There is good news (with a caveat) on the rate of infection in the three areas I am monitoring this week.
All have declined, with the overall suppressive impact of the wider social lockdown combining with mass vaccination to counteract the upward pressure from schools being open en masse.
While this is very welcome, the effect in all three places taken together is that infection rates are now only a little below the level they were when schools reopened. This is also true nationally.
The comparison with an extrapolation of the previous trend shows how this has missed a golden opportunity to bear down on the virus to near extinction point.
The impact of schools reopening can be seen in the higher rate of infections for school age cohorts than any others – explained very clearly here by the NEU.
The next two weeks, with schools on Easter break, will reduce that upward pressure.
These are therefore the last weeks in which the reopening of schools is the main upward driver of infections, before the loosening of restrictions from April 6th begins to have an effect from about April 20th onwards – and the scheduled further loosening on April 12th kicks in from about April 28th.
The government calculation is that a wide enough vaccination roll out will reduce hospitalisations and death enough to be able to reopen on a far wider scale and get away with “living with the virus.”
The attempt to live with the virus in the absence of a high enough mass vaccination rate can be seen in Brazil; where Bolsonaro’s Bossa Nova is an unambiguous dance of death.
A reliance on mass vaccination as a single line of defence depends on the virus not evolving any variants that resist the vaccines. If it does, all countries that have not carried out a zero covid strategy will be back in the morass.