England is reopening as case numbers of Covid rise in some areas. Is this a huge gamble? The Government dubbed 19th July “Freedom Day” as people have been able to go to nightclubs and gather in large groups without being legally compelled to wear masks. They can also stop social distancing.
However, the nation is divided. Some people are still ” total nervous wrecks” and will not allow anyone into their house, which applies to a cousin of mine. When our September river cruise in France was cancelled for the third time she said, “Oh, good!” as she was dreading travelling with other people. We have rebooked it for next September in the hope that the situation will have eased by then. The UK Government is hoping that a rise in Covid cases will be prevented by the double vaccinations, or at least that any cases will be far less severe. No one can predict accurately what will happen as so many different factors are at play.
WHAT WE KNOW:
The vaccines are working. Just 6% of Brits. are hesitant about getting a jab, mainly youngsters who are encouraged to do so with offers of free coffee, cinema tickets and takeaways. Emilia Skirmuntt, an evolutionary virologist says, “That’s dangerous. We need to vaccinate teenagers urgently”. According to Scotland’s Public Health Body, the new Delta variant is bad news for the unvaccinated and those who have only had one jab which makes them almost twice as likely to lead to hospitalization. Some experts believe that there should be no easing of restrictions until all adults and adolescents have had both doses of the vaccine. A great deal depends on public behaviour which is difficult to predict with some enjoying newfound freedoms while others continue to be cautious as they are frustrated at the ditching of masks and will continue to wear them in stores and on public transport. Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer of England said that the country could see, “quite scary numbers ” again, increasing the chance of large numbers of people developing long Covid and the risk of new, vaccine-resistant variants developing.
More people will get long Covid. Over two million people have already had it or have had complications lasting twelve weeks or more but long Covid is poorly understood. It places huge pressure on the N.H.S., businesses and society in general as well as causing misery for huge numbers of people. Skirmuntt says, “There’s a chance we’re exposing a whole generation to very bad health for the rest of their lives”. Gracious! What a terrible thought…
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
Whether the Government’s approach is creating an ideal breeding ground for the emergence of a vaccine-resistant variant. This would be a disastrous outcome as we have depended on vaccines to save the UK from Covid 19. We can only hope that the vaccine is running out of ways to adapt.
WHAT WE KNOW:
The rest of the world is watching. Several countries have dropped restrictions only to reimpose them. Boris Johnson has downgraded his stance about removing restrictions from a firm promise to a “hope” adding, “Obviously, we must rule nothing out.” We seem to be in an in-between stage where the risk is being passed from the Government to individuals.