COVID-19: new UofG-led report examines options for exiting the pandemic
The University of Glasgow's Ad Hoc Response Team, led by Professor Beatrice Heuser, Chair of International Relations, has published a report analysing the options open to the UK Government and other nations as they seek to move out of COVID-19 lockdown.
The report, "COVID-19: policy options, effects and resulting scenarios (May 2020-end 2021)", is published together with Coriolis Technologies.
Governments the world over are facing four options, the report argues:
- To continue lockdown until a vaccine or other strongly effective mitigating medication is found. This is not expected before well into 2021.
- To lift the lockdown and reimpose it periodically, as all lifting will invariably start up the infections again.
- To lift the lockdown partially so that most businesses and schools can open again, but continue with extensive restrictions to keep the infection rates down: no mass gatherings, no restaurants and cafes to open again, no tourism, mass testing and wearing of masks, intrusions on civil liberties by tracking and isolating infected individuals.
- To go back to business as usual, hoping for herd immunity which we would get only once 60-80% of the population has contracted the illness, of course with a considerable number of old and otherwise vulnerable people not surviving.
Professor Heuser argues: "Unfortunately, with little or no co-ordination, governments are one by one plumping for Option 3 as they consider Options 1 and 2 too expensive. But Option 3 – euphemistically presented as “the end of lockdown” – may well have to cede to one or more new lockdowns if the remaining measures are not enough to contain a surge in reinfections overstretching the capacities of health services. Would going for a planned and co-ordinated Option 2 not be better?
First published: 17 April 2020