Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance held a press conference today detailing the latest data on the transmission of the coronavirus. Make no mistake- it was setting the conditions and framework to justify national lockdown. One such piece of data showed us a graph of potential COVID transmission with an exponential curve, a worst-case scenario presented as fact.
The problem for the lockdown orthodoxy, is that people are now asking more questions. Why is it that we’re even talking lockdown when apparently we have a truly exceptional test and trace system? Why is it we’re talking lockdown when deaths are still remarkably low? Why do we think lockdown is the answer when it clearly didn’t bloody work before? How can our economy possibly take an in-out, in-out, shake-it-all-about COVID strategy?
The lockdown earlier this year was understandable. A virus we didn’t know much about; a virus running havoc in our elderly population and a global consensus that this was the only thing we could do.
But Sweden was a control in this scientific experiment and their approach has been vindicated- in fact it is the only approach.
The UK Health Secretary yesterday took to the airwaves to say essentially, that it is on us. No Mr Hancock- it’s not on us or the governments of the UK- yes there’s a few numpties who openly flout the rules but they are not causing widespread community transmission. What is on the Government though, Welsh, Scottish, UK or otherwise is to conjure up a coherent, realistic strategy. Leaders have after all had six months to prepare for wave two.
That coherent strategy already exists- it was the one SAGE originally produced, that of pushing the peak into the summer but instead it was decided to suppress it. And with little population immunity we are virtually back to where we started.
Schools are stuck in a quagmire of red tape; shops are shutting and patients are denied access to essential care.
The virus has spread like wildfire since the kids have gone back to school. Politicians say it’s pubs that will close first, schools last, but the pubs aren’t really the problem. And we cannot possibly lose the schools again.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus is endemic. All we can do is wash our hands regularly and thoroughly; maintain social distancing (but impossible to do in schools); get test and trace back on its feet; roll out mass testing and aggressively protect the vulnerable by reinstating shielding immediately. The idea of a second nationwide lockdown is rightly being rejected by the public.