A 15-round heavyweight boxing match is a good analogy when it comes to describing our fight against the coronavirus. We have spent the last 3 months sparring and looking for each other’s weaknesses as we land a few body blows but no knock-out punch. Although we have flattened the curve we have a long way to go. The ultimate aim will be to knock-out the virus with a strategically placed blow to the head in the form of a vaccine. However, before we get a vaccine there are many more rounds of boxing left in this pandemic and sadly many more deaths to come.
It looks as if Israel has lost round 2. There has been a worrying rise in daily coronavirus infections in Israel. The failure to contain the virus has led to the resignation of the head of public health services, who said in his resignation letter that “the entire country is burning”.
At one stage Israel was being held up as the poster child of how to control the pandemic at a countrywide level. Israel was one of the first countries to close down its borders and to lock down early. The strategy was so successful that by mid-May it only had a trickle of cases. Then Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, relaxed the lockdown and urged Israelis to go out for a beer and “have fun”. Does this sound familiar? Boris Johnson and his cronies are even considering giving every adult in the UK a £500 voucher to spend on the service industries most hit by the economic fall-out of the COVID-19 to stimulate the economy. Don’t you think this is a good idea? I don’t.
Based on the Israeli experience the UK is likely to have a second wave of coronavirus infections and the anticipated second surge in NHS hospital admissions and deaths. The one glimmer of hope has to be our contact-tracing system, despite its imperfections, which may be able to quell the outbreaks locally and prevent spillover into the wider population.
The tragedy of a potential second, third and subsequent wave of infections is that it prevents the NHS from getting back to a relative state of normality and recommencing routine services again. The longer the tail wags the dog more of our patients with MS and other chronic diseases are suffering from a suboptimal service. Although we are providing a remote MS service, that I am actually quite proud of, it is not ideal. Many patients are trapped in limbo on a stalled diagnostic pathway or waiting for routine monitoring MRI scans and/or lumbar punctures and the list goes on.
The following is the summary of the recent survey we completed in relation to remote MS services in the UK. I think the results are self-explanatory and there is clearly room for improvement. I want to thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey; you will be surprised that we do take on board your feedback and just maybe we can improve things going forward.
Any additional thoughts or comments from yourself? They are much appreciated.
CoI: none in relation to this post