Currently there is lot of confusion, stress and fear about the UK’s lack of action over covid-19. Believe it or not, the government seems to have a good plan but are communicating the science behind it very poorly. Therefore, we decided to take a deeper diver to understand their Strategy through all the media and political waffle.
Here is a breakdown of what seems to be going on:
COVID-19 is a new virus and nobody has existing immunity, this means it will spread very fast through the country. Stopping the virus is not easy, it puts huge stress on hospitals and requires long isolation periods for entire countries (e.g. Italy, China, Iran) – unfortunately there are still deaths.
The UK is NOT aiming to STOP the virus like many other countries. Instead it is aiming to CONTROL who gets ill.
Good news Stats: 80% of people will recover quickly and be absolutely fine.
These are the people the government wants to get ill, as many people and as quickly as possible (this is why schools and big events are still open). As this 80% recovers something called ‘herd immunity’ grows. This means that because 80% of people have now beat the virus and have higher immunity – it cannot spread quickly like before.
Cautious Stats: 15% of people who get the virus will need extra care
The government still wants these people to get ill, as they also increase herd immunity. However, this group needs to be managed so that there is enough medical care for everyone when they need it.
Extreme Care Stats: 5% will get seriously ill.
The government does NOT want these people to get the virus. These people generally include the elderly, those with low immunity, and those with history of respiratory illness.
Once ‘herd immunity’ has grown the general population will be resistant to the virus, making it a lower threat. Essentially the majority are fighting the virus so that the minority can live in a safer community.
People in the 80% should prepare to get ill.
Gather the supplies you would need for a week off work with flu. Monitor your symptoms carefully and do not panic. Remember, unnecessarily rushing for care could put others at risk. IF your symptoms get worse you may be in the 15%. You should now seek medical care. There are good details of what to look for on the NHS website. People in the 5% need to self isolate and quickly, probably for 2-4 weeks. Those coming into contact with vulnerable groups should take extra precautions or also consider self isolation.
The government’s plan is scientifically sound and could demonstrate a new approach for dealing with COVID-19. HOWEVER, their communication is not great and they NEED to be explicitly clear with what they are doing.
Managing care for the 15% will be a very delicate balancing act and the 5% are at substantial risk unless isolated. Which is why the Government has stated from March 16th those with the most serious health conditions must be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks’’
Expect to see UK cases skyrocket over the next few weeks, though hopefully deaths will remain proportionally low.
Keep up to date with our LIVE COVID-19 factsheet and figures, we’re updating regularly to ensure it reflects Government Advice as this evolves HERE: https://www.latushealth.co.uk/covid-19-advice-for-employers/