Monday, 23 March 2020

Whatever your assumptions, beliefs etc, the most important thing now is everybody's health and safety.

Whatever your assumptions, beliefs etc, the most important thing now is everybody's health and safety.

What really matters now is evidence based epidemiological practice.

What really matters is stopping the spread of the virus.

What really matters is that we demonstrate that we are actively taking care to not spread the virus.

What really matters is that we take proper care for every vulnerable person in our community.

My beliefs are irrelevant.

Your beliefs are irrelevant.

Belief and theory will kill, where knowledge and evidence will save lives.

My dreams are irrelevant. That is all in the future, after we have taken care of each other through this...

The Economy and Stock Market can wait.

The 5G Conspiracy Theories can wait.

The work to deal with climate change can wait, just a few months, even a year. That can wait.

The work to deal with who is liable for bad advice during the run up to this crisis, that can wait.

The Rapture can wait.

The fear of a global dictatorship being introduced can wait.

The run-to-the-hills and get away delusion is just another vector of transmission.

Evidence based medical and clinical and epidemiological really matter.

This video, one of many by Doctor John Campbell, is crucial.

Doctor John is a Nursing Trainer. He knows his onions.

Let us learn from those who have the experience.

It ought to be on all TV Networks.

It concerns what all the people ought to know, in order to make good decisions...

Let us learn from the experience of others.

Why re-invent the wheel?

Watch this video.

John Campbell is a Nursing Trainer, with decades of  experience,

He presents the information the Government is not presenting, in a timely manner, so that we can integrate  that information and understand why we must isolate, shut down, identify all infected people, treatment, quarantine etc, in order to see how far the infection has spread - to make the disease path visible in order to slow and stop that spread.

He suggests we (The UK, where I live) learn from those who have already been through the experience.

Knowledge is far more efficient than belief, assumption, prejudice or ideology in resolving problems.

In my own past experience, in roles where I held responsibility for large teams of workers, whenever I was in a situation where I did not have enough accurate information which I could absorb in a timely fashion, I noticed a tendency to imagine, to make assumptions, to guess, to fall back on belief and opinion, rather than the evidence,

This created numerous problems, for me and for others. I learned very quickly to stop, seek evidence, and work with the evidence, Belief is a very dangerous thing, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Opinion is generally useless, and tends to be a reflection of the opinion holders internalised beliefs...

It is an understandable dynamic.

If you don't have accurate info, and you are worried or frightened, what do you do?

Most people fall back on beliefs and prejudices. I know because I have done this myself.

The job of those who Govern is to provide that accurate information, in a timely fashion, so that the population, understanding the situation, can act in congruent manner to face the situation.

Good quality information, delivered on time.

The British Government have failed in this, and the Media has failed in this with regards to COVID-19.

This is not a 'flu. 

I know because I am in day 7, or possibly day 13 of the illness.

I know because I know others going through this, and I see the statistics... of those who recover, many recover with lung damage that will afflict their lives.  There is a wide range of symptoms, and variations are because each human body is different, there is no average.

That means that each of us going through this must pay attention, close attention to our symptoms, we must understand them and then take action based on our understanding. Belief will not suffice, except as matter of sheer luck.


Then there is the trauma of such an experience, individual and collective.

How do you quantify that qualitative lived experience?

How do you prepare for that?

Honesty is the only way through.

So I repeat, do not be complacent because you have had flu's and colds before and gotten over them.

This COVID-19  disease symptom progress is way more variable than we are being told, the media and politicians throw the word 'mild' around as if it had value - as evidence it is void because we have no immunity to this particular virus, and bad management will kill many, many hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, millions world wide. Mild is deeply misleading.

The Government and Media have failed to inform the population in ways that would support our home treatments, in ways that would engage with is to follow the epidemiological protocols.

Herd Immunity and Take it on the Chin...

If you don't have accurate information, what do you do?

You make it up, you make decisions without all the necessary information.

Which is why so many people have been 'behaving' in ways others regard as insanitary, or even insane, and it is notable that much more voice is given in media to targeting those people, than the people who mislead them.

