Quite simply, because Plan A has failed, and is doomed to continue to do so.
Over the last few weeks and months it has become increasingly clear that the UK government believes various forms and severities of lockdown are their only option for dealing with Covid-19,
– “Plan A”, has appeared to be… to enforce lock downs and mini lock downs across the UK, until the appearance of a fully tested, highly effective, and widely taken up vaccine.
On the morning of Sunday 11th October, Matt Hancock tweeted this
“Our strategy is to suppress Coronavirus whilst protecting education & the economy until a vaccine can keep us safe.”
– effectively ending all doubt.
Ironically, at almost the same moment, BBC Breakfast was airing a report on vaccines, which contained the following statement:
“There are ten corona virus vaccines in the final phase of testing, but none has yet been proven effective”.
This would appear to be a rather significant problem for Plan A, particularly when you take into account “the other one”, which is that lockdowns very rapidly destroy economies.
Another issue for Plan A is that, much like the Common Cold, recent research indicates antibodies to Covid-19 disappear from our system quite quickly.
Very likely this will mean achieving herd immunity… a sufficiently large percentage of the population building up antibodies to Covid-19, either by people contracting the virus and recovering, or vaccination,
– is going be difficult, bordering on impossible to achieve.
Even a country like the UK can not hope to vaccinate most of the population, three times a year. For all sorts of reasons, it’s unachievable.
It’s possible to keep businesses afloat for a few weeks, or even months, by borrowing money, and then rapidly doling it out (with very few checks, “a fraudsters paradise”)
– but the amounts involved are huge, and this extra mountain of debt will have to be paid back. (If there is an economy left with people working in it, that you can tax “post Covid”).
Clearly no Western nation can afford to carry on in this manner for a whole year, or even potentially, for several more years.
Lockdowns serve only to delay. They buy you time, nothing else, but the “cost” of this time, is astronomic, in terms of jobs, public physical and mental health, and economies.
We have a government which throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has slavishly adhered to the ever-fluctuating WHO advice of the time.
Coincidentally, at around the same moment that it was being confirmed that “lockdown until vaccine” is the only plan the UK government has,
– and also that all ten vaccines which are currently in the final stages of testing, are proving to be ineffective, at least for any significant period of time,
– Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s Special Envoy on Covid-19, stated the following (in an interview for the Spectator, with Andrew Neil)
“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, to protect your health workers who are exhausted”.
Contrast this against the stated purpose of lockdowns in the UK, to “control the virus”.
So will UK government now listen to the WHO and stop using lockdowns to attempt to control the spread of Covid-19?
Of course it won’t.
The Prime Minister was challenged to comment on the above statement by Dr Nabarro in the Houses of Commons, bizarrely he replied “yes I fully agree”,
– he “fully agreed”, that lockdown restrictions should not be used simply to attempt to control virus spread, having just outlined how he intended to… use lockdown restrictions to attempt to control virus spread over the coming weeks and months.
You couldn’t make it up.
Various strains of ‘flu have killed tens of thousands of people in past decades in the UK, famously Hong Kong ‘flu killed around 80,000 here, 1969/70.
Less infectious, Hong Kong ‘flu in theory would have been a lot easier to “control”. But we didn’t try do this, no one even suggested it.
We have never tried to develop a vaccine for ‘flu or the Common Cold.
We have never tried to forcibly isolate people and destroyed our economy in order to try to save the lives of the many thousands who typically die from ‘flu every year.
So why is the UK government, along with many others around the world, attempting to “control the uncontrollable”, at massive cost to economies, and to each and every one of us?
I would suggest because they simply have no other plan. No “Plan B”.
Yes Covid-19 is more infectious than ‘flu, and if left untreated, it kills more of the very elderly and unwell than ‘flu.
But worth the cost of what we are doing to ourselves, our country, the economy, worth losing a lot of what makes us human?
Boris Johnson and his government intend to plough on with increasingly severe lockdowns, hoping they suddenly start to have some effect, and just worry about the costs later. Whilst hoping for a miraculous vaccine.
The enormous cost in terms of lives, due to missed cancer scans, heart disease etc, the massive rises in unemployment, the destruction of the economy, the “cost list’ is endless.
I suggest very obviously Plan A hasn’t worked up to this point, and there is no reason to suspect it will almost “magically “ begin to work over the coming months.
I believe there are three reasons why Plan A is doomed to fail, why we now need to quickly change course:
i) Lockdowns serve only to delay. They are not sustainable over a long period either economically, or retaining popular consent/compliance.
Resistance is already mounting in Liverpool.
ii) Waiting for a vaccine is not a viable option.
Over the last two decades, no viable vaccine has been developed for any of the previous corona viruses, MERS, SARS etc. There is no reason to believe anyone will manage to develop one for Covid-19 inside the next two decades, never mind the next two months.
iii) “Test Trace and Isolate” will never work efficiently in the UK.
Why not? Because we have a large number of people here who will resist it. Between one and three million people are in the country illegally, most will not voluntarily comply.
Millions speak very little English, it will be incredibly difficult to get this group to comply.
Millions more people will not comply because they suspect the data they provide will be misused, or the financial implications of isolating, should they be traced and testing shows positive for the virus, will be too hard to bear.
Some estimates of the number of people who are self isolating when told to do so, are as low as 15%.
Our politicians are operating on the basis that a combination of lockdowns, test trace and isolate, and at some point in the near future, vaccines/treatments,
– will enable us to return to “a life a worth living”.
A life worth living is something which an increasing number of people no longer feel they have.
Not just the elderly, imprisoned in Care Homes, deprived of social interaction, seeing their family members,
– young people, believing they have no prospect of any kind of decent future, are starting to take their own lives.
I suggest the evidence is clear, it would be the height of folly to rely on lockdowns, vaccines, effective treatments, or “Test Trace & Isolate” to get us out of the mess we are in.
Plan A, at least in the short term, quite possibly also “the medium and long”, is doomed to fail.
We must change course, we have to move to a “Plan B”, a “Plan B” based around the Great Barrington Declaration, as recently signed by something like 20,000 scientists and medics from across the globe.
Essentially this Declaration states that the most vulnerable in society should continue to be protected, where they wish to be,
– while the rest of society is provided with the opportunity to return to something resembling “normal life”.
Not “new normal”. “Old normal”. Life as it was in 2019.
Proponents of Plan A claim that this would quite simply be impossible.
A viable Plan B needs some “out of the box thinking”, implementing it won’t be easy, or pain free,
– but it can be done, given the above, Plan A being guaranteed to fail, I would suggest it simply must be done.
So how can the principles of the Great Barrington Declaration be implemented “in the real world” ?
I calling my ideas, my alternative plan, “Plan 2021”, and it looks like this:
Plan 2021 outlines how we can achieve the herd immunity we need to enable us to return to normal life, as rapidly and safely as possible,
– whilst better protecting the most vulnerable in our society,
– and at the same time quickly getting our economy fully back up and running.