19 May 2022

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New cases now brings new panic. UK now top of league and perhaps holidays will be doomed as well
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New cases now brings new panic. UK now top of league and perhaps holidays will be doomed as well

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Imagine getting pinged on the beach. That’s the end of your holiday

There will not be many who are not deeply worried about the increase in numbers of new cases of covid-19, not just in the UK but world-wide.

But the UK now has the dubious honour of being the number one country in the world for new cases over the past seven days, having just beaten Indonesia.

Take a look at the Johns Hopkins data which you are can see here:

The UK has seen 331094 new cases of covid-19 in the past seven day period and that represents an increase of 37% over the preceding seven days. Unfortunately the number of deaths has increased too, having recorded 366 in the past seven days which is an increase of 60% over the previous seven days. Considering we actually achieved single figure deaths, even 0 on one day, the rise in deaths again is a huge disappointment.

Interestingly the daily number of new cases exceeded 50000 twice early last week but has since remained just below 50000. The expectation was that this number will increase so all eyes will be on the daily declarations over the next few days.

We have all heard on television about the effect the number of new cases is having on the test and trace system and what has come to be called “pingdemonium” with more than 600000 pings last week! There is lots of talk about certain sectors being exempt from self-isolation but no one, whether in government or the opposition, at the moment seems willing to commit themselves even to suggesting what categories might be included, and all of this while supermarkets are sounding warning noises about empty shelves. Are we really heading for another run on the shops like we saw early in 2020? Sainsburys claim there are no immediate shortages but the problem seems to be in part down to a shortage of lorry drivers.

What seems to be generally lacking in all of these issues is both urgency and practicality. For example, I would have thought that lorry drivers could almost be carrying out their self-isolation in their lorries, whilst driving them full of goods to their destinations. Maybe the authorities would consider they should in some way have special treatment when mixing with others. For example, when they stop for fuel perhaps they should use enhanced PPE. But if they are to be regarded as a risk, then inevitably some additional precautions need to be taken. The same could apply to other essential workers; it must surely all be a matter of degree and there must be many workers in different areas of society who, to all intents and purposes, work on their own and who could be effectively isolated if necessary.

And let’s face it, you could end up with food in the shops but no staff to open them and sell it to you.

But being pinged is not the only worry. The uppermost worry surely is that being pinged demonstrates the extreme spreading of the virus so that it is going to be virtually impossible to avoid being pinged. What then? What if you go to the supermarket where now restrictions have been lifted and you get pinged? The country could truly end up in a total lockdown where even essential workers cannot get on with their jobs.

This must surely be a prime example of the operation of the law of unintended consequences – we lifted the restrictions but the underlying rules bring the country grinding to a halt. It won’t be long before the pinging starts to affect holiday makers; then that will be the end of their holidays as well. That will be bad for the holiday makers and bad for the resorts where they are staying. All those lovely beaches empty……

Moreover there just appears to be too little in the way of urgency to get things resolved. As with everything to do with the pandemic, large amounts of time pass before things get implemented and it is that time which causes difficulties to pile up.

Adrian Leopard 22-07-21

Photo Mike Austin

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