‘Living with the virus’ makes no sense. Only half of the UK is fully vaccinated | Anthony Costello | The Guardian

Britain’s leaders and their advisers told us last year that we could not suppress the virus. China and Vietnam did, within six weeks. They told us these countries would inevitably face a huge second wave. They haven’t; just smaller outbreaks, suppressed with good public health practice implemented by people on the ground. As we know, exploding cases in March 2020 forced the UK into a 13-week full national lockdown, with huge damage to livelihoods, the economy and mental health. None of the east Asian states had national lockdowns, only local ones. In 2020, China’s GDP grew by 2% and Vietnam’s by 2.9%, according to the World Bank, compared with the UK’s 9.9% contraction. Last summer the UK government set up a privatised, call centre-based test-and-trace system divorced from our underfunded local public health and primary care teams – quite unlike anything done in successful east Asian states. It couldn’t possibly work, and it didn’t. The Treasury refused to give any financial support to poorer people to isolate – in case, as the then health secretary, Matt Hancock, told a Commons select committee, they “gamed the system”. So poor families gamed the test-and-trace system instead, t

Source: ‘Living with the virus’ makes no sense. Only half of the UK is fully vaccinated | Anthony Costello | The Guardian