AS I write this letter (Thursday), the UK’s daily death toll from COVID-19 is the fifth highest in the world, behind Italy, Spain, Iran and France. We are running just three days behind France, four days behind Spain and two weeks behind Italy.

Certainly a week ago when there was talk of gaining ‘herd immunity’ as a way of combating the epidemic, the government gave every impression of being more concerned with stopping the NHS being overwhelmed than the potential death toll such policies would bring.

I am not sure that much has changed.

Today I hear the chief medical officer saying “The great majority of people who get this virus irrespective of age will recover from it and most of those will have a mild or moderate illness not requiring hospitalisation.” Such words I find disturbing. It doesn’t square with Monday’s Imperial College paper talking of a possible half a million dead.

“Find, isolate, test and treat every case to break the chains of Covid transmission,” was the strong advice from the World Health Organization a week ago. Yet at just that moment, with UK testing at last beginning to ramp up after two weeks flat-lining, the government announces it will no longer “track and trace”. The increased testing is needed to keep the NHS working. People with symptoms should simply self-isolate.

While the plan may be to “turn the tide” or “get on top of it” or even “send coronavirus packing,” let us hope and pray that this apparent hand-to-mouth planning from our government will prevent serious COVID-19 mortality without crashing the national economy in the process.


Bloxworth Road, Parkstone