Well, complete volte-face today from the government.
The latest advice is – stay at home if you can, wear a mask at all times if out and about, no groups larger than six indoors or outdoors, pubs to close at 10pm and compulsory registration with track-and-trace when you go to a pub, bar or restaurant.
Why? Because the virus is near out of control again. Well gosh darn whoda thunkit? Send everyone back to school and work, tell them its all fine, and er…
Yesterday there was a science press conference by the CMO of England and CSO of the UK in which they set out quite clearly that rates are rising, infections are doubling every 7-8 days and its growing fastest amongst younger people. There are currently 70,000 active cases, and unless we all act it will be 500,000 by mid October. They also said that the disease would soon be spreading back into the elderly and vulnerable, leading to more deaths. Thats the stark reality.
Something else interesting from the science pres conference: studies show that only 8% of the population have antibodies. That means 92% of us have not had the disease and remain vulnerable. It also means that about 5,330,000 people have had it. However testing has only identified about 430,000 ie one in twelve. So, its likely that there are 50-60,000 undetected cases each day – today’s 5.000 new cases times twelve.
So, we’ve been told to expect six months of the current rules, with more restrictions should it not work.
Back in March, the Kings team said that we were in it for the long haul, probably 18 months till a vaccine was found. They predicted ‘boom and bust’ with lockdowns easing, leading to rising cases, leading to new lockdowns.
They hoped, vainly as it turns out, that we might be able to get away with local restrictions only, in response to local issues. But people are idiots or selfish or arrogant. They game the system by driving ‘over the border’ for a pint or to meet mates, thus spreading the disease outside the locked down area. They think they’re clear so no need to obey the rules, only to find out a week later they had it. They don’t report being ill, or keep working because they have to.
Hence, this time there are penalties. £1000 fine rising to £10,000 for breaking the rule of six. £200 for failure to obey mask rules, doubling with each offense till it hits £3,200. Shops and bars to be punished for not enforcing the rules. Employers to be punished for preventing staff isolating.
We will see if this helps.