Matt Hancock said today "we never had a national outage of PPE"

Yet on 17th April govt felt the need to issue guidance which said PPE could be reused: "Compromise is needed to optimise supply in times of extreme shortages."

Also said lab coats could be used if gowns ran out.
If MH means the country didn't completely run out of PPE well of course, that's literally true- but was never going to happen and not the metric against which the period should be adjudged.

There was, however, extreme national (not just local) pressure as this guidance attests.
And if there wasn't a "national outage" (as I say, an interesting choice of words), why did areas of the wider care network, like hospices, struggle so severely and rely on their community hand making them goggles and gowns?

I actually have some sympathy with the Health Sec's previous argument on PPE- I think we are in danger of forgetting just how dire the PPE situation was. An argument he then proceeds to undermine by intimating it wasn't as bad as we remember.

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More from @lewis_goodall

25 Feb
Gavin Williamson updating the Commons on exam plans for this summer

Says the consultation had more than 100,000 responses

Says the government and Ofqual “have considered all of them very carefully”
“The most important thing we can do is to make sure the system is fair. Fair to every student...students will receive a grade based on what they were taught not on what they have missed.”
“Teachers can choose a range of evidence to support their assessments including coursework, in class assessments and the use of optional questions provided by exams boards and we will of course give guidance on how to do this fairly and consistently.”

That’s...going to be tough.
Read 26 tweets
24 Feb
Never mind unsatisfactory PPE last year, I've interviewed a carer in Walsall for tonight's Newsnight who says that even today PPE in the care sector isn't sufficiently high quality and can be inconsistent.

She also says lack of sick pay is still causing problems
Zoe says there's "still people who have got one mask for a whole day or who are running out of gloves and having a few shifts where there's no gloves...the PPE that we do have is in no way consistent at all..."
...So some deliveries will be really good quality. Sometimes we'll get aprons that rip as soon as you touch them, we'll get gloves that have holes in."

Her PPE is the same type of stuff that they had before the pandemic. Says the problem is especially acute in domiciliary care.
Read 8 tweets
23 Feb
Sturgeon says that although there's been a very large reduction in infections in Scotland since the lockdown, that's been slowing and last week there was almost no reduction at at all. Says R might not be much below 1: "It would likely not take v much easing to push it above 1."
FM says that Scottish govt intends to publish a more detailed plan in mid-March on sequencing of reopening. Today is about "overall approach"
FM:"If all goes according to plan we will move back to a levels system from the first week of April"

Says she hopes all parts of Scotland to move out of Level 4 into Level 3 and some places less depending on infection rate

So Scotland moving back to tiers/levels and England not
Read 8 tweets
23 Feb
Latest economic numbers from @ONS

-726,000 fewer people in employment compared to a year ago.
-Employment rate down 1.5% on a year ago and 0.3% on the quarter.
-Unemployment up 1.5% a year ago and up a sharp 0.4% on the quarter.
-18-24s seeing sharpest decreases in employment.
Unemployment rate of 5.1% is still historically lowish, remarkable given events (and lower than most other European economies).

That said, huge numbers of people are still on furlough. We can’t know what the true state of the economy/labour market is until that fully unwinds.
And look at this chart. Shows the pain in employment losses being felt overwhelmingly by the 18-24s. No plan for the resumption of their university/education and in the world of work they’re suffering too.
Read 5 tweets
22 Feb
BREAK: The United States becomes the first country to record more than half a million Covid deaths.
Bear in mind, as huge as this figure is, it’s a smaller figure on a per capita basis than that of the UK’s.

US: 1 Covid death in 656 people
UK: 1 Covid death in 551 people
Of course, there are different ways of collecting the data in different countries and the US/UK figs are in the same ball park. We can say both countries have had bad pandemics with severe death tolls.
Read 4 tweets
22 Feb
Boris Johnson: "With every day that goes by this programme of vaccination is creating a shield around the entire population, which means we're now travelling on a one way road to freedom."
That could well be true in the long term, reading through the SAGE docs and modelling, it's clear that even with vaccines policy choices could well lead to a rapid increase in infections, hospitalisation and thus presumably extra restrictions.
PM "we'll be led by data, not dates."

As I've said this afternoon, up to a point. Even though we've had a lot of documents today, we don't really know what the exact criteria is, what the data is the govt is looking for.

Read 5 tweets

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