Daniel Halliday
Mar 18 · Last update 5 days ago.

Is the UK’s approach to the coronavirus the smart choice or a massive risk?

While the world is in the grip of the coronavirus outbreak one country is taking the opposite approach to World Health Organisation recommendations. The United Kingdom has been slow to restrict movement, or close schools and businesses; instead the country’s prime minister is opting for a “herd immunity” solution, allowing a large percentage of the population to become immune to infection through vaccination or infection itself. But due to the lack of a viable vaccine this approach has been controversial, as has the government’s comparatively lax approach. Is the UK’s approach to the coronavirus a more logical approach to the pandemic or a callous gamble that could cost countless lives in the country? independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-herd-immunity-uk-nhs-outbreak-pandemic-government-a9399101.html
Stats of Viewpoints
Government response doesn’t matter when you consider how ill prepared the NHS is
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Purely miscommunication
0 agrees
0 disagrees
The government doesn’t care – cruel policy to save on pension pay-outs
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Makes more sense in the long run
0 agrees
0 disagrees
It's a gamble based on many unknowns
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Viewpoints
Add New Viewpoint

Government response doesn’t matter when you consider how ill prepared the NHS is

To even discuss herd immunity at such a crucial time in the outbreak was appalling, herd immunity on its own would be a good strategy if healthcare could cope with it, but hospital bosses around the country had described the UK’s National Health Service as “on its knees” prior to the coronavirus outbreak [1]. Likewise the explanation that the government’s lacklustre response to the pandemic was merely miscommunication ignores the facts that the UK government’s own assessment was bleak, predicting the death of half a million Brits. The turnaround of government policy was the very first step, and the least Johnson’s government could do. But now is the time to get real, to demand leadership, to boost the NHS, to fund basic income packages for all, universal closures of schools, universities and businesses, to build field hospitals utilising army engineers, and carrying out the “testing testing testing” the WHO recommended, most of which is still not being carried out in the UK.

independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-news-latest-deaths-uk-infection-flu-a9360271.html theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/15/from-the-nhs-to-brexit-what-can-we-expect-from-johnsons-government theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/15/epidemiologist-britain-herd-immunity-coronavirus-covid-19 youtube.com/watch?v=2Un6ytSCVLU youtube.com/watch?v=A_rAWAkKVHg

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Mar 28
Created

Purely miscommunication

While cynical news sources describe the government’s change in position of herd immunity as government failure, the UK government maintains their intent to slow the spread of the coronavirus, leaving this story a case of miscommunication rather than cold-hearted policy. When initially outlining the country’s strategy to tackle coronavirus in mid-March there was mention of herd immunity, but following public statements clarified that the idea was mentioned as a side effect of the strategy, not the aim of the government’s response. It is ridiculous to think the UK government’s policy was simply for 60% of the country to get COVID-19, but it is also a forgivable assumption based on the confusion generated by this massive failure of public messaging. The UK government have since implemented a national closure to all schools and non-essential businesses, while encouraging social distancing and self-isolation, and are putting forward a substantial £350bn bailout of loans and grants to businesses, as well as a promise to pay 80% of wages for those not working due to the pandemic.

theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-pandemic-herd-immunity-uk-boris-johnson/608065 newscientist.com/article/2237385-why-is-the-uk-approach-to-coronavirus-so-different-to-other-countries theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/mar/20/government-pay-wages-jobs-coronavirus-rishi-sunak

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Mar 28
Created

The government doesn’t care – cruel policy to save on pension pay-outs

To call this a high risk strategy is to describe it too mildly, the UK government’s reaction to coronavirus prioritises profits over public safety and puts the lives of countless pensioners at risk. Even though this may seem a bit of a jump from the government’s official stance, it was communicated by Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s Chief Adviser, early during the UK outbreak, when he stated the governments strategy was to “protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad” [1]. This is exactly what many commentators and most of the general public have taken the herd immunity strategy to mean, and would fit well in the wider policy decisions of the Johnson government. Since coming to power Johnson has revealed plans that could be described as a war on pensioners, with ideas to strip free travel and TV licences from all pensioners, while leaving others without a pension entirely. With all this in mind its not too much of a stretch to point out what the government stands to gain from a cruel herd immunity policy, especially considering the government's own assessment was such a dire prediction [2].

newscientist.com/article/2237385-why-is-the-uk-approach-to-coronavirus-so-different-to-other-countries [1] thenational.scot/news/18325353.cummings-protect-economy-pensioners-die-too-bad theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/07/state-pension-shakeup-simpler-fairer-nasty-surprise telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/25/scrap-free-bus-pass-tv-licence-pensioners-promote-intergenerational theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/07/state-pension-shakeup-simpler-fairer-nasty-surprise [2] independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-news-latest-deaths-uk-infection-flu-a9360271.html

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Mar 28
Created

Makes more sense in the long run

The herd immunity strategy to dealing with a pandemic makes more sense in the long run, causing less damage to human life and economically. Not only is slowing the virus more dangerous on a grander scale, no matter how long these isolation measures will remain in place there is likely to be a second outbreak when such measures end, just kicking the problem further down the road while straining the whole country economically. More importantly establishing a herd immunity early means there is less of a chance of another viral outbreak at a more damaging time of year, for example in the winter flu season. Furthermore the UK government’s initial response was not simply a lack of measures, with millions to be put into businesses to address the long term impact, it is this long term, bigger picture outlook that has caused the Dutch government to adopt this approach also.

vaxopedia.org/2017/05/22/challenging-the-concept-of-herd-immunity forbes.com/sites/joshuacohen/2020/03/27/caught-between-herd-immunity-and-national-lockdown-holland-hit-hard-by-covid-19/#57346d73557c

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Mar 28
Created

It's a gamble based on many unknowns

Not enough is known about the virus, but UK government advisers believe that the virus will be a reoccurring infection. This has inspired the government's plan to slow and manage the outbreak in order to build herd immunity, where the majority develop an immunity so that medical services will no longer be overwhelmed. The trouble is that in the short term the plan risks people dying and hospital becoming overwhelmed, as the virus has led to sudden spikes in cases with people often being asymptomatic for some time after contracting the virus, making it difficult to manage or react as it develops. Furthermore the country’s National Health Service is chronically underfunded and UK hospitals a critically short of hospital beds, putting the country in a worse position than Italy healthcare-wise. Finally the lack of any anti-viral drugs or immunisation, and no clear sign of when one will be available, makes this risk taking strategy particularly worrisome.

scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/3075368/uks-coronavirus-herd-immunity-plan-deadly-gamble theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/15/coronavirus-the-huge-unknows-by-robin-mckie unison.org.uk/news/article/2018/04/healthconf-funding heraldscotland.com/news/18285013.nhs-warns-shortage-critical-care-beds-uk-coronavirus-cases-exceed-100

Agree
Disagree
Latest conversation
Daniel Halliday
Mar 18
Created
Translate