The plan to start ‘living with Covid’ sounded great in theory, Charlotte Lytton said in The Daily Telegraph. In practice, however, this proves problematic – as anyone who has recently attempted a trip abroad knows all too well.
Covid-related staff shortages caused massive delays at airports and the cancellation of hundreds of flights this week. And with Covid case numbers at an all-time high in the UK – almost five million people are estimated to have the virus – other sectors are also struggling to function.
Offices and schools face ongoing disruption and the NHS is feeling the strain as admissions and staff sickness rise. In another sign of how far we are from living in a ‘post-virus world’, the NHS this week updated the official Covid symptom list to include nine new symptoms including loss of appetite, fatigue, pain or have a sore throat or headache.
Covid is far from “over,” agreed Christina Pagel The guard. The popular belief that the virus has become ‘endemic’ – just another seasonal illness like the flu that we have to get used to – is misleading. In epidemiology, this term is generally used to describe diseases that have become stable and predictable. Covid is neither of the two.
We are still surprised by new variant waves – the latest to hit Europe is Omicron (BA.2) – causing significant flare-ups. And future variants could be deadlier. The notion that viruses are becoming milder and milder is another myth. “Trying to ignore an illness, however unpredictable, feels a bit like turning your back on a hungry tiger in the undergrowth.”
Unfortunately, the government has done just that, he said The Independentby scrapping face covering rules and mandatory self-isolation ahead of schedule, and ending free Covid testing for all but a small number of vulnerable people.
Ministers should ignore the “predictably panicky reaction from certain quarters” to the recent surge in Covid infections, he said The Daily Telegraph. We could not afford to do universal free Covid testing, which of course was never really “free” but was funded at great expense by taxpayers. The UK spent over £15.7bn on testing, tracing and isolation in 2021-2022.
The Government has rightly ruled that Covid has progressed from an “emergency to a manageable problem” best addressed by vaccines. If that means that at some point another refresher program needs to be introduced across all age groups, so be it. “What we absolutely cannot do is go back to restrictions. Those societies that took longer to repeal will pay a higher price.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/science-health/956366/were-covid-restrictions-dropped-too-soon Were the Covid restrictions lifted too soon?