by Pseud O'Nym
O.K, I’ll put my hands up to it – after I’ve washed them of course – that I may have been guilty of not taking this coronavirus thing as seriously as I might have. Watching the BBC News last night was both sobering and alarming and not just because I hardly ever watch television news, but more that I’ve been consciously avoiding all news since the start of the year, so was wholly unprepared for the entirety of the news to be given over to coronavirus. There were reporters reporting from squares that would normally have been packed on a Friday night, but because of the shutdown were empty. One reporter gave her piece live to camera as the lights in the bar behind her were switched off and plunged the background into darkness. It could’ve been an ominous portent of things to come, had not some maverick genius wearing one of those ‘anonymous’ masks goofed about and made obscene gestures behind her.
Well it made me laugh.
What didn’t make me laugh however was a reporter standing in a deserted Leicester Square reporting something we cold see with our own eyes. The news a reiterated the latest government prediction that 2% of adults under 50 would require hospitalization and that 45% of people of 80 would require hospitalization. Am I alone in thinking this makes no sense whatsoever? We are frequently told that the NHS is woefully underfunded and is close to breaking point. So, at the risk of sounding a completely cold and heartless bastard, what exactly is there to be gained by frittering away money on expensive medical interventions on the old, as the amount by which their life will be extended, frankly isn’t worth the money? And before you bleat on about how you can’t put a price on a life, well here’s some bad news; you can.
Governments do it all the time, most pertinently when assessing which drugs to approve for the NHS to prescribe by working out how long it will extend someone’s life by, the cost of prescribing that to an individual, and calculating how much the total cost will be to the NHS, to help come up with a cost benefit analysis to determine if it represents good value for money.
The problem is that people are reductive – they tend to see things only as they apply to themselves’ and those dearest to them – and tend to have only a fleeting regard for other people. I’d invite you to look at supermarket shelves before peeling an onion.
Consider this; that whilst have been around 11,000 reported world wide deaths from Coronavirus, roughly 4,000 people a day die of malaria.