Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo NIH/CC

Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo NIH/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is a world social crisis which touches every aspect of life. The iniquities and failings of the capitalist system are being exposed, and workers and communities are organising in response.

Send us your comments, reports, anecdotes and thoughts, in not more than 200 words (we reserve the right to shorten letters), to [email protected]

Open spaces and mental wellbeing

Bradgate Park in Leicestershire – which is a huge open space and much easier to socially distance in compared to the local supermarket – has been closed.

It’s really affecting my health not to be able to get into large open spaces. How is my daughter supposed to be able to get out for long walks and help manage her anxiety if they are closed?

All the parks should be opened. It’s horrible being cooped up.

Lindsey Morgan, Leicester

Social apartheid

If the authorities stop people exercising outdoors what are people in crowded cities like London going to do when it’s really hot? People who live in flats won’t be able to get out.

It’s ‘social apartheid’. People who have gardens will be able to get out and those without won’t be able to.

Nancy Taaffe, Walthamstow

VIPs living in glass houses

After the SNP joined the Tories’ “stay at home” moral crusade in the last few weeks it seems some people can’t decide which of their luxurious homes they should stay in!

Matt Dobson, Glasgow

PPE – now!

A friend I spoke to the other night told me her doctor daughter-in-law has no PPE. Her healthcare assistant daughter-in-law has no PPE, and her paramedic granddaughter has no PPE!

This is another government failure. Major firms linked to production and distribution of PPE, tests and ventilators should be nationalised under democratic workers’ control and management – as part of an overall plan of production to secure proper supplies and distribution of such vital equipment.

People are dying and in danger because of system failure, not simply coronavirus per se.

Nick Chaffey, Southampton

Don’t blame us

Did anyone see the pictures of people in parks? All respecting the two-metre rule. No need for the hysterical media response.

They are trying to blame us for the crisis but it is the government and rich and powerful that should be called into account.

There seems to be a siege mentality here. People are scared of this virus, but we mustn’t turn against each other. We must look to the reasons why this crisis is much worse than it should have been.

Governments have known for over a decade that a pandemic was likely. Not if but when. Yet instead of planning for one, they have cut back on health provision, councils have cut services and private companies are incapable of coherent planning.

Heather Rawling, Leicester

Hancock – keep your distance

To listen to Tory health minister Matt Hancock you would think everyone who took to exercising in public open spaces last weekend engaged in a rugby scrum!

Perhaps the Covid-19-recovered minister can explain how he contracted the virus – not enough social distancing?

While he’s pondering that, he should also reflect upon the government’s own emergency coronavirus legislation, which explicitly allows people to exercise outside once a day or take the pet dog for a walk with members of their household.

Simon Carter, East London

Mission: Impossible

While I totally agree with the social distancing measures, it’s utterly untenable to expect people to literally stay indoors all the time.

People need fresh air, exercise and something else to see other than their four walls, for our own sanity.

I went for a run for an hour this morning and kept at least five metres away from others. And I counted 25 other runners.

Domenico Hill, Bristol

Tory party – Do not resuscitate!

Toby Young – described by the Daily Record as a “pound shop Peter Hitchens” – has laid bare the thinking of the Conservatives. He takes the view that it is a waste of money to keep old people alive. Of course, Toby Young is rapidly becoming old himself.

Thanks to Tory cuts, the NHS is unable to cope with the ‘normal’ needs of the population and they are already talking about the “tough decisions” which will have to be taken.

GPs have been advised to consider ‘Do not resuscitate’ discussions with elderly patients. One practice – Llynfi Surgery in Maesteg, South Wales – jumped the gun by sending out a note to patients saying that those with life-limiting illness should opt for DNR.

One patient told Sky News: “It made me feel worthless. I’ve lived with cancer for eight years and I want to live another couple of years. I’m not digging my grave yet.”

The advice is that GPs should have ‘discussions’ with elderly patients. That is different from bullying them to sign a DNR form. That is different from making people feel worthless.

The government’s pathetic failure to “ramp up” testing for the virus is part and parcel of Toby Young’s thinking. It is much cheaper not to test and if old people die as a result that’s all to the good in his twisted philosophy.

When all this is over it is the Tory government which will need resuscitating and the public might consider DNR in that case.

Derek McMillan, Worthing

Health and safety

My housing association sent out a gas engineer for my annual gas safety check – not due till August. I cancelled the last visit but I was told it was compulsory, so I rebooked.

An engineer arrived wearing uniform and gloves but no mask. When I asked why no mask he said: “Well, it would be one per job and there wouldn’t be enough.” Obviously cost overrides employees’ and tenants’ safety.

He said currently there are just the engineers working and even if you cancel due to self-isolation, someone else will call within days. He also said that many of his workmates had signed the petition – Gas Safe Register.

Apparently I was within my rights to refuse entry and I gave him some copies of the Socialist Party’s ‘Workers Charter’ and asked if he would pass them around.

Cait Mallon, Stoke

Benefit delays

With regard to coronavirus and the new cohort of benefit claimants, these people are experiencing the same rubbish service that claimants have had for decades.

My only hope is that the roll-out of Universal Credit for ESA claimants will be further delayed.

Adrian B Rimington, Chesterfield