The media repeated the Government line, they did not challenge it, in the way it needed to be challenged.

The media is not baying for the head of Boris Johnson.


They are not calling for his resignation or his arrest,  nor or they calling for a Government of national unity, non-partisan, committed to the task, void of party politics, power grabbing and profit gouging.

Lateral Violence.

It is glorious of course, to rail about the stupidity of the masses. It's a buzz. People get off on that. It allows one to vent, to feel superior. It is a form of lateral violence. "Look at all those people who are so selfish -The loo roll hoarders, the caravans and RVs fleeing west, the frightened, the confused, the mislead, the hopeful. How stupid they are, how uncouth!" Easy targets. Wrong targets, this does not help the situation...

Social conditioning is real and it afflicts many peoples lives.
Powerful groups publish through their networks lots of dodgy 'information', gossip deliberately to mislead, mask, trigger, bully.

Where do we find accurate information delivered in a timely fashion?

Be VERY cautious of material that sets one group of ordinary folk against another. Be alert to materials that might trigger lateral violence.

I wrote previously about this misleading, manipulative dynamic. I called it grooming. Political grooming that exploits ordinary folk's varied perceptions and beliefs, assumptions and blind spots.. "The Chinese Virus".....

Kindest regards


"Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe"

Thank you for reading this blog. All we need to do is be really honest, responsive to the evidence we find,and ready to reassess when new evidence emerges. The rest is easy.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Kindness is Political : the key strategy when faced with vulnerability.

Kindness is a key strategic dynamic when faced with vulnerability.

People spontaneously making public music for pleasure and solidarity in Italy during the lock down that was made necessary because the transmission of the viral infection had been allowed to get out of control.

Bella Chao!


We do not need to be cruel to be kind, when faced with vulnerability.

These two pages of the same corporate newspaper, in different neighbouring countries, presenting entirely different narratives, speak volumes, dated Friday 13th March.

An appalling vista. One one hand let us work together as a people, and let us take action to save lives.
On the other hand, we have already failed you and thus you will lose more people because we will not take the appropriate action, because the economy - our ability to exploit it - is our priority, get ready for more deaths.

Kindness and it's opposite, indifferent, callous negligence. Some other countries are blessed with Governments that bring care for the people to the forefront of their deliberations. It's not rocket science.

Jacinda Ardern speaks of kindness as a political dynamic within Government. Her intellect, her grasp  of both the economic and social detail, whilst being able to keep the larger picture in focus, her intense concern is self evident, and thus she stand in contrast to the buffonery of Boris Johnson, the narcissism of frontman Donald Trump and others of similar disposition.

Corona Virus is upon us.

I am unwell. I have been unwell since 4th March, and it is unlike any previous illness I have experienced, although it has similarities to colds or flu.

I had no idea about COVID19, I was totally not paying any attention to events in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy or Spain. I was clueless. Until I had a conversation  a few days ago with my daughter, who was also very unwell, and was going into 'self isolation' - a term I was unfamiliar with.  That has changed. I can assure you of that. I am now well acquainted with the phrase. I was listening to her and she was telling me about the virus, and the threat it represented. I, in my ignorance, suggested she was being terrorised by the media.

She suggested I re-think my position, and not be so arrogant. I was taken aback and respectful - my daughter is no fool, nor is she the kind to be dismissive or rude for the sake of it - and so I took her seriously and I turned to examine what was known at that stage. 24 hours later and up to speed, I understood her concern, and I apologised. I had been really unwell a week before, with severe aches around old injuries, as if they are inflamed, splitting headaches, heavy sweats whilst sleeping, chest trouble, loss of sense of smell, fatigue. I had assumed it was a flu of some kind. I was really unwell for about 5 days, and then it calmed down. That was when I was speaking with my daughter. It has resurfaced.

I now believe I am unwell with COVDI9. My breathing is way, way down, my chest feels like I cannot fill it, and I feel very fatigued, I cannot sleep much, my appetite is minimal

It's a little scary, in that there are many unknowns, I cannot get tested, and I am self  treating with Vit C, lots of fluids, rest, light foods, and hoping for the best. I am being kind to myself.

