This Covid-2019 is so hard to manage. After a six months it does not seem that much the Government do makes a lot of difference to managing the outbreak. Despite our breathless media, the same is true in some other countries like France and Spain.
Heavy handed lockdowns have worked in March and April to reduce in the UK and other Countries, but only at a huge economic cost and also a big cost to wider health outcomes. Excess deaths is the real measure of how badly the epidemic is affecting a country and the UK in Europe (likely in part due to being honest about deaths) is the worst affected. This covers not just covid deaths, but also the more 'normal' killers like cancer and heart disease - both exacerbated by the refusal to treat people in hospital by the Heath Service and Government.
But we are where we are and there are no silver bullets here to stop the pandemic short of a vaccine which at best must still be 6 months from any kind of roll-out that would have a real world impact.
However, the Government to me has not got things badly wrong. In March they were unfairly criticised for taking the time to consider how long a lockdown could work. Here we are in October, willfully ignoring the evidence. Matt Hancock I saw yesterday basically threatening the population that increases in local covid cases will see the closure again of cancer treatments. To me, this is totally unacceptable - a punishment on the weak created by the (immune) strong and backed by the Government. It reflects the desperation of the Government to control a bored and frustrated population.
If I had lost my job, the idea I am going to sit at home and starve is for the birds. Who cares about a virus that you are 99% likely to recover from as compared to losing your lifestyle, home and possibly family? No chance.
With the lack of compliance and new evidence showing lockdowns are no longer effective we need a change in how we deal with the virus and one guided by economics and wider health concerns than only covid.
I would go for:
- End lockdowns of all types.
- Rigorously enforce social distancing, wearing masks and basic hygiene
- Open all businesses and schools as long as they can create a socially distanced environment. Properly monitor and inspect establishments, with big fines for non-compliance.
Only in an extreme case of say over 100,000 cases per day would be have a national lockdown and even then only for a couple of weeks to take the edge off the cases.
The biggest challenge is around shielding, over 70's should be offered voluntary shielding by the Government for a long period, up to a year from now. This is the vulnerable group but they are also adults, if they want to take risks they should be allowed to do so, but if they want to shield they should be supported in that.
I am no doctor, but I can see psychologically the impact of the pandemic and economically we are having a nightmare - something needs to change and the Government's science only led approach is not working in the wider interest.