Covid variants – Time to stop jumping at shadows

By | 5th July 2021

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May spoke truth to power in the House of Commons last month. The Government, she said, was not leveling with the British people about three things:-
• We were not going to eliminate or eradicate Covid-19. There would never be a time when there would never be a case of this infection somewhere in the UK.
• Variants would keep on coming. If we waited until there were no new variants, we would never open our doors or our borders again.
• Sadly, people would continue to die from Covid, much as they do from influenza or other human respiratory viruses – perhaps 10-20,000 every year.
The former prime minister was saying nothing that has not been said for months by the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Scientific Adviser and many other leading scientists. Today, we are seeing the Government’s acknowledgement. .
The present wave of mild infections is what endemic Covid looks like in a vaccinated population. Similar waves will continue to sweep through from time to time. We will get better vaccines and better therapies but we are already preventing most serious illness and death.
We no longer need any intervention that we would not have considered desirable in November 2019 to control other seasonal respiratory viruses. All that a further delay would achieve is to give a few more vaccine doses to people who are at intrinsically low risk anyway. If not on 19 July, then when? There will always be arguments for further delay….

…When variant forms of Covid appear, we must, then, learn not to jump at shadows. No-one can ever say there will never be a risk – but everyday life is full of much more common risks that we tolerate because of the benefits that they deliver. We could resign ourselves to a risk-averse world, as the remaining, and increasingly shrill, enthusiasts for an elimination strategy would like or we could vote with our feet. We could assert our right to mingle, to embrace, to crowd together. If some are more risk-averse than others, let them be – but do not let them force postponement of Liberation Day.

A Social Science Space Blog

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