So here's the thing.  Kindness is political. Let me explain by way of looking at UK Government policy on Corona Virus, as I know it today, (I am sure I will learn a lot more in the coming months) in contrast to others who are taking a very different stances.

Monday 16th of MarchBritish Newspaper Front Pages focus on protecting the elderly by secluding them, by isolating them; on protecting the economy by allowing business as usual among the less vulnerable; on police powers to arrest suspected covid-19 patients (with no testing available?) and a front page portrayal of people of colour as loo roll panic buyers.

Crime and punishment, emotional blackmail and vague policy directives lacking any evidence, as grooming devices.

This portrayal reminds me, again, of everything repulsive that has gone on in British Corporate News Media and in online trolling in the past decades, the dehumanisation of certain demographic groups, and the caricature of situations as emotive trigger material, the dearth of honest analysis leading to confusion across our population.

Where is the kindness needed in a time of increasing vulnerability?

I like to think of kindness, beyond being a personal trait or quality, as a practical method, as a way of coping with life, and as a way of learning and growing in the real material world, through experience, reflection, deliberation, honesty and practical application.

We could envision kindness as a social organisational strategic behaviour, in and of itself. Especially so in a time of emerging vulnerability and great difficulty.

Kindness is looking at the whole situation, taking the detail as well as the larger field of view. Making that extra effort to see the small and the large with equal precision.

Kindness is responsive, rather than reactive. Kindness is responding to the needs of the people in the situation of increased vulnerability.

Kindness is receptive : "I  hear you and  I have made sure that you know that I have heard and understood you, and that I am responding to your need."

Kindness is focused.

Kindness is political, in that the lack or presence of kindness in managing a power disparity and in handling governance of the commons has huge impact on the well being of the governed, who have less power by orders of magnitude than the few who occupy positions of power.

A small policy adjustment of the powerful leader or official or office can alter the lives of millions of people, one way or the other, in ways no one individual can counter.

That is not safe, if that decision, choice or action is careless.

Kindness is political.

Kindness is what is missing from the concerns of overtly financial budgets, gross population models, behavioural modification, reward/sanction dynamics, artificial intelligence and machine learning .

Kindness cannot be found in an algorithm or in coding.

And kindness is what is missing from the interactions between the powerful and the vulnerable, in our current political dynamic.

This lack of kindness, of attention to the detail of people's lives translates into a consistent and incremental escalation of chronic stress imposed upon vulnerable people, whose immune systems, living conditions or will to deal with that lack of kindness can often break down under the combined pressures.

This is what is playing out at home, on broadcast TV news and on the international political stages. Break down.

Lessons from 1918 Flu pandemic

To the biology of the virus, to the human body and to the T-cells of the human being it does not matter what kind of political or economic model China operates, what ideology is chosen by any Government.

What matters is that State and the people agreed to a strategy of limiting the spread by top down lockdown, and by a bottom upwards and outwards process of identifying the infected and the unwell, providing support for contact tracing all cases, to identify, quarantine and offer good treatment all the way to ICU level support where necessary, covering everyone's living costs, with an aim to stopping the spread of the infection.

We have known since 1918 that this method works. It is established scientific and clinical practice.

This one chart demonstrates the efficacy of social distancing, treatment of infected people away from the community,  which helped to reduce transmission of infection during the 1918 flu epidemic - two cites, two different policies, two different outcomes.

One city went into early lock down, the other allowed large gatherings to go ahead.

Because these cities varied in their responses, and because we also know that this variation repeated itself across the Earths population affected during 1917-18, we know this is true.

SARS in 2002/3 and MERS in 2012/13 and other outbreaks of infectious diseases spread by human to human have led to further study and development of the protocols to stop the spread of infection.

Learning from experience : China

The Chinese Government and people know that they will see future out breaks, and they are devoting funds and resources to prepare for that, right now. This epidemic in China is not yet over - their systems remain active and vigilant.

