Are we heading for a COVID Christmas?

Source: New York National Guard (via Flickr)

By Katherine Wheeler | Comment Editor

Out of lockdown, it can be easy to overlook news about COVID and even push aside reports of reimposed restrictions. As Christmas approaches, however, Boris Johnson has categorically denied plans for another lockdown. He has affirmed that rising infections and hospitalisations are being factored for and there will be no ‘plan B’.

The British Medical Association has criticised the Prime Minister’s plans, saying the government has been ‘wilfully negligent’ in their lax approach to face coverings. It appears that Westminster’s approach is to encourage and advise mask wearing from a distance with press conferences but fear imposing new rules may be unpopular, particularly for a second year running.

First Minister Mark Drakeford may have different plans. After lockdown restrictions lifted in September, the Welsh government indicated that, if cases rose to an unmanageable amount, tougher restrictions would be imposed. COVID cases in Wales are currently falling from a record high although cases are higher than they were at the same time last year. With the added challenge of flu season and now, it seems, a more severe strain of cold making its way round the country, it may be time to lockdown in time for Christmas.

A short circuit breaker lockdown like last Winter’s may be the key to relieving the pressure on the NHS this Christmas. Wales’ restrictions have been more rigorous than England’s throughout the pandemic and it may be time for England to catch up. Any effort to control cases now might mean a potentially restriction free future in 2022, a functioning vaccine booster programme and better hospital capability.

Katherine Wheeler Comment

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