Test and Trace

Test and Trace is a blunder but it could be the answer to all this mess-how can we use it to gain control?

Manchester has been up in arms with the government for some time now-perched between a wall and a trough in light of their current situation. The North of England has been hit hard with Covid19 and struggles to release itself from its wide and intertwining grasp. They are currently in local lockdown.

Andy Burnham-the Mayor of Greater Manchester regularly appears on the news to question the government’s actions within the north. Now Manchester has uncontrollable Covid numbers and will come under the strictest restrictions in the tier 3 initiative. The sentiment is Westminster do not deem the North important and have given inadequate support and subsequently-a lack of funding.

The North of England is only one part of the country but the reality is-many parts of the country are under strict lockdown. As it is in Scotland-the central belt has had to close all restaurants and pubs and other parts of the country are on stricter terms. The problem however, is continually getting worse. And I don’t believe the solution to be a vaccine. I think the solution is in track and trace.

What Is the Situation in Other Parts of The Country?

Wales is in full lockdown-even schools are closed and people are being asked what they think of it all. But the residents seem supportive, despite few cases-it has been reported. One Welsh woman made comment on the situation (or to such an affect) by saying:

‘We have to make sacrifices if we are to get rid of this terrible virus’

And she has a point-she was making particular reference to ‘Test and Trace’ and made comment upon ‘getting to the bottom of it’.  She meant that a full lockdown would be the only way to allow ‘Test and Trace’ to recover. The system in the UK is currently overwhelmed, and logic would suggest a full lockdown could allow ‘Test and Trace’ to focus. And consequently, perhaps find a more efficient way to process testing-from start to finish.

The Problem With Track and Trace

Subsequently, Test and Trace or Test and Protect within Scotland has run into problems only this week, which has resulted from demand outside the borders. There has been a delay at the Glasgow testing centre because of a backlog in England and Northern Ireland.

There are people suggesting Test and Trace needs to focus on the ‘super spreader’ events, rather than the individual cases. This could perhaps be another initiative that the system takes. It would allow for a ‘majority’ of the cases to be tracked, and to be better processed.

It is the ‘super spreader’ events that are wrecking havoc across the country, and common sense would suggest: putting the local area into lockdown. If these events could be curtailed, then we may get hold of this situation.

Although this may be part of the current initiative-the rest of the country is still open, and open to spread. Unfortunately, the virus is not being curtailed by having these local lockdowns at present-it is growing by the day. 

The Toll of Lockdown

Unemployment and mental health problems are also growing by the day. This is Andy Burnham’s defence. The toll of being indoors and the uncertainty about our jobs can easily invite depression into the home. However, Rishi Sunak has promised furlough for places of work that have to close. Over 6000 people die of suicide each year-in a normal year but Covid19 will undoubtedly expand that ten fold.

There is definitely an argument here. The question ishow long will we be asked to go into lockdown again if it happens? Test and Trace is the answer in this instance again-we need to use it to get people back to some form of normality.

The Way Forward for Test and Trace

The key would be in the plan to follow. By easing the pressure of ‘Test and Trace’, there may be a window of opportunity-in which maximum testing capacity could be rolled out, and those testing ‘negative’ would be able to re-enter society. The emphasis could be on those within the ‘super spreader’ events and those re-entering society.

These are just hypothetical ideas, but it makes sense to my mind. I always thought Covid19 must be contagious still-even though an individual may have had it numerous times. I did not think-just because you may have had it, you were then immune.This is despite the individual carrying antibodies; of course the ‘common cold’ is common because we all experience it a multitude of times. 

Catching Covid Does Not Mean You Are Immune

Edinburgh University agree-they have found evidence suggests we can still catch the virus despite carrying antibodies-each occurrence may be less severe, however. They give support to a Dutch study that found participants tracked since birth and over a long period of time-experienced subsequent Coronavirus illnesses (flu/cold) during the course of their life despite antibodies. 

Catching Covid19 like anything else, is concurrent with receiving a vaccine. And a vaccine does not mean you are completely immune either. Common sense tells us all of this and yet we are still looking for answers to what we already know. 

A Blow For Christmas

Recent news announced we are to be entering a full lockdown on November 2nd within Scotland; that or a tiered approach. The tiered approach will depend on local area and severity. 

Sadly, it looks like a full lockdown is the best way to control and manage the spread of the virus-and I believe: the only way to re-open effectively.