Sumary of Witnessing England’s response to Covid at first hand has profoundly shocked me | William Hanage:
- Nightclubs reopened, along with other large events and gatherings – with masks, testing and other mitigation measures “encouraged” (which is another way of saying “optional”).
- This is against a background of skyrocketing case rates due to the Delta variant.
- In January, at the height of the second wave, the daily total hit 60,000 cases, but at the current rate of increase that will be eclipsed within days – even in the absence of all the renewed super-spreading opportunities that the virus will now enjoy.
- Israel has understood this and – despite having vaccination rates comparable to or better than the UK – responded early to the Delta variant, reintroducing indoor mask mandates while accelerating vaccination in younger age groups.
- For England, on the other hand, it is not fatalistic but realistic to say that the Delta variant will not be put back in its box, because exponential spread has been permitted for months.
- The UK suffered more pandemic deaths in the past 18 months than its civilian death toll for the entirety of the second world war, while a prime minister who conspicuously admires Churchill belittled the dangers on WhatsApp.
- Close to 70% have had at least one dose, but those who have received one dose are more vulnerable than people with both doses to breakthrough Delta infections.
- Having spent the pandemic to date in the US, I travelled to south London this month and got a taste of the incoherent pandemic theatre which proved so unequal to handling the Delta variant.