Peter Rhodes on a warm snap, an old prayer and how the human memory might save Boris Johnson

A reader tells me his local pub is aiming to serve people who have refused the Covid vaccine. It's called The Unjabbed Arms.

Was that summer?
Was that summer?

“I don't know how to talk to my son about my funeral arrangements,” says a reader of one of the weekend agony columns. Simple answer: gravely.

Loads of cold days. Three warm days. Loads more cold days. Do you think it might have been summer?

Be careful what you wish for.

There is a folk belief taking root that one day the Great Pandemic Public Inquiry will pin all the blame for 130,000-plus Covid deaths on Boris Johnson, driving him and his Tory cronies out of public life for all time and ushering in a new era of wise, compassionate government. It ain't going to happen.

For a start, look at some of the troubling NHS statistics beginning to emerge. It is now estimated that 46,000 people were probably infected with coronavirus while being treated for other conditions in hospitals in England.

One NHS trust estimates that nearly a third of its Covid cases were hospital infections. Yet a couple of trusts reported hospital-infection rates of just four and one per cent.

All these trusts were operating under the same Government. Yet it seems some hospitals were good at controlling infection but others were not.

We should not be surprised. A report in 2018 accused the NHS of making millions of prescribing errors and other mix-ups which contributed to as many as 22,300 deaths a year.

And that was under normal conditions, not the pressure-cooker environment of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen doctors and nurses worked to a frazzle.

The NHS accidental-death rate is reckoned to be no worse or better than most comparable health systems. But it does suggest that several thousand “Covid victims” have died not from the disease but from other factors.

And while you may rage with a sense of natural justice and want to pin it all on Boris, consider what psychologists call the peak-end rule.

This is the tendency of people to recall an event, such as the pandemic, only through its most intense moment and its ending.

As iNews put it a few days ago: “In short, people only remember the worst bit, and the last bit. If it ends well, then a person is likely to have a positive recollection.” You may never have heard of the peak-end rule. But you can bet your life Boris “Jab 'Em All” Johnson has.

Meanwhile, a group of charities is urging Downing Street to reveal how many Covid vaccine doses the UK is prepared to donate to poorer countries.

The Government's response is that it will share the majority of any future surplus vaccines “when these are available.”

Anyone else reminded of the old prayer? Please, God, make me good. But not yet.

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