Thanks for the reply, Tom. As you say, we have lots of things in place; we now need the right decisions to use them made at the right times. Yesterday's press conference spoke of 'living with the virus' and individuals making their own decisions - fine in the abstract, but it seems they've become euphemisms for avoiding decisions at govt level. You don't need to be an epidemiologist to imagine what happens next without the kind of actions you describe, nor a political or economic theorist to figure out why.It will be vital to see how much the UK has learnt this past year and can put into practice with this flare-up. We know that new variants will appear, almost certainly they will be imported from an area with high incidents of covid such as India, so this is to be expected. We have all the tools to supress this flare-up.
1. We have huge Track and Trace capacity, so infections should be able to be isolated locally.
2. We know how to isolate and if necessary lock down locally whilst still opening up the rest of the country
3. We have huge vaccine capacity (ca 500,000 per day) so could choose to ring-vaccinate locally in Bolton all adults and teenagers at the expense of slightly slowing down the national role-out.
This may mean adapting current practice, especially for point 3 - it would necessitate a tweaking the current vaccine roll-out nationally by age to make an exception in Bolton. I would fill me with confidence if our PH can quickly contain this outbreak, whilst continuing to relax restrictions on a national basis.
My understanding is the vaccines, while are not as effective against the Indian variant as against the Kent variants, do reduce both incidence and severity of infection, so should be able to snuff out this outbreak.
Here's today's Sky News:
'Easing lockdown measures in England on Monday could cause "a substantial resurgence" in hospital admissions that is similar to previous peaks or larger, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has warned.
Minutes of a meeting on Thursday suggest there is a "realistic possibility" that the Indian variant of COVID-19 is 50% more transmissible than the one that emerged in Kent late last year.'
COVID-19: Calls for Monday's lockdown easing to be delayed, as SAGE warns variant could pressure hospitals
Boris Johnson says the Indian variant may delay the fourth stage of easing lockdown in June but Monday's relaxation will go ahead.