UK prime minister Boris Johnson recently announced a fuzzy blueprint for his “winter plan”, in which further lockdowns and compulsory mask-wearing were not being introduced but could not be ruled out. As an interdisciplinary researcher specialising in complex systems and health policy, it looks to me like the UK is on course for yet another yo-yo winter in which too few precautions are introduced too late, only after the exponential increase in cases and deaths become too dramatic to brush aside.
Unless the British public learns to live with (as opposed to keep dying of) COVID, this cycle could continue indefinitely.
Here’s an alternative blueprint:
1. We agree to take the virus seriously
We must acknowledge that this virus is wily, pernicious and deadly. While some people – including most of those who are fully vaccinated – experience only mild symptoms, significant numbers are hospitalised. COVID has a fatality rate ten times that of seasonal flu. With case numbers remaining high, this means over 1,000 COVID deaths a week in the UK.
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