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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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