The Chinese Government did not suppress information about the outbreak as they have been accused by various western news media. Some errors were made in the early days, and these have been acknowledged and addressed.

There was a case of local Wuhan Government having a go at a number of doctors, for sharing information in online social media, before the genome of the novel virus had been sequenced.  Censorship of those comments as they spread through social media was carried on for a few days.

The Chinese Government and the WHO were perhaps too cautious. The 'unwillingness' to slap an international travel ban cannot be laid at the feet on the WHO alone - that body can advise, it cannot impose.

The Chinese medical, clinical and epidemiological communities were totally open about what was happening, and were sharing there information with others in other countries across the Earths nation states, including the British Government who rule over me and my compatriots, and our visitors.

From 31st December to 7th January was the timeline involved between Li Wenliang publishing his concerns on social media and the sequencing of the genome,

It was the National Chinese Government that initiated the lock down, and threw all available resources into limiting and stopping the spread of the infection, and ramping up hospital and treatment facilities, contact tracing etc...

Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Vietnam have all acted rapidly to suppress community transmission.

Boris Johnson's plan is bogus.

Boris Johnson tells us that "many of your loved ones will die".

He says the strategy is to move 'from contain, to delay.'

Containment would mean clear and timely communication of the threat. a temporary lock down, social distancing, testing and contact tracing to identify pockets of infection, quarantine  of contacts, treatment in fever hospitals and the focus of resources in order to stop the spread of infection.

That never happened. There has never been any serious attempt at containing the virus, within the UK.

Delay is in practice to delay the correct action as indicated by best practice epidemiological protocol. That is the only delay the UK Government have made. Slowing the spread is not the same as stopping the spread of the infection. Slowing the spread is allowing the spread.

That is the policy in how it is actually happening, whatever they might call it.

The UK Government, 'led' by Boris Johnson has carried out no program of containment, and has not acted according the best medical practice. They are pursuing a herd immunity policy.

"Our policy is informed by data modelling and behavioural science" said Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, UK Government. That claim was repeated by Sir Patrick Valence, the Governments Chief Scientific Adviser.

I fell off my seat, listening to that. What  the actual flabbergasted?

Behavioural Science - not epidemiology, not medical practice, not public health protocols.

Nudge, anyone?

Herd Immunity, or Hoard Immunity? 

Protect the People or the Economy?

It can be both. This is not an either or situation.

As of this date, there is no testing offered locally, no accurate public information on local outbreaks, on the full range of symptoms, no contact tracing,  no solid information, in fact there was such confusion published in media and across online  social media that the Government were forced to say out loud that "this is not a flu!" but something much, much different.

As of this date there is still no contact tracing, no fever hospitals, no checks at airports - the UK is still receiving flights from other infected countries, there is no quarantine of incoming travellers, nothing.

No  testing, no process of identifying infected patients as early as possible, offering correct protocol advice for self management and when to move to more intensive care, there are no enhanced facilities to operate that care at sufficient strength to be kind all the way through. Nothing.

No attention to detail, no practical structural kindness by way of policy.

Social distancing, identification of people afflicted, quarantine and treatment in isolation properly supported works as a policy, together, and any gap in that undermines the whole..

It worked in 1918, where it was applied, and where it was not applied, mortality rates went way up.

There are more examples, detailed in the history of 1918, and beyond.

SARS (2002 -2003), MERS (2011 -2015),

In these epidemics, Governments involved chose to deploy all available resources to ensuring as few people as possible become infected,  they chose to act to stop the spread of the infection, not merely to slow it down. Those Governments activated a protocol that demanded that as much resources as can be made available to treat the unwell, and the seriously ill, in isolation from the general population.  The policy was to acknowledge the fatalities, and to keep and provide accurate up to date information at local level, so people know what is happening.

This method had form, has been used to contain epidemics for a long time, and was clearly successful where applied during the 1918 worldwide flu outbreak. People need to know what is happening in order to be better engaged in the process of suppression of an infection.

