January Ramblings 17 UK Today in Coronavirus and Trumps Senate Trial
Post author By Charlie January 25, 2021
January Ramblings #17 – UK Today in Coronavirus and
Trump’s Senate Trial
UK Today in Coronavirus
Image by G Lopez from Pixabay
It has now been denied by the government that a large expansion of the self-isolation
support payment scheme will happen. It comes after a leaked government plan brought
about the possibility of anyone having to self-isolate due to the coronavirus getting a one-
off £500 payment, seen as a potential way to combat people avoiding testing and self-
isolation due to loss of work income. This means the system will remain only giving one-
off £500 payments to those who have to self-isolate, are on certain benefits, low work
income, and cannot work from home, instead of anyone who self-isolates – extra
payments provided by councils was also highlighted, although there is evidence to suggest
many are also denied this extra payment.
The government also said the majority do abide by rules and self-isolate when asked, they
also said to look at the number of tests conducted each day, that they are high and insisted
most do get tested, despite evidence suggesting otherwise.
In some possibly worrying coronavirus related news the Prime Minister Boris Johnson
said in a press briefing that the now dominant new variant of the Coronavirus that
originated in England could possibly be more deadly, according to suggested evidence.
The Chief Scientific Officer said that the older variant killed 10 out of 1,000 over the age of
60 who were infected while the newer variant may kill 13-14 out of 1,000 over the age of
60. A number of scientists and experts have said that it is too early yet to make a definitive
determination on this, and some have said it’s even possible data could instead eventually
show the new variant as less deadly, and that releasing such early information to the
public that is yet to be fully determined through further study may have been a tactic to
get more people to follow the current lockdown rules.
The good news is that the current vaccines still remain effective against the new England
Another of the newer coronavirus variants, specifically the one from South Africa, could
be up to 50% more resistant to current vaccines on the other hand according to a remark
made by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock from a leaked webinar with business leaders
and travel agents, although he did also say that they are not sure of the data and so would
not repeat it in public. Such a concern had been stated by the Chief Scientific Officer
about the South Africa as well as the Brazil new variants, although there is nothing
definitive and it is too early to be sure on any possible increased resistance from such new
variants. So far though the spread of the South Africa variant in the UK is only estimated
to have infected around 71 people in the UK as of now. The threat of these variants could
lead to tighter border restrictions being introduced to prevent them from entering the
country more and possibly getting out of control.
In other coronavirus news the Chief Scientific Officer has also said we will probably be
living with coronavirus forever but that it’d be controlled. This if you really think about it
makes sense as eradication of a disease is very rare, one of the most recent diseases to be
eradicated from public spread (but is still kept for study in labs) was smallpox. But viruses
such as coronavirus would be far more difficult to eradicate due to how quickly they
mutate and how fast they spread. It could be that one day once we reach a certain point of
control it’d become more of a seasonal sort of thing with annual booster shots for certain
groups, similar to how it is with the flu. Although it is yet to be seen how coronavirus will
specifically be handled in the future once the pandemic comes to an end.
People who have been vaccinated have also been warned to keep abiding by coronavirus
lockdown rules as although they should be protected against the virus themselves it is also
possible they may still be able to carry the virus without knowing and spread it to others,
according to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. So far there have been over 6,350,000
vaccines administered, most of which are first doses. 32 new vaccine sites are opening
from today to further speed up the process, they will vaccinate health and social care staff
first and then other priority-list patients.
Many businesses who are unable to work at-home will also be offered laterel-flow tests to
use on workers who do not show symptoms to make sure it is safe for them to come in to
work again, such sectors that are set to be offered these are those in the food,
manufacturing, energy, retail, transport and military.
There will also be government discussions today on whether to tighten border restrictions
due to new variants of the virus, although a complete border shutdown is unlikely but will
still be considered. Another thing being considered are so-called COVID hotels for
foreigners travelling into the UK to stay in and self-isolate, they would need to pay for a
room themselves rather than it being fully funded by the state – such schemes are already
taking place in Australia and New Zealand. All travel corridors have already been
suspended and people are required to test themselves 72-hours before journey into the
UK, but many want to see tougher restrictions.
Trump Senate Trial Date
The floor of the US Senate. Image in Public Domain.
Trump’s trial in the Senate which was set to go ahead after he became the first ever US
President to be impeached again is set to happen from the 8th-9th February, also making
him the first ever US President to have two Senate trials and first ever former US
President to have a Senate trial. The Senate trial will investigate the article of
impeachment that was passed on insurrection against the US Government after the US
Capitol breach on 6th January during the Electoral College certification process in
Congress. The trial will culminate with a vote on whether to convict Trump or not, if
convicted he would have been removed from office, but since he is already out of office the
real danger from conviction would be another vote on barring him from running for a
future 2nd term, the first vote of conviction would require a two-thirds majority which is
seen as unlikely unless at least 17 Republican’s turn on Trump.
If Trump were to be convicted by the Senate he’d be the first ever to be convicted and also
the first ever US President to be convicted by the Senate while out of office and as such
from then would likely become the first ever US President to be barred from running for a
2nd term. But again it’s a long shot, but it could be that some Republican’s may want to
distance the party from Trumpism, which has heavily defined it over the last four years.
Also since Democrats have control over the Senate this time (especially with the two
Senate seat wins in Georgia enabling them a majority that doesn’t require a tie-breaker
under vast majority of circumstances), unlike under Trump’s last Senate trial, they will be
able to pass rules that will govern and expand the trial, last time such attempts were
blocked by Republican’s limiting the trials scope. Such a trial could go on for well over a
month before a final vote on conviction. Others are concerned that this time could instead
be used by Democrats to work on other pledges and legislation, and that such will likely
be held up due to the trial, but it’s likely many more would rather see the trial go ahead
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