When vaccinations first began to be rolled out across the world, Britain was determined to prove a point.
The heavily populated island nation, renowned for its bad weather and gatherings at pubs, was perhaps unsurprisingly hit harder by Covid-19 than many other European nations when the virus first breached its borders.
It went on to record one of the continent’s worst death tolls from the disease and its citizens endured month-upon-month of tough lockdown restrictions to keep the strain off hospitals.
The government, meanwhile, was found to have made one of the worst “public health failures ever experienced” as it tried to live with the virus with an ill thought plan for herd immunity which had to be rapidly ditched as cases and deaths soared.
However, with the arrival of vaccines late last year, Britain became the envy of a number of nations around the world.
It was the country that gave the world one of the most widely used and effective vaccines and came out of lockdown earlier than many as its jab rollout raced ahead of other European nations.
There was a feel-good factor in the air this summer as massive crowds flocked to Premier League games, pubs returned to full capacity and the restrictions that had plagued the nation for so long were consigned to history.
Flash forward to today and that feel-good factor is seriously on the wane as the nation heads towards an uncertain winter — with cases, deaths and hospitalisations soaring and calls for new restrictions. …
Covid rates are soaring among largely unvaccinated secondary school children and infections spilling over into older, more vulnerable age groups who — even though they are largely vaccinated — are at risk from breakthrough infections of the disease. …
“Sadly, at the moment the UK has a higher level of Covid-19 than most other comparable countries, this is seen not just in positive tests but in hospital admissions and deaths,” said Jim Naismith, professor of structural biology at the University of Oxford. …
The UK’s Covid vaccination scheme started in December 2020, and was the first one in the world. The government says that 78.9 per cent of the population over the age of 12 has received two doses of a jab. …
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that immunity in the UK appears to be “waning” because of the country’s early success in rolling out the vaccination scheme. …
Another winter of masks and restrictions? Surely not:
Coronavirus restrictions were lifted across the country in July after three national lockdowns, but some scientists have suggested that measures to mitigate close-contact transmission, such as mask-wearing indoors, could be needed to prevent cases spiralling further.
The BBC reports that under the government’s winter plan, if the measures currently in place are not enough to prevent “unsustainable pressure” on the NHS, then steps like making face coverings mandatory in some settings and introducing vaccine passports could be considered as part of a “Plan B”.
At a gloomy Downing Street press conference reminiscent of the worst days of last year, Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned that cases could reach 100,000 a day this winter and urged people to take precautions such as meeting outdoors, wearing masks and regular testing.
Insisting that ‘life is not back to normal’ and that ‘this pandemic is not over’, Mr Javid suggested there could be another national lockdown unless all people eligible for a third jab come forward, claiming the booster is there ‘not just to save lives, but to keep your freedoms too’.
This is the approach we are taking? The vaccine path? Clearly not working.
I’d much rather we took the approach of India or Indonesia — much cheaper, more effective, and with much more freedom. Big pharma profits be damned.
hat-tip Stephen Neil