How/when do we ease lockdown? Everyone agrees there can’t be 2nd wave. But question of how to balance controlling the disease & unlocking economy contentious. Will cabinet allow tolerable level of transmission (with eye on NHS capacity), or try to drive it out/push cases down?
Testing key to living with #COVID19 & govt gone full circle. Having abandoned mass testing/contact tracing on Mar 12, Hancock said y’day this the strategy once more. But he also told me at presser UK didn’t need regime in place before lockdown measures could start to be relaxed
Put bluntly politicians will have to decide whether to accept certain level of #COVID19 deaths in order to release social restrictions & stimulate the economy, or not. That is hugely contentious. Hancock is acutely focused on protecting NHS. Sunak/Sharma are looking at economy
As @PJTheEconomist puts it: “It's clearly the case that the economic consequences of the lockdown & continuing the lockdown are staggeringly bad.

“We're going to end up at the end of this year with a deficit of £250bn perhaps, which is about £200bn more than we were expecting”
But there long-term health cost of lockdown too. @devisridhar: “We’ve seen this tension between economy & health...this the wrong debate to be having, because the economy affects lives” She says trace testing only way out. Allows you to keep numbers low & re-open society
So where does it leave us?
- Social distancing in place for some time (Hancock said track/trace only way to ease rules)
- Plans being drawn up for up to 12 mths of social distancing (cld cover schools/offices/transport)
- Exit in long run via vaccine or highly effective drugs
Govt also has to convince us to pick life back up
- People scared. 0.9% of kids going to school (c40% eligible via key worker scheme)
- Public like lockdown
- As minister said ”Messaging’s highly effective. Stay at home & live or go outside & risk death. We need to tilt narrative
You can follow @BethRigby.
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