‘Ignoring the evidence available on 12 July would be rash.’
I drove my wife to a nearby sports stadium on Sunday to have her second Covid-19 immunization. I sat and watched a sports event that was taking on there while I waited for her.
I overheard one of those scheduled to compete explain that they were still healing from a lengthy Covid and were not quite ready to compete again, having lost a significant amount of muscle mass.
It occurred to me that if a younger individual participating in high-level competitive athletics could be laid low by Covid-19, the rest of us were most certainly not out of the woods. As a result, I am unsurprised that nurses and other health and care sector employees have done little to conceal their disappointment with the government’s abrupt decision to abolish all Covid-19 limitations in England.
Nursing Times polled nurses on social media about their reactions to the prime minister’s Monday announcement that all Covid-19 limitations would be lifted by 19 July.
Nurses expressed anxiety and concern over the proposed elimination of both social distancing measures and legal obligations to wear a face mask, leaving the latter to individual choice.
Nicki Credland, chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses, went further, telling us that it felt reckless to her, echoing opposition lawmakers. Several organizations, including the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, NHS Employers, and NHS Providers, made statements warning that the virus will not vanish on 19 July and encouraging the government to make decisions based on the available facts.
The prime minister’s declaration comes in the face of mounting evidence that the UK is seeing an increasing daily case rate that has nearly surpassed 30,000 at the moment and, according to the government’s own predictions, could reach an unprecedented 100,000 per day later this summer.
Although hospital admissions and death are increasing slowly, they are increasing and will undoubtedly have an effect on efforts to address the massive backlog of other treatment. Additionally, as discussed previously, what about lengthy Covid?
Meanwhile, countries who appeared to be the most successful in combating Covid-19 are now grappling with the Delta form – Sydney, Australia, has been placed under lockdown, and Israel has reimposed restrictions on mask wearing.
As with everyone else, I realize the severe economic reasons for the effort to cease limitations and that the ramifications of Covid-19’s continued presence require us to accept it as a part of life moving ahead if we are to reclaim any semblance of normalcy.
What was disconcerting on Monday was hearing the prime minister repeatedly assert that his intentions were prudent, which they are not. They are a risk that could pay off in any direction.
On the one hand, while instances may be increasing, vaccination may have severed the link between serious illness and the virus. On the other hand, we could find ourselves back in terrible problems come autumn and winter, in exchange for a few months of profit. I truly hope it is the latter.
Monday was also the NHS’s 73rd birthday. The commemorations included a memorial service at the London Blossom Garden in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to pay tribute to nurses and other healthcare professionals who have died as a result of Covid-19. Additionally, a special ceremony was held at St Paul’s Cathedral to reflect on the epidemic and the sacrifices made by health personnel.
Additionally, to commemorate the occasion, the Queen presented the health service with the George Cross, the country’s highest civilian honor.
As the NHS braces itself for what appears to be a long and arduous winter, let us hope that ministers will have evaluated all relevant evidence by 12 July. If the evidence and expert advice indicate prudence, then the government must exercise care. Ignoring it would be irresponsible.