To tackle the coronavirus, we need aggressive suppression measures and aggressive vaccination programmes.
First published in January 2021.
The front page of the i newspaper, Friday 1 January 2021.
This is nonsense – you cannot outrun the virus (which grows exponentially) with a vaccine programme (which does not).
The graphic below, via SimpleCovid.org, explains everything.
- The Wolf is the virus with cases doubling every 9 days in London right now.
- The Rabbit is the vaccine programme, currently doing ~300,000 doses/week in the UK.
Despite the massive head-start the Wolf easily catches up. By the time the Rabbit reaches 100m, the Wolf is already a kilometre away.
We cannot outrun the virus.
It is estimated 30% of the UK population are vulnerable to severe disease – which is about 20,000,000 people.
At 300,000 people a week, it takes 15 months to vaccinate them all. If we tripled the programme to 1 million people a week, it would take until May.
To achieve an end to the pandemic through vaccination alone would mean reaching a herd immunity threshold. With the new variant this would need to be very high, around 80% or above, or 52 million people. Even at 1 million doses/week, it takes a year to do this.
And in the meantime, we continue to average 550 deaths/day. If that continued on until May that is another >70,000 deaths from today, and continue overwhelming pressure on hospitals and healthcare.
We cannot outrun the Wolf. We must tackle it.
Which means aggressive suppression measures, with everything we have, to reduce the virus as much as possible. And aggressive vaccination programmes, running 24/7, day and night, as fast as we can deliver it.
So, here comes the New Year’s resolution, same (at least for now) as the old one: Wash your hands, cover your face, make space, fresh air, and stay at home.
What we make of 2021 is entirely up to us. Let’s get this one right this time.🔷
- The R number and growth rate in the UK | Government Office for Science
- Healthcare in the United Kingdom | UK Government
Dr Dominic Pimenta, Doctor. Writer. Researcher. Chairman of HelpThemHelpUs.co.uk. Active NHS campaigner.
- Dr Dominic Pimenta is the author of Duty of Care | Welbeck