We need to treat the new variant as a new pandemic, and recalibrate our response accordingly.

A short thread.
The responses to Covid so far - 'Covid-secure', social distancing, etc. have up until now been calibrated on two things:
- the transmissibility of Covid
- a political calibration based on society's acceptance of direct effects of Covid (deaths etc) balanced against other effects
We have a new variant that is *so much more transmissible* that something is going to have to give
Due to this vastly increased transmissibility, we need to *think* of the new variant as an entirely new pandemic.
Which means a recalibration.

This can come from four main areas:
- vaccination decreasing susceptible population
- infection decreasing the susceptible population
- recalibrate 'Covid-secure' measures
- accepting higher mortality
Increasing infection (the herd immunity argument) will cause unnecessary deaths.

Accepting higher mortality will means unnecessary deaths.
So we are left with two responses.

The first is to recalibrate 'Covid-secure' measures. This means that all the risk assessments should be re-done on the basis of a *much more transmissible variant* that is now dominant in much of the country.

And the final response is vaccination.

We need to do that. Now.

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More from @Dr_D_Robertson

11 Jan
The Government has published the UK Vaccines Delivery Plan.

Here it is:

Some comments in the thread below.
"By 15 February we *aim* to *have offered* a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI):
This is more nuanced message than in the Prime Minister's statement on 4 January which is ambiguous: 'expect to have offered' in the first paragraph' and 'vaccinating' in the second

Read 26 tweets
9 Jan
The Government is making the same mistakes as it did in the first wave. Except with knowledge.

A thread.
The Government's strategy at the beginning of the pandemic was to 'cocoon' the vulnerable (e.g. those in care homes). This was a 'herd immunity' strategy. This interview is from March.

This strategy failed. It is impossible to 'cocoon' the vulnerable, as Covid is passed from younger people to older, more vulnerable people.

We can see this playing out through heatmaps. e.g. these heatmaps from the second wave.

Read 18 tweets
8 Jan
It is interesting to produce charts today that were presented at the first Number 10 press conference of the first lockdown.

Here are slides from the first press conference on 30 March and their equivalent today.

And a short thread on where we are now.

Transport use - March 2020
Transport use - January 2021

Much higher than the first lockdown.
Read 13 tweets
7 Jan
Here are the heatmaps for Covid detected cases, positivity, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions. This is for the week to 3 January 2021.

I have marked a line on 21 September, when SAGE recommended a circuit breaker, so you can see how the situation has deteriorated since then. Image
Detected cases increasing significantly in all age groups (colour and monochrome version).

(The vertical line is 21 September when SAGE recommended a circuit breaker.) ImageImage
Positivity for males. Increasing in each age group.

(The vertical line is 21 September when SAGE recommended a circuit breaker.) Image
Read 8 tweets
7 Jan
The lastest @PHE_uk surveillance report has been published.

Care home outbreaks/incidents have increased significantly.

Cases are increasing in all areas of the country
Here is a summary of detected cases.
Read 5 tweets
7 Jan
Since the March lockdown, there have been a number of changes to the list of who can go to school.

For instance, children with a 'lack of devices' 'should attend school'

The rollout of laptops was promised in the first lockdown. What happened to that? Image
In addition, hundreds of thousands of university/HE lecturers and support staff are now classified as 'critical workers'. Some of course are critical. Some less so. Image
So, we have extra pressure on school places. This will allow the virus to spread.

Government policy should be systematic.

Individual Government departments will want to maximize their own interests.

The PM and Cabinet are responsible for these trade offs and overall policy.
Read 5 tweets

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