The UK has joined the likes of France, Spain, and Germany this week as they continue to struggle with a slew of new coronavirus cases. Within a twenty-four hour period this past weekend over 3,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England after dozens of schools in the country reported outbreaks.
Hospitalization rates are still low, however, past outbreaks have proven that it takes a few weeks after a major outbreak for hospital room occupancies to go up, so only time will tell if that remains as it is now. The UK is one of the countries that endured an intense and prolonged lockdown in the beginning of this pandemic, so any sort of new outbreak is very worrisome; especially one that impacts thousands.
Ministers are currently debating how to better control the situation, but have also received major backlash for their decision making regarding reopening schools and other educational establishments that are now directly leading to new cases. One thing is guaranteed, if the government doesn’t act soon infection, hospitalization, and death rates will be increasing in the coming weeks.
States in the US and areas of Brazil have already begun closing schools that were previously reopened due to the same reasoning. Citizens are calling upon ministers to stop prioritizing the economy over human lives and close schools down. While the economy may take a massive hit due to these closings, it’s not worth it to have such large groups experiencing new outbreaks, simply to keep the economy in a relatively steady place.
Other countries in Europe, and throughout the world, have implemented what’s generally referred to as a “zero Covid elimination strategy” that aims to stop community transmission and keep case numbers as low as possible, for as long as possible. In Scotland, for example, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has continuously given daily Covid media briefings to keep the public just as informed as the government is everyday; this has already led to a decline in case numbers in Scotland.
The testing and tracing systems in the UK are as greatly criticized as they are in the US as well. Testing sights aren’t as accessible and available as they should be, and results need to be made available within 24 hours to give citizens a better gage as to who needs to be quarantined. As of right now, citizens are travelling hundreds of miles in England to get tested.
The reopening of schools and overall “relaxed” attitude the ministers are exhibiting by prioritizing the economy over health is also motivating the public to return to a life of normalcy. If world leaders are saying it’s okay for certain establishments to be open to make money, why wouldn’t citizens take advantage of that?
As of right now, it’s unlikely the UK will endure another nationwide lockdown as the ministers are expected to implement some major changes within the next week that will aim to slow down community transmission and keep everyone home. What’s most important is that the public listens to their healthcare professionals when it comes to case numbers and infection rates. Experts who are dealing with this virus head on everyday know first hand how bad the world still is in relation to this pandemic. So stay home as much as possible, wash your hands, wear facial coverings, and practice social distancing whenever it’s warranted.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.