Ripping the bandaid off

I had my second Pfizer jab last night. Aside from a sore arm and feeling slightly tired I haven’t had any other side-effects. I felt a bit tired after the first jab too and several days later developed a swollen lymph node under my arm on the side I was vaccinated. This went away after about 5 or 6 days. My second jab was about 8 weeks after the first which is a much longer delay than other countries but the UK has chosen to give as many people one jab as quickly as possible and I think this strategy has paid off so far.

As of 5th July 2021, about 86% of the adult population in the UK have had at least one jab and 64% have had two jabs which is fantastic given the vaccine hesitancy that’s common in other countries. The vaccination centre yesterday was very busy and looked to be a mix of people my age getting their second jab and younger people getting their first. The NHS nurse who jabbed me was so friendly and informative. I felt privileged. It was all very efficient.

The government strategy here now is to rip the bandaid off and let the virus spread through the population unrestricted. Cases are rising sharply, especially in Scotland which now has the highest case-rate in Europe.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2020-03-01..latest&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&Metric=Confirmed+cases&Interval=7-day+rolling+average&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=USA~GBR~CAN~DEU~ITA~IND

The big difference between this and previous waves is it not accompanied by a significant rise in hospitalisations. Although hospitalisations are up slightly, it’s manageable – so far – and apparently people are less likely to need intensive care.

Source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

The Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, has said that lifting restrictions in the summer has some benefits over doing it in winter.

“At a certain point, you move to the situation where instead of actually averting hospitalisations and deaths, you move over to just delaying them. So you’re not actually changing the number of people who will go to hospital or die, you may change when they happen,” he said.

“There is quite a strong view by many people, including myself actually, that going in the summer has some advantages, all other things being equal, to opening up into the autumn when schools are going back and when we’re heading into the winter period when the NHS tends to be under greatest pressure for many other reasons,” he added.

There’s now a big discussion here about when to dispense with masks, if at all. The government is in favour of leaving it up to the population to decide. I like Chris Whitty’s three-point plan for when to wear a mask:

4 Replies to “Ripping the bandaid off”

  1. I haven’t had a jab yet. I’m in the last group to be eligible, and technically that’s around the end of July. New Zealand was way down the list of countries to get supplied with the vaccine, because we were managing it okay. To be honest, the ‘management’ has been a bit hit and miss, but we seem to have dodged the bullets, so far.

  2. I do get the aim of letting people run free over July and August and getting it all out of the way, but it’s an alarming increase. It would be more reassuring if we could rip the Band Aid having assured ourselves that we can actually keep cases low. Maybe by definition this isn’t possible. I don’t really understand why the cases have gone up so quickly recently, as we haven’t had any major changes that I can remember in that time frame, Although I am beginning to lose count of what rules changed when. The main impression I have is that when I go shopping etc there seem to be many more people in cafes and restaurants.

    1. The number of cases has shot up really fast. I think it’s mostly because the delta variant is more infectious. Hopefully the rate of hospitalisation will continue to remain low otherwise we’d be in a strict lockdown now for sure. I suppose what is most concerning is if we do need to lockdown again – say because a new variant has popped up that evades the vaccines – the ensuing lockdown will be the longest we’ve ever had because the number of infections will have risen higher than anything we’ve had before.

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