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villakram
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Posted (edited)

I fully expect the next stage of unlocking to go ahead going by the current vaccination rate and if there is no substantial increase in hospital admissions.  Come July, we'll be asked to manage the risk to ourselves (and to other people) the best way we see fit. 

Variants will keep on popping up but we'll just have to deal with them.  It is only if the variants negate the effect of the vaccines that it could become an issue and judging by what has been said so far, that doesn't appear to be the case.  

Edited by trekka
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1 minute ago, HanoiVillan said:

No, this is the wrong way round. Governments hold press conferences - especially with cabinet ministers and/or the PM, and the country's most senior scientists - about matters of grave national importance. It would be irresponsible for the press to simply stop covering them. The signal has to come from the government, not from the media.

Then one needs to be less subjective in what one deems important enough to brief out or choose to ignore the report.

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3 minutes ago, brommy said:

Then one needs to be less subjective in what one deems important enough to brief out or choose to ignore the report.

Journalists aren't scientists; they do not have the subject knowledge to make that decision. Imagine a world in which Robert Peston took it upon himself to decide what is or isn't scientifically important!

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15 minutes ago, HanoiVillan said:

Journalists aren't scientists; they do not have the subject knowledge to make that decision. Imagine a world in which Robert Peston took it upon himself to decide what is or isn't scientifically important!

I was commenting about someone questioning why there was reporting over a new variant.

Despite my dislike for the current government, I personally take note of press conferences and then choose how that information is likely to affect me. In regards to this instance, if the government and their scientists think a new variant is worthy of a press conference then they should certainly broadcast. If others believe conferences or other news outlets are making more of COVID-19 updates than necessary, they can always choose to ignore.

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1 hour ago, HanoiVillan said:

I agree! But as a government, it's not difficult to control what you choose to hold a press conference about.

True. The thing with this pandemic is that the government has learnt, belatedly, the value of scientific advice (and also the sometimes non-certainty of conclusions from evidence - “we can’t be certain yet”).  Now with the Indian variant it is more infectious and it is putting fully and single dose vaccinated people in hospital, as well as unvaccinated people. That’s fact.  Another fact is that there are hotspots with very high rates of infection of the virus in (so far) 3 towns. It really won’t take much for that situation to rapidly escalate, and if it does we’re in another lockdown situation, due to hospitalisations rocketing. More delays to routine and emergency operations and treatments for other stuff, more economic and mental health issues and all the rest of it.

Given the government published a prospective timetable for opening up, step by step, they absolutely need to put the information out there, both from a public health angle and from the informative angle (and also from a reputational angle).

If the situation is brought under control, then the story is “this was a threat, we dealt with it”. If, God forbid it isn’t, then at least the steps they have to take next will have been telegraphed- “you know we told you about this, we’ll unfortunately we now have to impose these further measures…”. Communicating out of the blue “Lockdown” would likely be the most badly received approach and would likely lead to significant non-adherence.

At the moment, everyone is thoroughly hacked off with the pandemic and desperate for there to be no more setbacks and instead a resumption of normality, particularly as the past 15 months has seen multiple shooting ourselves in the foot setbacks resulting from government inaction, incompetence, indecision, ideology, anti-science stupidity and borderline corruption. Vaccination has been the only thing they’ve got right and done well. If they **** that up through mishandling a potentially partly vaccine resistant strain, then God help us all.

On that basis the recent press conferences are far from scaremongering, however desperate we all are for bad stuff to stop happening.

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1 hour ago, bickster said:

Managed to rebook my 2nd appoinment earlier but decided to go through 119, just the reasurrance of a human telling me that I would be able to get an earlier appoinment is what I needed

I think I’m just gonna trust the hospital at the end of the road to text me an invite, whether that’s 10 weeks, or 12, from my first jab. I think 10 weeks is probably next week sometime, so fingers crossed.

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The big PR problem is that the 'herd immunity' suggestion got such a bad reaction (and quite rightly so) a year ago when the virus was killing lots of people. Therefore they can't admit to the fact that that is precisely the strategy that is being adopted (and quite rightly so) now, when the most vulnerable have all been vaccinated.

Yes, there is going to be a fairly big third wave. The difference this time is that it isn't going to result in thousands of hospitalisations and deaths. 

Bring it on. 

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44 minutes ago, blandy said:

True. The thing with this pandemic is that the government has learnt, belatedly, the value of scientific advice (and also the sometimes non-certainty of conclusions from evidence - “we can’t be certain yet”).  Now with the Indian variant it is more infectious and it is putting fully and single dose vaccinated people in hospital, as well as unvaccinated people. That’s fact.  Another fact is that there are hotspots with very high rates of infection of the virus in (so far) 3 towns. It really won’t take much for that situation to rapidly escalate, and if it does we’re in another lockdown situation, due to hospitalisations rocketing. More delays to routine and emergency operations and treatments for other stuff, more economic and mental health issues and all the rest of it.

