Assuming, for the moment, that Trump loses the election, and we get a Brexit trade deal with the EU before 2021, Trump will still be in the White House until January 20th; and, according to an Oxford vaccine expert, a plausible vaccine won't be readily available until July; at which point, it may only be 50% efficacious (and 50% say they won't take it). Assuming war will rage in one or more regions in the Caucasus, that there will be winter flooding, and storms; and another million or so jobless by Christmas - well, even without Covid-19 deaths, it is a lot to take in.
Now factor this in - the PM, Boris Johnson, who was always openly supportive of 'following the science' has been accused by his own government scientific advisors (SAGE) and Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition Leader, Sir Starmer, just yesterday, of 'ignoring the science' by failing to implement a 'circuit breaker' - shorthand for a two-week TOTAL LOCKDOWN. A mini-nuke, as it were. A paper released yesterday shows up to 103,000 people could die before January if the science is not heeded.
If the science is heeded, Chancellor Sunak seems to think the UK economy (already recovering from its worst year since 1709) could be ruined for a generation. So, where are we? At the point where science, the dismal science, and the merely dismal, meet.
Libertarians want total freedom to super-spread; the young want the old to stay indoors for six-months - and various regions of the North are at war with the South, over local and national measures. It is a divided patchwork of chaos. Where once, in April, we savoured the heady brew of patriotic in-it-together Blitz spirit, and managed to lower the R Rate of infection to below 1, our nations, regions, cities, mayors, politicians, scientists, actors, and people are totally confused, and going in opposite directions, all this heightened by the cold weather, and the media, especially online. Conspiracy theories, fractious debates, and ignorant blunders are more the norm than even in 2016. If this was a hospital ward you'd assume it was on a battlefield, and the doctors were fighting themselves.
So, what is probably coming, in the UK, and what can be expected?
Assuming the best, but factoring in the worst, it seems there is a weekly rise of 25-50%. We could expect 200-300 deaths a day by Halloween. At that stage, a Circuit Break would have to be imposed, and when it ended, in mid-November, we'd likely get to Christmas with numbers down, closer to 100 or fewer deaths a day, and the NHS burdened but functioning. That's a best-case scenario now - an estimate of another 5-10 thousand deaths from Covid-19 by Christmas.
However, should the Hawks in government take control, we could see a more laissez-faire approach, emphasising livelihoods over lives (a false dichotomy), and closer to 20-40 thousand deaths by Christmas, and the NHS just barely coping.
The third scenario is that somehow the virus mutates, joins with a bad flu season, or just escalates more rapidly than more cheery estimates hope, and we see the upper end of 100 thousand deaths by Christmas.
There are now officially more than 43,000 deaths from the pandemic in the UK recorded. Barring a miracle, my current assumption is there will be 60,000, sadly, by Christmas - anything less somewhat on the optimistic side. Unemployment figures will be closer to 4 million than the current 3, and the economy will be staggering forward. A Biden win, an EU deal, and some Black Swan event like a discovery of fusion power that works, and the economy could even rally.
But, so long as the UK is not listening to its scientific majority, we are veering off-course, and July means we face a long dark winter of discontents.
Prepare yourself with music, books, films, TV, meditations, prayers, rituals, games, and other things to bring light or sustenance to your mind, body and soul. It feels scary, it feels crushing. We must strive to endure.