Sarah Williamson

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A Look Back at the UK’s COVID-19 Containment Strategy: Did We Get it Wrong and at What Cost?

by Sarah Williamson BSc Dip ION (Dist.) Coronavirus, a year ago, seemed like something peculiar to Wuhan in China – Oh! How we might long for those days. Since then, like most countries across the world, the UK has pursued a strategy that began with “three weeks to flatten the curve” and has stretched out to restrictions for the best part of a year? The aim of the UK strategy was to postpone COVID-19 deaths until an effective vaccine became available and to reduce the likelihood of the NHS becoming overwhelmed, allowing surgeries and treatments to continue. The mantra has been “Save lives; protect the NHS”. The real question now is did we save lives and protect the NHS? The question we need to answer is not are the hospitals busy, but did our strategy help reduce hospitalisations and deaths? Our aim should be saving the most lives, not just COVID-19-positive lives and reducing NHS admissions. What did the WHO guidelines for a pandemic recommend and why did we do something else? In October 2019, the WHO guidelines for a respiratory pandemic suggested the following – regular hand washing, respiratory etiquette (i.e. don’t cough or sneeze on people), face masks for symptomatic people, regular cleaning of surfaces, open windows and doors and isolate the sick. Contact tracing, once the disease...

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May 2024
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