Given the government published a prospective timetable for opening up, step by step, they absolutely need to put the information out there, both from a public health angle and from the informative angle (and also from a reputational angle).

If the situation is brought under control, then the story is “this was a threat, we dealt with it”. If, God forbid it isn’t, then at least the steps they have to take next will have been telegraphed- “you know we told you about this, we’ll unfortunately we now have to impose these further measures…”. Communicating out of the blue “Lockdown” would likely be the most badly received approach and would likely lead to significant non-adherence.

At the moment, everyone is thoroughly hacked off with the pandemic and desperate for there to be no more setbacks and instead a resumption of normality, particularly as the past 15 months has seen multiple shooting ourselves in the foot setbacks resulting from government inaction, incompetence, indecision, ideology, anti-science stupidity and borderline corruption. Vaccination has been the only thing they’ve got right and done well. If they **** that up through mishandling a potentially partly vaccine resistant strain, then God help us all.

On that basis the recent press conferences are far from scaremongering, however desperate we all are for bad stuff to stop happening.

For now, I agree with you. I don't pretend to be a virologist, and despite my hope that we would be at a point where enough people have antibodies that we would be largely out of the woods by this point, enough people that I trust (and don't think are being dramatic for the sake of it or to continue their relevance) are saying that this variant needs to be carefully monitored and taken seriously that I am happy to agree. (However, lockdowns of any description need to be an absolute last resort).

My point is that there is going to come a time - and I hope fairly soon - when we need to ramp down attention paid to these matters. Factually, this *is* going to happen; we're not going to be getting press conferences on new covid variants in 50 years' time (to take a reductio ad absurdam), so it will happen eventually. I want us to get to that stage as soon as possible, because *mobilising the state* and *mobilising the entirety of society* are different things, and the former is infinitely sustainable while the latter isn't.

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4 minutes ago, HanoiVillan said:

For now, I agree with you. I don't pretend to be a virologist, and despite my hope that we would be at a point where enough people have antibodies that we would be largely out of the woods by this point, enough people that I trust (and don't think are being dramatic for the sake of it or to continue their relevance) are saying that this variant needs to be carefully monitored and taken seriously that I am happy to agree. (However, lockdowns of any description need to be an absolute last resort).

My point is that there is going to come a time - and I hope fairly soon - when we need to ramp down attention paid to these matters. Factually, this *is* going to happen; we're not going to be getting press conferences on new covid variants in 50 years' time (to take a reductio ad absurdam), so it will happen eventually. I want us to get to that stage as soon as possible, because *mobilising the state* and *mobilising the entirety of society* are different things, and the former is infinitely sustainable while the latter isn't.

I guess until the rest of the world catches up in terms of vaccinations the government will always be on high alert for the new mutations globally and it helps them justify slower relaxing of foreign travel if they report them as soon as possible.  I generally find it quite reassuring that they manage to find them quickly and can target strategies like testing and vaccines for areas that they find spikes, which would be hard to do without making it public.

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3 minutes ago, sharkyvilla said:

I guess until the rest of the world catches up in terms of vaccinations the government will always be on high alert for the new mutations globally and it helps them justify slower relaxing of foreign travel if they report them as soon as possible.  I generally find it quite reassuring that they manage to find them quickly and can target strategies like testing and vaccines for areas that they find spikes, which would be hard to do without making it public.

Mostly agree, but only partially with the final point; increasing testing might be hard to do without local publicity, but you don't need national press conferences to increase vaccine distribution in a particular area. They could just say - which they haven't said, yet, at least not clearly - that they may go down the age bands faster in certain areas, and that younger adults should not hesitate to come forward when they receive their text message. As far as I can see, we're sticking fairly rigidly to going down the age bands at roughly equal speed everywhere, which may be administratively simpler but I can't believe it's the most effective approach.

(Maybe I'm wrong about this last point? I haven't seen anyone important agreeing with demands for local vaccine surges, but have I just missed something?)

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3 hours ago, HanoiVillan said:

My point is that there is going to come a time - and I hope fairly soon - when we need to ramp down attention paid to these matters. Factually, this *is* going to happen; we're not going to be getting press conferences on new covid variants in 50 years' time (to take a reductio ad absurdam), so it will happen eventually. I want us to get to that stage as soon as possible, because *mobilising the state* and *mobilising the entirety of society* are different things, and the former is infinitely sustainable while the latter isn't.