The worst misleading public narrative for me was the insistence in News Mefia and across the online social media that the illness was similar to the 'flu.

This is not a 'flu.

That typification was deliberately misleading..

That is a dangerous lie.

In terms of prevention of spread, and provision of treatment, the Chinese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Vietnamese and other East Asian states have developed practical protocols which they know from direct experience have been helpful.   Aware that there will have be many variations in dosage and reaction, they have developed the capability to analyse the data, the evidence.

Which means that they have an array of field tested protocols. Attention to detail is kindness.

Studying these as the international epidemiology community does all the time is about helping other States draft responses within their own territories - co-operation is a matter of international care, and form of kindness.

The understanding since the Spanish Flu of 1918, SARS, MERS and other cases of infectious diseases is based on real experience, the truest evidence set of all.

It is recorded in some detail that social distancing, self isolation, testing, treatment once infected or infectious until recovery all are essential parts of stopping the spread on an infection.

We can arrive at a reasonable and rational evidence based observation.

In amongst all of this, I watched  some live Al Jazeera, today and a segment on refugees, in refugee camps, about the vulnerability of those 100 million displaced people.

How can that not be front page news here?

What about the 320,000 people in the UK who are living in temporary accommodation, in B&Bs, Hotels and Hostels where most of those involved are families, all of them living in very close quarters were self isolation is very difficult to maintain?

Are they left to gamble with a loaded dice on life and death with Boris Johnson's pseudoscience and behavioural nudges as their only 'advantage'?

"Take it on the chin.".

Some reality checks.

The T-cells do not care about our political consciousness, they respond to how we are supporting our living bodies, our brothers and sister, our mothers and fathers and grandparents immune systems with every tool available. Kindness boost one's immune system.

That kindness of quality care at all stages - that people care enough to engage with and carry out shutdown and  social distancing for a temporary situation, that the care the state and other agencies take in carrying out action -  all of that care is our immune systems ally, and is a counter force to the spread of the virus within any given population in this outbreak.

What happened - real material evidence -  in China and South Korea was that the transmission from person to person was reduced, those who were infected were treated until they were clear and no longer infectious, until they had proven immunity, so that they could then not be a transmission or infection agent or submit to the disease state again, because their immune systems now know the virus, and have anti-bodies.

And there are variations in peoples immune systems which led to variations in outcomes. Including, tragically many fatalities.

Boris Johnson would not follow this practical, proven advice for all the T-cells in China!

Excuse the pun - kindness has a sense of humour.

Kindness has to be robust, firm, gentle, determined, and given an unquestioned budget for cost and excellence in delivery - the profit is the health of the population, our welfare and well-being.

Jeremy Corbyn is the kind of public figure who could hold that together.

He has ideas, based on the evidence.

If only the competing bullies could just stand aside, just for now, while we are dealing with this public threat, within Labour as much as anywhere else. We need to empower the population to be well organised as a grass roots, to turn to mutual aid, in conjunction with NHS, social services, councils and other logistics support, to organise around resources placed at our disposal according to need, so that we can all live without infecting millions and watching hundreds of thousands to die?

Would that be so bad?

Genuine Social Kindness is calling for all of  this, and more, and those who stand for power and status, the ruling oligarchies, do not agree: what they will tell you, is that genuine social kindness is a threat to the economy, austerity is necessary.

Corbyn is a threat.

Sanders is a threat.

The Chinese are a threat.

Grass roots request for the human right to regulate and eliminate industrial pollution is a threat.

The virus is just a virus, doing it's thing.

There is no 'war against a virus'; that language is puerile nonsense -  there is living with the virus, there is supporting strong immune systems supported by nurturant social behaviour.

There is knowledge based proven efficacy of care.

The Virus has no political or religious affiliations or concerns.

Kindness, as suggested above, and attention to detail are the critical elements of our societal response to the virus.

Kindest regards


"Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe"

Thank you for reading this blog.

All we need to do is be really honest, responsive to the evidence we find,and ready to reassess when new evidence emerges. The rest is easy.