COUNTING Covid cases, a cancelled Christmas and supermarket shortages were the issues raised by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Daily Express

Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford University, said that during the Vietnam war, generals counted enemy casualties as a marker of progress.

“Every enemy body bag was a step towards victory, up until the war was lost,” he said. “It was a poor surrogate marker that moved policy in a disastrously wrong direction. We are making a similar mistake with Covid.”

He said that instead of body bags, we count the number of positive cases.but that counting cases is not just useless; it is actively harmful.

“Cases will come and go with the seasons whatever we do, Covid deaths will no longer rise in proportion thanks to the vaccine-protection. Epidemiologists can track cases using population sampling and surveillance systems as they like, but there is no further need for lockdown, quarantines and fear. “

The Independent

Chris Stevenson said the list of companies going public about facing supply chain issues just keeps getting longer - Greggs, Iceland, the Co-op, Nandos, KFC.

“We are now fully in “crisis” territory, with many across the food industry expecting problems to stretch towards Christmas and beyond,” he said.

“With last Christmas having been disrupted by Covid – another factor, alongside Brexit, in the lorry driver shortages that are helping create the shortages – the government can ill afford more nationwide issues this year.

“While there is clearly a priority issue at the moment – the evacuation of people out of Afghanistan – ministers will need to talk about the way these issues will be solved at some point soon. Pressure will only grow.”

The Daily Mail

Stephen Glover said Remainers were gloating over the supermarket shortages.

“Ardent anti-Brexiteers attribute to a shortage of foreign lorry drivers they claim has been caused by our leaving the EU,” he said. “ Although there may be shortages caused by a lack of lorry drivers — no milkshakes at McDonald’s or chicken at Nando’s — these are likely to be temporary.

“Covid is one factor behind the dearth of drivers. Brexit is another inasmuch as several thousand of them have returned to the EU and not come back.

“But isn’t this a cause for celebration? The low wages of lorry drivers were kept down by the plenitude of East Europeans prepared to work for poor pay.

Having fewer East European drivers will entail shortages in the short term. That in turn will lead to employers (who have benefited greatly from cheap labour) raising pay rates.”