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The weakest link in fighting Covid is not the public, it’s the UK government | Stephen Reicher

People tend to follow the science when it comes to Covid rules. It is a silver lining to hold on to as Omicron starts to take hold

The new Omicron variant is coming at us like an express train. If cases double every two and a bit days – three times in a week – that means eight times as much infection after one week, 64 after two, 512 times after three … It now seems Omicron is highly efficient at evading two doses of vaccine. What we don’t know yet is how likely it is to cause serious disease and death. Given that hospitalisations lag after infections and deaths after hospitalisations, it is simply too early to tell. However, even if Omicron were only a half or a quarter as serious as Delta in terms of hospitalisations, that would still lead to enough admissions to overwhelm a fragile NHS. This is an NHS already depleted by 10 years of austerity, with staff burnt out by two years of dealing with Covid and, since “freedom day” on 19 July, dealing with consistently high levels of Covid admissions.

To do nothing right now and stand by as cases spike would be akin to playing Russian roulette. While you just might get lucky and cases might not translate into hospitalisations, and a creaking NHS might stay standing, there are plenty of chances that this will not be the case, and it really isn’t a good idea to play such a lethal game with public health.

Stephen Reicher is a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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