.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Have the UK Government readopted the herd immunity strategy?

The Guardian reports on the view of SAGE adviser, Professor Robert West that ministers are allowing infections to rip through the younger population in an effort to bolster levels of immunity before the NHS faces winter pressures.

Professor West's allegation comes after England’s remaining Covid restrictions were eased on Monday, with nightclubs throwing open their doors for the first time in the pandemic and all rules on social distancing and mask wearing dropped even as infections run high:

Ministers were made aware of scientists’ concerns about reopening nightclubs and other crowded, close-contact and poorly ventilated venues without testing or other checks in place. On Monday Boris Johnson made the surprise announcement that Covid passports will be required for such settings – but not until the end of September, in two months’ time.

“What we are seeing is a decision by the government to get as many people infected as possible, as quickly as possible, while using rhetoric about caution as a way of putting the blame on the public for the consequences,” said Prof Robert West, a health psychologist at University College London who participates in Sage’s behavioural science subgroup.

“It looks like the government judges that the damage to health and healthcare services will be worth the political capital it will gain from this approach,” West said, adding that ministers appear to believe the strategy is now sustainable – unlike last year – because of the vaccine rollout.

A large wave of infections, coupled with mass vaccination, would push the UK closer to “herd immunity”, where enough people in the population are resistant to the virus that it no longer spreads. The threshold for herd immunity with the Delta variant is unclear, but scientists estimate that transmission would need to be blocked in about 85% of the population. Ministers have repeatedly denied that achieving herd immunity by letting cases rise is the government’s goal.

Monday’s easing of restrictions removed social distancing, the work-from-home order and legal requirements around mask wearing, though ministers called on the public to remain cautious. The move prompted a flurry of regional mandates to maintain masks on public transport, including the London tube, buses and trains, and Manchester Metrolink trams. Legal limits on mixing indoors lifted at the same time, allowing all businesses to reopen.

The change in rules led some clubs to open at midnight on Sunday, leading to packed bars and dancefloors across England. Similar scenes in the Netherlands in recent weeks led the Dutch premier, Mark Rutte, to reimpose curbs on bars, restaurants and nightclubs as new cases rose sevenfold.

A government spokesperson says this is not the strategy, though they said the same last year when for a time it clearly was the approach being taken by government ministers, before they were forced into a lockdown. Whatever they say, Professor West's explanation is the only one that actually makes sense of the government's current policy.
It is herd immunity via the back door.I understand vaccination programme is not going to plan cos of delay in getting vaccines.So from now till September the virus will be let rip leading to herd immunity.Along comes September Vaccine back in action leading to rapid completion of vaccine project leading to less demand on NHS in winter.
The government will be tapping themselves on the back saying we have conquered the virus in time for winter.The fact that the people have borne the brunt of infections ,fear and worry that the intervening period will produce, they will say was a price worth paying
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?