When should we lift lockdown in Wales? This is the question on everyone’s cold and chapped lips at the moment. When exactly will the Welsh government lift lockdown and allow us all out to play again. Well, I’d say the time is about now plus 22 days for everything to open and for everything to go back to normal. That is the old normal, not some dystopian ‘police state’ new normal. Is this my opinion or am I ‘following the science’? Well, as a biologist, both.
The powers that control us have always said the aim of lockdown was to ‘protect the NHS’ and ‘save lives’. It might be worth reminding people how the WAG have handled our NHS since 1999 (devolution and creation of assembly). Wales had almost 20,000 hospital beds in 1990, although this had been cut to just under 15,000 by the time we got to govern ourselves. Now we have just 10,500 beds and an average occupancy of 87%. This was before Covid-19 of course.
Since Covid-19 first came to Wales, probably around Christmas 2019, and then when we all knew about it in Feb 2020, we have had plenty of time to increase hospital beds but only a year to train more staff. I assume this is ongoing, and it would be nice for the Welsh media (don’t all laugh) to ask the WAG how the numbers of new doctors and nurses are coming along? After all it took a number of tweets and messages, from this author, to ‘Drippy’, WAG, BBC Wales, ITV Wales and a fab Daily Telegraph journalist before anyone bothered to ask why our vaccinations were so slow. Israel were doing 150,000 a day and have now done almost all of their population (9 million) in a country exactly the same size as Wales, even with the logistical problems being much tougher in Israel of course. We pointed out that Wales should have opened all pubs by 24th January at this rate. We could have watched the 6 Nations in our packed local.
OK, we were being optimistic and credit where it’s due we have upped the rate of jabs and are now leading the UK, which is awesome. BUT, with 700,000 predicted to have been vaccinated by mid-Feb (i.e. about now), the science says that hospital admissions from Covid-19 will be down to bare minimum. At time of writing infections are down, deaths are down and only 9% of hospital patients are in with Covid-19. Therefore, we have ‘saved the NHS’, although no-one doubts the staff need a medal and a holiday.
So, lockdown? When will it be lifted Drippy? Today? Tomorrow? 22 days after your mid-Feb target?
The people have been patient, we have (mostly) obeyed the rules, the curtailing of freedoms we take for granted, the over zealous yellow vests. We have suffered collectively. Cancer patients have died, operations have been cancelled, businesses and livelihoods have been ruined, kids have lost out on schooling and people have died because of mental illness brought on by or worsened by ‘lockdown’.
We have now jabbed 20%+ of Wales. Soon (in a few weeks more we hope ) it will be 33%. Those people are good to go. They can catch the virus but in the vast majority of cases won’t get sick. They have less chance of passing it on as well (even though as we vaccinate more people there won’t be anyone left to pass it on to!). So why are we still locked down? Gyms and sport centres should now open. They help people stay fit and improve mental health. Pubs and restaurants can open with the same safeguards in place now! Not in a week or a month, now! By the time we get to 900,000 (33%) – we choose this figure as it’s the top five groups at risk – pubs, football grounds and live music should be fully open, as per normal. This is called science. Statistics. Call it what you want, but life MUST return to normal as soon as we can, otherwise what is the point of anything?
If things don’t reopen pretty soon then the WAG will not be following the science. They will be killing people and destroying businesses. So then we must ask why?
Even Hollywood can get this simple science right. Take ‘Contagion‘, the film blurb says: “A group of medical experts must race against time to stop an unknown virus that ignites a global pandemic.” Plot – Pandemic, deaths, scientists, vaccine, hope, all OK, the end.
Of course, stupid people might think this is an anti-Labour piece but nothing could be further from the truth. They can make fools of themselves without our help. Our health secretary, for example, is a supporter of sexist, racist, violent, anarchistic political pressure group BLM.
No, there is a genuine question here – when will we see lockdown lifted?
We want dates with the words February and March in there somewhere, not Easter or Autumn.