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Sam Case: Covid Blinkered Syndrome

This is an article by Sam Case.

I write as a former police officer now working in sport and health. Policed during the 80’s HIV epidemic and wasn’t even given a pair of rubber gloves.

Justifying legislation to place healthy people into forced quarantine is something that should be resisted if we truly believe in any sense of human rights and freedoms. Period. No if or buts. No saving the NHS. No excuse, never.

For years I tried to catch, prosecute and lock away violent criminals, I was quite successful. They had rights and a justice system designed to ensure their liberty was only taken when absolutely necessary. So why do we bother with trials? Because taking away someones liberty and freedoms is a very serious and awful thing to do. Last resort territory. Not something to do on shaky evidence or opinion of a bloke down the pub.

I could end almost all crime including murder, child abuse, rape and countless other nasties. I could solve road deaths, drownings, electrocutions, basically anything that causes harm and death. How? I’ll legislate to lock up the suspected rather than the guilty, I’ll stop all driving over 10mph, razor wire all open water including the ocean, fill in all garden ponds, ban baths, refuse appeals, no parole. You get the picture. My slogan would be ‘Anything Goes to Save Lives’.

With blistering speed we have descended into a downward spiral of centralised control, criminal sanctions and daft, risk-averse reasoning. All applied to ordinary folk, doing wicked things like visiting their grandchildren. Nothing to be proud of whichever way you try to justify it. We then have those individuals with no limit to their notion of self importance. They embrace the current situation with glee, often making grand public statements. I am not talking here of journalists, who are prone to exaggeration and sensationalism. Or politicians who spin and divert through fair means and foul. No, I’m talking about large public and private institutions who have fallen, lockstep, behind the central narrative without pause or question.

Only this week I received my copy of the National Trust (NT) magazine, and to my surprise it seems the NT Director General is now an epidemiologist. Wise words to welcome the reader below the clichéd thumbnail image:

But we know the only way we will beat this virus is if we all make a contribution by staying indoors

How very sad that she feels the need to lecture the population and support the lockdown. No research, no expertise (whatever that means), no consideration of what harm isolation and confinement can do, just a dogmatic pronouncement. FOLLOW OR BE DAMNED.

The NT is not alone in this blind allegiance. Take organisations that have a central role in sport, health and water safety, and well-funded sporting governing bodies. Take the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) and the revered Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). These have responded with varying degrees of absurdity, panic and unquestioning support for the lockdown. Vying to outbid the current restrictions with their own list of things we should not be able to do. This is from the Chief Executive of British Triathlon:

We would encourage anyone considering open water swimming over the coming weeks to think before doing so and read our advice very carefully …

During these unprecedented times, it is vital that we think of others before ourselves and make sure we neither risk the spreading of the Covid-19 virus or place unnecessary burden on emergency services.

The phrase ‘burden on emergency services’ made me chuckle as A&E departments have been rather underused of late. No reflection on the risk and probability of spreading infection when swimming outdoors? No questioning of the message to desist in such activity, regardless of the fact that the Government encouraged it. No consideration that thousands of people use cold water immersion and swimming for mental-health issues and pain relief. No trust that swimmers – more people drown in the UK whilst out walking, running and fishing than swimming – already use their common sense and think before they swim.

British Swimming set about their own lockdown policy by initially declaring that open-water swimming was banned when it never was, and the RNLI, bless them, having had weeks to prepare new protocols, are still absent from our beaches for fear that their staff may become infected. Close the beaches! Lifeguards are mainly young and fit who regularly risk life and limb battling through surf and swell to pluck unconscious surfers and screaming kids on inflatables from the water. I know most lifeguards are willing but the organisation is in a panic.

This segues me nicely onto my role as an aquatic lifesaver. I have been reviewing the First Aid and CPR protocols issued by the Resuscitation Council UK and others including UK Search and Rescue (SAR). This is just one mad gem:

If a bystander or family member has already commenced CPR including chest compressions, and hence has likely already been exposed, consider supporting them continuing this intervention by provision of guidance at a safe distance and focusing efforts on marshalling other emergency services to scene as they arrive…

Do not use airway adjuncts, suction, rescue breaths, bag-valve-mask ventilation or high flow oxygen therapy.

(UK SAR Medical Guidence Covid 19 p. 3. Bold my emphasis.)

So it is suggested that highly trained SAR first responders should allow untrained bystanders to continue chest compressions alone, whilst they shout encouragement from a distance downwind, or should that be upwind because shouting is an aerosol generating procedure (AGP)? Maybe a megaphone from 25mm, or better still over the phone? Or just send the bin men with a body bag after seventy-two hours in case the virus persists on clothing. Then chalk the death up to Covid-19. The mind boggles. Years of first-aid awareness and community engagement flushed down the pan in an instant. I’ve already witnessed this hesitation and reluctance to help people in need. If this is the New Normal then we are all f*****.

I have asked those responsible the following:;

If we suspect that a viral infection is widespread in the community and transmitted by aerosol/droplets (AGPs), and that rescuers and health care professionals are at risk, and that this infection can cause thousands of deaths, then why have we never used these protocols for flu-like illnesses?

The ‘experts’ all remain silent on this one. Not even considered it, I suspect. A new disease called COVID Blinkered Syndrome or Covid BS for short.

Organisations including the police service could and should carry out their duties without expressing their own, often personal opinion, as to the rights and wrongs of a political decision. Make no mistake, lockdown is a political decision, it’s not science or a health policy. They all need to knuckle down and stop being unduly afraid of nature, for that is the world we inhabit. Being alive cannot be measured by a heartbeat alone, life has a 100% mortality rate.

I for one will give you or your child rescue breaths when needed, you or they will almost certainly die without them. I will happily take the risk I may get infected and die. I will do this for strangers and those I disagree with, without hesitation. Would you now do the same?

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Sam Case: Covid Blinkered Syndrome