Davos & how the powerful live with covid
Clean air is the new inequality
This week the World Economic Forum, the current favourite boogeyman of conspiracy theorists is holding its annual Davos conference.
The conference demonstrates how the rich and powerful are learning to live with covid, and it’s not how they have decided the rest of us will.
Attendees from the press and people on social media have been taking note of the covid mitigations in place to protect billionaires and politicians.
PCR tests are requires to activate ID cards.
HEPA air filters are visible in every room. The picture below is of the German and Indian Health ministers in conversation, both have supported the removal of protections they are benefitting from in the picture.
In fact the list of precautions look a lot like the approach advocated by those who have been ridiculed by members of UKHSA.
While the general public are urged to return to normal and accept repeat reinfection, living with covid has a different definition when it comes to the rich and powerful.
It’s the same with the UK's Houses of Parliament which has had its HVAC upgraded with Electrostatic Precipitators to remove viruses and bacteria from the air.
I’m reminded of when Robert Halfon MP called for an extension of working from home for at risk MPs like himself while as Chair of the Education Select Committee he was calling for vulnerable education workers to return to the classroom.
Why do those who make the rules have different standards for their workplaces than those they set for us?
Professionals working with UKHSA have said that reducing transmission is pointless as it merely delays inevitable infections, going as far as to suggest schools should be decentivised from improving ventilation and putting in air filters as it prevents children from building up herd immunity to protect the more vulnerable in society. Of course this ignores the fact children interact with vulnerable people, and that some children are themselves vulnerable.
Campaigners have repeatedly been told cost benefit analysis doesn’t support improved ventilation and HEPA in workplaces like schools. The clean air improvements in Parliament suggests the health of parliamentarians has been deemed more valuable than the health of the general population whose interests they are supposed to serve. Is it the role of normal people; children in particular, to soak up each wave in order to reach herd immunity while the powerful are protected and profit from our labour?
On top of the already widening inequality between state and private schools in the UK after more than a decade of austerity there is now a new measure inequality, access to clean air as many private schools have invested in improved ventilation and HEPA to protect health and avoid the constant disruption state schools have faced for almost three years now.
Its often been said that we would be taxed or charged for the air we breathe if it was possible, well it seems a close equivalence has been found in the form of access to clean air in our workplaces.
It appears that we are not all valued equally when it comes the cost-benefit analysis of clean air.
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Yesterday I visited again my local hospital, due to regular appointments for my son’s treatment. Every few months, I go in, not knowing what to expect. My son is old enough to go alone, but I go with him, only to make sure he wears a mask! About 5 months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see how all the covid protection rules were kept by my local hospital. Then I realised, how every single month the story was different, like a game manipulate by someone in an absurd way. I would like to know who is in charge with gambling with covid rules at my local hospital? 2 months after being pleasantly surprised, the opposite happened: my hospital suddenly gave up everything: social distancing, masks, public health messages. Till yesterday when again, suddenly, I was surprised to see how the hospital staff is back wearing masks. Our nurse practitioner told me how many ill people were this winter, because of ‘’being cocooned by covid restrictions’-these were her words- NHS nurse. I noticed at the entrance of the hospital, a big, green sign appeared with the picture of hand washing – absurdly unnecessary sign, considering how big hand sanitizers are everywhere and the fact that this sign was not considered needed in the last 3 years? Why did it appear now? How did the disinformation campaign distorted the NHS medical staff’s understanding of covid? How many of them read the BMJ?
I will never forgive my local hospital, which previously invested in the most expensive air filters and used public health messages to protect its patients against covid, then suddenly gave everything up, encouraging patients to not wear masks, while the paediatric wards were getting full and the country was running out of antibiotics and pain killers. I will never forgive my GP surgery for giving up masks suddenly, while never using their public health messaging screens to tell patients about covid and long covid. Their website didn't bother to include covid and long covid in their lists of medical conditions in the last 3 years. Why did they do it? My GP surgery has small consultation rooms without windows, or with windows closed, no air filters, no masks.