Under the microscope
Tory areas dodge lockdown
Wealthy areas and Tory seats are avoiding local lockdown, according to health officials' emails leaked to the Times. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, decides which areas should go into lockdown during a weekly meeting. But there is no threshold for Covid-19 infection rates to trigger this.
Richmondshire in North Yorkshire, which includes Rishi Sunak's constituency and is among the least deprived areas in Britain, has avoided lockdown despite an infection rate of 73 new cases for every 100,000 people. This is a higher rate than Wolverhampton, Chorley, Lancaster, and Oadby and Wigston, which all remain under local lockdown.
One-third of bosses plan lay-offs
Over a third of UK employers plan redundancies in the next three months, according to a YouGov poll of managers. This is evidence that the government's so-called 'Job Support Scheme' isn't working. Then again, Sunak himself said "I can't save every job."
It's not too late to extend furlough and this is what unions should be fighting for. It's not too late to save jobs! Nationalise those firms threatening redundancy under democratic workers' control.
20,000 cases at Amazon
19,816 Amazon workers in the US have contracted Covid-19 since March, the company reports. At the same time, Amazon's profits have soared. Last quarter they achieved record profits of $5.2 billion.
Vaccination - don't get your hopes up
Less than half of the UK will get a Covid-19 vaccination. Many of us, encouraged by the government, have been 'holding out for a vaccine'. The head of the government's Vaccine Taskforce says that hope for the whole population to be vaccinated is "misguided."
She also says there will be no vaccines for people under 18 - only for those over 50, health and care workers, and the vulnerable. Big pharma has huge resources and fat profits. Nationalise it to guarantee vaccines for all. Distribute them under democratic working-class control.
Tory NHS disruption hypocrisy
"We could be looking at tens of thousands of avoidable deaths within a year" - these are the words of the Tory former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The NHS that he - until recently - presided over, has found itself overwhelmed and unable to cope during the pandemic.
Despite promises to introduce weekly testing across Britain - for NHS staff - this has not happened. "Failure to do so creates a real risk that the NHS will be forced to retreat into being a largely Covid-only service during a second spike," Hunt says.
If the NHS hadn't faced years and years of austerity and privatisation, it would be much better placed to cope. Renationalise it, fully fund it, and give the staff a 15% rise!
In The Socialist 7 October 2020:
Black History Month