Is it the right time to completely end UK Covid-19 restrictions?

As statistics show that hospital admissions and death rates of Covid-19 have plummeted, the time has come to ask whether the government are right to completely end restrictions in the UK. To answer this question properly we must properly analyse the data provided by the government whilst also looking at other viral pandemics of the […]

Hannah Ross
8th March 2022
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
As statistics show that hospital admissions and death rates of Covid-19 have plummeted, the time has come to ask whether the government are right to completely end restrictions in the UK. To answer this question properly we must properly analyse the data provided by the government whilst also looking at other viral pandemics of the past. 

Graphs provided by the government show that positive tests, hospital admissions, and deaths are all on a downward trend, with the number of deaths recorded in the last seven days on 25th February of 845 – a 17.8% decrease from the previous seven-day period. Whilst the number of tests conducted has also dropped, this trend may be due to people not presenting symptoms and the people who have a severe reaction are more likely to have taken a test. The other thing to note is that deaths are measured by whether an individual has had a positive test within the last 28 days and so may be slightly higher than in reality, as Covid was not necessarily the cause of death. 

It is also reassuring to look at vaccination status data. The government has kept a record of all vaccinations of people above the age of 12. Whilst only 66.3 percent of individuals have had their third dose of vaccine, it is important to note that children between the ages of 12-15 only qualify for this dose if they are high risk. Alternatively, looking at the first-dose vaccinations, 91.5 percent of the population over the age of 12 have had this. This bodes well as the World Health Organisation have found that vaccinating reduces the risk of transmission in the Delta variant by up to 40 percent and there is up to a 60 percent reduction in other variants (excluding Omicron which awaits further research). It also significantly reduces the risk of getting seriously ill and dying from the virus. 

The other point of note is how viruses tend to evolve and have done in the past. For example, influenza used to be much deadlier than it is now. Viruses do not fare well if they ended up killing the person they inhabit because it makes its ability to spread much more difficult and so it dies before it can make more. This is also true of coronavirus. We can see a significant downward trend in deaths and severe symptoms as people react to this and are more likely to prevent infection (through the restrictions we have had in place for the last two years). With the flu now we offer an annual vaccine to those who are particularly susceptible to it and whilst there is a small number of people who die from it each year, this number is very low, and we live quite happily with the virus. I see coronavirus heading down a similar route – society cannot function if we continue to have thousands of people off work as well as the huge blow it has had to our economy. 

In conclusion, I believe we are reaching the point where it is the right time for restrictions to end. Deaths and hospital admissions are on the decline and will only grow smaller as uptake of the second and third doses of the vaccine increases. Society must go back to normal for people to live their lives to the fullest extent. Perhaps it is wrong to remove all restrictions at once, however, it is certainly the time to transition towards this stage. 

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