel Johnson -

    «@Nocastus: There are about 3.2m people aged 80 or over in the UK. They cost the state on average £7,000 each in NHS bills and £8,700 in state pension /year. If Covid-19 mortality is 15% in this group that’s 480,000 people. That’s £7.5 bn/ year. Someone in gvt has done this calculation. 😞😠


    And replies.

    1. Peter May -

      Surely most of the elderly are Tory voters?
      And really the UK government is now in the position of however much money they throw at it, the extra resources themselves are not actually available. Given those circumstances, I have to say I approve of their efforts so far…

    1. Samuel Johnson -

      Yes, that’s it. Thanks. No idea why it changed.

      It’s going to be interesting reading about this govt in retrospect. And the sooner the better.

      Feels like we’re in the calm before the storm we know is coming. This will affect this cabinet mostly indirectly, then they really will, finally, all be in it together.

      I read a not-supposed-to-be entertaining first hand account once of Microsoft CEO Steve Baller visiting his mother’s house and finding malware on her windows computer. He was v confident he could get rid of it, dust his paws and leave w job done. V much to his surprise (the innocence of privilege) it turned out to be not so simple. It was polymorphic and had reinstallation mechanisms built into the OS. Reading of his progressive frustration and outrage was a small bit of karma.

      Experience keeps a dear school but fools will learn in no other–this we know. But there are no greater fools than those privileged fools who imagine themselves & their world immune to what happens to others. Their mothers will be triaged with the rest if Italy is anything to go by.

      Meanwhile, Ireland has allocated 15x as much as the UK to efforts to reduced the retransmission rate of this virus. So, as the tweet suggests, perhaps the cruelty is intentional. There are so many pointers to this it’s hard to resort to the usual not ascribing to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. Last night’s Panorama, eg, was on the Dept of Work and Pensions record of discrimination against disabled people.

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