When the British stopped being different
Boris Johnson has implemented restrictions similar to those of other countries, abandoning its single mitigation path
Surveys of the YouGov and Ipsos firms on the coronavirus would disappoint the British who think they are different from the rest of the world and those who think that the British are rare. Between Spanish and British there was no difference, on February 4, in the percentage of those who considered themselves well informed (17% of Spanish, 16% of British) about the epidemic. In Italy they added 9%.
At the end of February, 56% of Japanese believed that the pandemic would affect their finance. Also 41% of Italians and 32% of British. French (22%) and Germans (19%) were the most confident. Six days ago, almost three out of four Italians believed that they would contract the virus. 48% of the British and 44% of the Spanish also feared it.
Pollsters' questions lend themselves to ambiguity and respondents appear to respond affected by the specific circumstances of their country, but on the list of demoscopy documents that scientific advisers have submitted to the British Government's Security Committee (COBR) no eccentric data on European populations.
The group of British researchers on epidemics, of mathematicians, doctors, historians, psychologists, anthropologists, politicians … dedicated to the coronavirus, however, decided to undertake a different way to that of other European countries – the mitigation of transmission instead of its suppression – until ten days ago Boris Johnson adopted similar measures to restrict social contact and movement.
Ian Boyd, Professor of Biology at the University of St. Andrews and former member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), who answers technical questions from the supreme COBR, explained in 'The Conversation' the mechanics of counseling, which feeds on subcommittees of specialists in new viruses, in models applied to healthcare or in behavioral psychosociology.
"If there are sometimes differences between the UK's approach to managing the Covid-19 epidemic and that of other countries, they will almost certainly be profoundly rooted in consensual advice which is formed with the participation of a large number of technical experts from all over the country ”, writes Boyd. "Very few countries have established this type of system."
The Government has published 35 documents prepared by the advisory committee. They offer information, for example, on measuring the impact that each of the restrictions that have been applied in different countries would have in reducing infections or deaths. How often have they been imposed all at the same timeFollowing the example of China, the actual data is generic.
The members of the subcommittee on the feasibility of restrictions calculated – again without empirical data – that the most accepted would be the isolation of those who have tested positive and of those who share their home, also that of those over 65 years of age. The isolation from the elderly It would also reduce the highest number of deaths, according to an assessment shared by modeling and social behavior specialists.
Already in the first documents prepared by the scientific advisers, the essential vision of the evolution of the epidemic that led to the adoption of the mitigation policy. The British consensus was skepticism about the duration of the effects of the suppression. The historical course of new flu is that the population becomes infected until immunity to the virus is achieved as a group.
Graham Medley, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stated on the BBC on March 13 that the best remedy would be send the vulnerable to a corner of the country and others to become infected with viruses on another coast. As it is impossible, the best epidemic would have to be long and smooth, according to Medley, so that the majority acquire immunity and society does not face new waves.
Sir Patrick Wallance, Head of the Government Scientific Advisory, followed the comment of his committee member Medley, putting a possible threshold for group immunity at 60% of the population. Prime Minister's Spokespersons they denied to restless means that the Government wanted the infection of the majority of the population.
The epidemic research group at Imperial College sent another document to the committee that weekend. I said that British strategy was going to fail Because the percentage of patients hospitalized in Italy and admitted to intensive care units is much higher than in China, Singapore or South Korea, the countries analyzed in a document three days earlier.
If Italy's percentages were repeated in the United Kingdom, the hospital system would be overwhelmed by a ratio of 8 to 1, the number of deaths could reach 250,000. The Prime Minister called on Monday for voluntary social distancing, and to the infected, older and vulnerable longer and stricter isolates. Suppression was already the only possible strategy.
The documents do not answer unknowns about the preparations since January or the slowness in the radical isolation of the elderly and vulnerable. Johnson hides behind the "scrupulous" follow-up of the "best scientific advice" to justify his decisions. The bottom line of this story is that a group of researchers at Oxford University now claims that the 50% of Britons are already infected.