He said that Covid-19 “has not thrown its last surprise at us and there will be several more [variants] over the next period,” according to Sky News. He added that it would likely take five years before there are vaccines that could “hold the line” to a very large degree against a range of coronavirus variants.
Do we risk swamping the NHS with Covid-19 cases if the government proceeds with Step 4 on time on June 21st? In the Spring of 2020, there were about 22,000 Covid cases per week admitted to hospital, at the peak.
In January 2021 there were about 29,500 at that peak.
Neither of those occasions produced any British equivalent of the distressing scenes we recently saw in India where hospitals ran out of resources and turned sick people away, with relatives forced to watch their loved-ones die, untreated, in hospital car parks.
The NHS was not swamped, in that sense, on those occasions. And we should not understate how important it was that it was not.
Lockdowns are ‘awful’ and Britain must learn to live with Covid without restrictions, one of the country’s most senior scientists has warned.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the measures had had ‘very profound consequences’ on the nation’s mental health, education and jobs.
SARS-Cov-2 is a more stable virus than influenza. Trillions of replications have thrown up a handful of variants of concern, clustering around a small set of mutations. These variants are worth monitoring but the vaccines effectively prevent them causing serious illness. There is a theoretical risk of a more dangerous variant but it does not seem more likely than a shift in the influenza virus. If it were to occur, we could now manage it with short-term measures and rapid vaccine modification.
…Vaccination protects the vaccinated. It helps protect others but it means that we take no greater risk in the autumn of 2020 than in the autumn of 2019. Interventions should be proportionate to that – which means that most cannot be justified.
Some are worth retaining, like improved hygiene in public places or greater readiness to stay at home with respiratory symptoms. It is probably a good idea to invest further in the search for effective antiviral therapies. Promoting better population health through diet and exercise is always a good thing. But it is time for a bonfire of face masks and the despatch of lateral flow tests to landfill.
Pilot schemes for nine of the worst-hit areas will see councils offer to house the contacts of positive virus cases in order to stop transmission in overcrowded households.