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Pandemic narrative January 11, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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On a day when there are warnings that deaths could pass 100 per day in the weeks ahead… strange to see the IT have a piece noting that:

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s criticism of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live programme in October was supported by most people who wrote to him over his remarks. Newly disclosed emails from the public show the vast majority of people who felt compelled to write to the Tánaiste about his remarks backed him after a television appearance that showed, for the first time, very public division between the Government and its public health advisers. Some 55 people who wrote to Mr Varadkar supported his condemnation of Nphet for making its sudden proposal that Level 5 restrictions be imposed to suppress the spread of coronavirus. Thirteen people criticised the Tánaiste for saying he did not feel Nphet’s proposal “had been thought through” and that the leaked advice from chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan and other members advising a move to Level 5 had blindsided them “to land something like this on a Sunday night, without prior consultation”.

NPHET too cautious? Since when does the volume – the very small volume – of emails count in regard to the substance of a public disagreement like this?

But then one has Pat Leahy at the weekend offering this:

My own view is that the Government had no choice at the time but to open up social and economic life before Christmas. If the pubs and restaurants hadn’t been opened there would have been a bacchanalia of parties at home. It was plain that there would be a price to pay for this in increased cases in late December and restrictions in January; that was the implicit trade-off understood by everyone. Yet nobody suggested the price for Christmas would be so severe – obviously nobody would have been happy to pay it. Even Rise TD Paul Murphy, the Dáil’s most consistent advocate of a zero-Covid strategy and who warned repeatedly about opening hospitality, foresaw only 500 cases a day by Christmas. In fact there was twice that number. For all the fierce finger-pointing, neither Murphy nor Holohan nor Philip Nolan nor anyone else was warning of several thousand cases a day.

So NPHET weren’t cautious enough? And the idea that the “trade-off” was understood by everyone is risible. NPHET and others had been warning numbers would go up. That they’re going up even more precipitously is disastrous but ‘the price to be paid’ one way or another was increased deaths. Avoidable deaths in many instances. And this following is unbelievably weak – given that parts of the media including the IT appeared sanguine to the point of unconcerned in the run-up to Christmas “You can argue, of course, that Government should have foreseen it, but not that they did and chose to ignore it. The private view of one senior health expert is that socialisation got us to 1,000 cases a day; the new variant did the rest. That won’t be definitively known for some time”.

Actually one can precisely argue that the Government foresaw a very bad situation, that they did indeed seem to choose to ignore it by allowing for a reopening (a mass campaign against socialisation for a start would have put a dent in those figures) and that the reality has been even worse. The ‘nothing to see here’ crew now in the face of the appalling figures seem to be attempting to rewrite history themselves.

Comments»

1. NFB - January 11, 2021

I fail to see how Varadker’s fan mail is a good barometer of public opinion.

Liked by 1 person

Aonrud ⚘ - January 11, 2021

Did anyone count the tweets? Might have got a different result… 🙂

Makes as much sense as taking letters to the Irish Times as a public barometer. There’s a bit of a filter in place there already.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2021

And that the IT would be printing this as a story. Says a lot.

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2. sonofstan - January 11, 2021

” Even Rise TD Paul Murphy, the Dáil’s most consistent advocate of a zero-Covid strategy and who warned repeatedly about opening hospitality, foresaw only 500 cases a day by Christmas”

See, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about….
Reality check – Sarah Jarvis, who is a GP in London saying, without equivocation, that ‘the NHS being overrun’ means you may die before you get the treatment you need – for COVID and anything else.

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - January 11, 2021

That was on R4 just now, followed by some bullshit from a junior minister about how the NHS will cope, because ‘they alway do’

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2021

Brilliant point, that’s exactly it. 500 cases a day has a knock on effect. Leahy is being obtuse.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2021

Actually it’s worse than obtuse because implicitly he’s saying that lower numbers on foot of the government’s decisions were tolerable.

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3. CL - January 11, 2021

“Ireland now has the highest daily number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world for every million people, according to figures published by the Our World in Data organisation.”
https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/0111/1188856-ireland-covid-latest/

A remarkable achievement.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2021

Small wonder the IT and others are trying to spin this.

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Fergal - January 11, 2021

Seems extremely odd that 55 letters from Leo’s fan base trumps the people in Nphet?
And then ticking off Nphet for underestimating infections?!
What’s going on here? What matters today are the high numbers of infections… M+M got it wrong, end of story and Nphet were right to seek level 5 in October….

Liked by 1 person

Fergal - January 11, 2021

Michèal Martin is M and M! He and Varadkar got it wrong

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - January 11, 2021

“Ireland now has the highest daily number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world for every million people, according to figures published by the Our World in Data organisation.”

Friend emails to say that ‘the news sites here seem to be revelling in Ireland’d Highest New Entry status on the COVID chart”

Best little country in the world to get sick in….

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2021

The sad fact is last Spring they did the right thing and then… they threw it away.

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Aonrud ⚘ - January 12, 2021

Best little country in which to do your business.

Liked by 2 people

4. Rumbling away in the foreground | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - January 12, 2021

[…] Mentioned yesterday the manner in which it appears a narrative is being constructed to let the government off the hook about the hugely accelerating numbers of cases and mortalities from Covid-19 in December and January by suggesting that complaints about decisions taken are being made in hindsight and that no-one predicted that numbers would go up so sharply. That last is correct – but, there were multiple warnings both from NPHET and others that numbers would go up and very severely. The excuse that matters are much worse rather than worse is no excuse at all. […]

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5. The Katie Halper Show – AN SIONNACH FIONN | The New York Press News Agency - January 22, 2021

[…] mainstream media shows parroting the neoliberal talking points of the establishment parties. And defending the indefensible actions of a dysfunctional coalition government that is more concerned with its own well-being, and that of its financial allies and backers, than […]

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