The Government won’t tell you this – so I will – it wants (most) of us to catch Covid. And this week I complied.
The Government aren’t out to get most of us infected because they are evil and want people to die. Instead they (I assume) see something like the following as good reasons not to be unduly worried about the fact we now have record infection rates in the UK:
- Infection, in general, boosts immunity to future infections and for most people (this includes me) who have been vaccinated, the current variant doing the rounds is likely to be less severe than previous variants, so it’s better to acquire additional immunity from this variant than from what might be coming next (more on this below).
- We are now in the Spring and generally this leads to lower demands on the health service anyway, so if people are going to get infected it’s better that it happens now and not in the winter.
- Most adults have now had three doses of vaccine in the space of 12 months – if the effect of vaccinations fades over time (making it more likely that those infected will face serious problems) and newer variants are more likely to evade vaccines, then – the argument runs – better to get it now and boost acquired immunity.
None of these arguments are foolproof – and Christina Pagel cuts through a lot of the complacency like a knife through butter. And, of course, there is the basic trust-weakening dishonesty about the whole thing: but nor are they scientific mumbo-jumbo.
Pagel’s most salient point (which goes to 1 on the list above) is that we can have no certainty that any future variants will be less severe than any we have seen in the past. They are just as likely to be more severe – as severity and transmission are not evolutionarily linked for the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
The current approach of pretending the pandemic is over is likely to severely weaken public trust in future health measures, if required,
Her point that there is not much more we can do with the current vaccines is also one that should be taken seriously: despite the promise that mRNA vaccines offered the ability to relatively quickly reconfigure what was on offer there has been little done on that front. Partly, I’m sure, because the commercial risk is high: that is where governments could and should intervene to share the risk.
As for me: so far it hasn’t been worse than a bad cold – the mornings are worse than the afternoons for some reason: sleep can be poor because of a sore throat and it’s often very sore first thing, though gets better quickly after that.