My fear is that as @sharkyvilla says, this is not likely to be all that soon at all.

The situation here is that we have expertise at identifying viruses and mutations, from our scientific and medical institutions, University research dept.s and so on. We also have the NHS, which for all its creaking infrastructure and other issues, has been excellent at the vaccination effort. So despite the numerous government mis-steps along the way, we're now in a decent position. But as snarky says, other parts of the world are not. And then there's the possibility of events with mutations causing things to take yet another turn for the worse. I think the middle of next year, at best, is where there may be a situation where we can largely have full normality back - including travel and al the rest. Up until that point, there are going to be, if not UK measures, then international ones.

I don't agree with the way the government has handled travel at all - either in our out of the country. For me they should have been much faster and more effective in controlling incoming travel from other nations, and they should not be banning travel to anywhere (the destination nations should be the arbiters of their incoming travellers). But anyway, they (our Gov't) are and have been banning travel outwards, and I can see that continuing for some places, for as long as there are virus riven nations or islands etc. And so if I'm right, then attention on the status of the virus not just in the UK, but around the world will needs to remain in place.

I think we all want to not have to wear masks, to be able to meet whoever we like, share houses, meals, sport, music, entertainment and all the rest of it as soon as we possibly can, without endangering anyone, or ourselves. We all want our proper lives back, and our fun and love back. But to be honest, I think we're quite a way off being able to say "yep, definitely it's all OK now" and not fear (with some justification) that things could rapidly reverse back to big problems.

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3 hours ago, mjmooney said:

The big PR problem is that the 'herd immunity' suggestion got such a bad reaction (and quite rightly so) a year ago when the virus was killing lots of people. Therefore they can't admit to the fact that that is precisely the strategy that is being adopted (and quite rightly so) now, when the most vulnerable have all been vaccinated.

Yes, there is going to be a fairly big third wave. The difference this time is that it isn't going to result in thousands of hospitalisations and deaths. 

Bring it on. 

I saw some figures somewhere on that Internet thing about herd immunity. It was along the lines that the herd needs to be a greater percentage of the total population the more infectious a lug is - so (and this might not be the right figures) for example, for the basic Covid, herd immunity might need to be 7/12ths of the population, and for the Saffer variant, which is (say) 25% more infectious, that moves up to 8/12, and for the Indian variant at (say) 50% more infectious it moves again to 9/12s and so on.

So the point at which herd immunity is reached keeps moving, or potentially moving. 

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3 hours ago, HanoiVillan said:

I haven't seen anyone important agreeing with demands for local vaccine surges

They've been doing vaccine surges in Bolton and Blackburn. And I've heard no local news stuff saying "no, stop with that", though there have been people complaining about other aspects of how these outbreaks are being handled - crap track and trace, "blaming" the unvaccinated from the Gov't and that kind of stuff. Obviously, the problem with vaccine surges is the vaccine taking a couple of weeks to start having a positive impact on people's immunity, so it's kind of almost too late to be of most effective use as a surge reduction tool..

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13 minutes ago, blandy said:

They've been doing vaccine surges in Bolton and Blackburn. And I've heard no local news stuff saying "no, stop with that", though there have been people complaining about other aspects of how these outbreaks are being handled - crap track and trace, "blaming" the unvaccinated from the Gov't and that kind of stuff. Obviously, the problem with vaccine surges is the vaccine taking a couple of weeks to start having a positive impact on people's immunity, so it's kind of almost too late to be of most effective use as a surge reduction tool..

'The best time to start was two weeks ago, the second best time to start is now'

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7 hours ago, sharkyvilla said:

I guess until the rest of the world catches up in terms of vaccinations the government will always be on high alert for the new mutations globally and it helps them justify slower relaxing of foreign travel if they report them as soon as possible.  I generally find it quite reassuring that they manage to find them quickly and can target strategies like testing and vaccines for areas that they find spikes, which would be hard to do without making it public.

It's kind of ironic that despite our numbers being significantly below Germany, they have banned our travel to them. I feel their problems will come from elsewhere. 

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10 hours ago, blandy said:

Now with the Indian variant it is more infectious and it is putting fully and single dose vaccinated people in hospital, as well as unvaccinated people. That’s fact. 

Is it? That would be news to me.

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8 hours ago, fightoffyour said:

Is it? That would be news to me.

Quote

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told The Andrew Marr Show that five people have been hospitalised in Bolton with the Indian variant of Covid-19, despite having had their first vaccine dose. 

He added that a "frail" person who had received both jabs had also been hospitalised with new coronavirus variant

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-57134652

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