The UK is reopening, the world will have to follow suit, and why not?
With most people vaccinated and the door open to reverse, now is as good a time as any, but masks would be good
I was trained as a scientist and as such always want as much data and evidence as possible when weighing the risks and benefits of a challenging question or problem. So when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the details of Britain’s planned grand reopening, set for July 19, alarm bells started ringing. My initial thought was that there are still many things we don’t know about the trajectory of this virus or pandemic. There didn’t seem to be enough hard data — not for me at least — to feel comfortable that it would be safe to roll back restrictions now.
Two things changed my mind. First, Johnson made clear that the government could reimpose some Covid-19 measures as needed if the virus staged a resurgence that put pressure on the health service or caused problems for the vaccinated. That’s an important safety valve because there are still so many unknowns. But also, I have increasingly come to the realisation that we have to bite the bullet at some point, even knowing that there will be risks. Now is a good time.
The government already delayed the “return to normal” by four weeks to allow for more vaccinations amid the spreading Delta variant and now a lot more people have been inoculated. Authorities could have waited until the vaccination rate was even higher. But what is the magic number and when would we have hit it? If the government didn’t make the move when schools are closed and most people are able to socialise outdoors (assuming the British weather allows it), when would it have done it?..