WHICH SOLUTION WORKS BEST?
By Nigel Tate: Political Columnist
With the introduction and implementation of the 3-tier regional system, has the government really found the solution to balance the nation’s health with its wealth?
There is no secret that Europe is struggling with the second wave of Covid-19 cases. Nations across Europe have put forward different restrictions to control the level of infection. For example, France has announced a curfew between 21:00 and 6:00, and Northern Ireland are undergoing a 4-week lockdown to handle the surge. England, as mentioned before, have implemented a 3-tier regional system, where regional hotspots would be put on the highest-level of control (such as Liverpool, who are currently on tier 3, basically ‘very high’).
However, will these restrictions be enough?
Short answer, no. This is because according to the Prime Minister’s very own Chief Medical advisor, Professor Chris Whitty, “even the toughest measures may not be enough”. The Labour leader, Kier Starmer, have agreed with the Chief Medical advisor, and have pressured the government to impose a circuit-breaker lockdown. The purpose of this will hopefully prevent the number of hospital admissions to rise above the NHS’s coping mechanism. Whereas, Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, have started to appeal the new provisions, demanding for a thorough exit strategy and more financial aid.
The UK is currently averaging around 15,000 to 16,000 positive cases per day, with the ‘young’ making up most of the Covid-19 demographic. So we ask ourselves, what is the best course of action?
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The best course of action to eliminate the virus will be to enforce a lockdown until a vaccine is found. But we all know how ridiculous this solution is, as the effects on our economy and other health illnesses would be absolutely devastating. However, the current restrictions have not been so effective, with the 10pm curfew forcing people to gather on the streets or clumped together on the tube. Moreover, schools remaining open provides the perfect opportunity for the virus to transmit itself…So, is there actually any point of these current constraints?
Ultimately, we only have two options. Let the economy run and let the NHS struggle, or save the NHS and let the economy die. Basically, there is no winning outcome, only making the ‘right’ decision which has currently divided the nation on what is the right thing to do.
The global economy has taken a huge hit from the first lockdown. Unfortunately the current restrictions have not helped, leading to an increase in job losses (with unemployment rising by 4.5%) and damaged livelihoods. This fiscal year, the government has already borrowed £174bn to offset the economic damages of Covid-19, resulting in the UK’s national debt to rise above £2tn. With the 10pm curfew already destroying the hospitality industry, and further regulation to be added, there is no win-win scenario, and therefore we wonder how long more can businesses hold on for?
The 1995 movie Outbreak is an exaggerated version of the pandemic we are facing today. Regardless, the film opens with a quote by Dr Joshua Lederberg, “the single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus”, which can be felt across the world as our economy, wellbeing and social interactions have been ‘dominated’ and shaped by the impacts of this virus.