Evaluation: London has offered the newest COVID thriller
By Rowland Manthorpe, know-how correspondent
Covid-19 has generated many mysteries. Right here’s yet one more so as to add to the listing: what occurred to hospital admissions in London since mid-October.
Check out the crimson line within the first graph beneath: it barely strikes. Even when lockdown began and ended, there was barely a flicker. It’s as if the lockdown by no means occurred.
This is without doubt one of the many puzzling options to emerge from the second set of lockdowns throughout the UK. As a substitute of turning into clearer, the image has solely acquired extra sophisticated.
In England, for example, the lockdown clearly introduced down hospital admissions within the North East and Yorkshire. It did the identical within the Midlands, however with a vital distinction: post-lockdown, they began to leap again up once more.
The identical factor occurred in Wales, however to a better extent. It went right into a 17-day “firebreak” lockdown between Friday 23 October and Monday 9 November. First Minister Mark Drakeford promised it could be a “brief, sharp shock to show again the clock, decelerate the virus and provides us extra time”.
The lockdown did certainly decelerate the virus (there’s a lag between measures being launched and them taking impact, so we are able to clearly see that lockdown labored). However, because the second graph exhibits, it solely did so very briefly.
The important thing issue was most likely what occurred when lockdown ended. Pubs, bars and eating places reopened – and, sadly, hospitality does appear to extend circumstances. The Welsh lockdown delayed the unfold of the virus, however as a result of restrictions didn’t keep in place, it was not more than a pause.
What ought to the Welsh authorities do subsequent? There may be discuss of one other firebreak, however wouldn’t that simply have the identical impact as earlier than? Do additional restrictions must be launched afterwards? Is there a technique to sluggish the unfold with out imposing the hardest ranges of restrictions?
These similar questions are additionally being requested in London, which now has the best case fee per 100,000 within the nation, with a fee of 191.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. Will it go into Tier 3, regardless of the financial harm that can do?
There may be one argument in opposition to a transfer into Tier 3: hospital capability within the capital. Regardless of the latest rise in admissions, London remains to be far-off from the place it was on the peak.
However even when politicians are their scientific advisors are comforted by that, they are going to be very involved by the development depicted in that crimson line within the closing graph: the mysterious rise of hospital admissions.
What you may name “Tier 4” did not have an apparent influence in London. How do we all know that Tier 3 will do any higher? And if it doesn’t, what is going to occur subsequent?