Keep Calm and Laissez-faire?
It come as no surprise to many of us in Britain to hear this morning that the rate of increase of the coronavirus in the UK has outpaced the government’s chief scientific officer, Sir Patrick Vallance’s, scientific model.
According to this BBC article Coronavirus: Some scientists say UK virus strategy is ‘risking lives’ two hundred and twenty nine scientists from UK universities have written to the government urging them to introduce stricter measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
The letter casts doubt on the idea that ‘herd immunity’ will protect us pointing out that 36 million people in the UK alone would have to be infected and recover to reach that stage.
Birmingham University’s Professor Willem van Schaik said:
It is almost impossible to predict what that will mean in terms of human costs, but we are conservatively looking at tens of thousands of deaths, and possibly at hundreds of thousands of deaths.Prof. Willem van Schaik courtesy of the BBC News website
All At Sea?
At the time of writing the only advice to the over 70s, one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, is that they should ‘avoid taking cruises’.
It has just been announced that the government will take action to shield the over 70s from coronavirus in the coming weeks.
Why are We Waiting?
‘In the coming weeks’? It’s been said that the UK is two weeks behind Italy in terms of infections so are why are we waiting to protect the elderly?
One elderly person I spoke to is of the opinion that the UK government does not care about the elderly and it would make economic sense if a lot of them didn’t survive this crisis.
So for now (15th March 2020) the advice for the over 70s in the UK is to carry on as normal: in other words, get down to the supermarkets and throw yourself headlong into the melee of people panic buying toilet rolls.
Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands
However, some of the British public are taking action: some care homes have stopped visitors in a bid to protect their residents.
The Chief Executive of Sainsburys supermarket has sent an email to his customers to reassure us that he has more food and provisions coming in to his warehouses and asking us to think about what we buy:
Which brings me onto a request. Please think before you buy and only buy what you and your family need. If we all do this then we can make sure we have enough for everyone. And please help elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours with their shopping if you can.Mike Coupe, email from Sainsburys
Well said, Mike Coupe – because unless I’ve missed it, the UK Government has not made any comment on the subject of panic buying.
Members of the community are offering to do the shopping for their elderly neighbours.
We Have All the Time in the World?
Apparently, time will tell if Boris Johnson’s strategy on coronavirus will work – however, time is something we may not have.
Meanwhile, let’s hope that Sir Patrick Vallance has worked out how to use powerpoint by the next time he addresses the nation to demonstrate his scientific model.
Come on, Sir Patrick – it’s not rocket science.
Update (21 July 2020) Interesting article on the ‘herd immunity’ strategy on the BBC news website.