Britain will break free from economic Covid long before Europe

SourceThe Telegraph
CountryMiddle east

The same split is going on internally within the UK. Devi Sridhar, Edinburgh professor of global public health, is leading the push for elimination, arguing that there is “no acceptable level of infection” and that we must keep tight controls in place for most of this year, or risk drifting into another series of lockdowns next winter. Prof Sridhar has been a prophet of this pandemic – right at almost every stage – and I am loath to disagree now. But there comes a point when zero-risk does more harm than good. You cannot keep nations shut once 88pc of potential deaths have been averted. It is even harder to justify doing so once the over-60s have been vaccinated and the figure rises to 97pc, which should be the case by early March.

At that point you really are talking about a health dictatorship. So when should we dial down the restrictions? Time-lag effects obviously pull in opposite directions. Trial data shows that protection is largely gained within ten days of the first jab. After that further delay is icing on the cake. Those ten days extra mean that the top four priority groups are largely safe by Feb 25. On the other hand, more...