Covid wake-up call must be heeded – Scotsman comment

We must stick to the government’s coronavirus plan and resist any temptation to make up our own rules.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 12:30 pm
Everyone needs to stick to the government's plan to tackle Covid as chaos will only lead to more infections and deaths (Picture: John Devlin)
Everyone needs to stick to the government's plan to tackle Covid as chaos will only lead to more infections and deaths (Picture: John Devlin)

There was outrage in the early days of the Covid pandemic when it was claimed that the UK was planning to allow the virus to run largely unchecked through the population to build up so-called “herd immunity”.

But, after months of grueling lockdown, it seems some people have decided that – contrary to the position taken by the political leaders of all our major parties and leading scientists – this is what should now happen, either through weariness, ignorance, or adherence to increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories spread, like a virus, on social media.

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Such frustration is understandable and natural, particularly among young people just starting out on their adult lives.

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However, if herd immunity was to have been our strategy – which, in The Scotsman’s view, would have been a mistake – then it should have been the choice from the start.

Changing it now risks the worst of both worlds. After experiencing the economic damage of the lockdown, will we now allow the virus to spread and keep our fingers crossed that the death toll does not rise into the hundreds of thousands – as predicted for the worst-case scenarios – that the NHS is not overwhelmed and that the economy somehow fares better?

The UK government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance has warned that if the disease keeps spreading at its current rate, there could be 50,000 new cases a day in a month’s time, with more than 200 deaths a day by November. That grim prospect should be a wake-up call to us all.

There has been a trend in recent years to scorn the advice of experts, but if we do so on this matter of life and death then we will learn the folly of such arrogant contempt for intelligence, learning and knowledge.

Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson, who will take part in an emergency Cobra meeting today, both look set to tighten the lockdown and we, the public, need to respond to their requests and abide by any changes to the law, as many people have been doing throughout this crisis.

The Scotsman urges all those with doubts about this strategy to recognise the importance of the public following a single plan. If we do this, then perhaps there is a chance to have a Christmas that is something like normal. If we do not, if we all start making up our own rules, the only result will be chaos, more infections and a growing number of deaths.

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