Image from Kyungbuk dominilbo, South Korea

In common with the USA, Brazil and other countries that either reacted far too late to the pandemic, or even catastrophically ignored it, we now need to learn from our mistakes.

It is possible to live with the virus without lockdown. The most successful countries have shown that. South Korea is similar in size and population to the UK. But the latest data show only 61 new cases and just three deaths.

How was that achieved?

The answer is a combination of strict guidelines. Everyone wears masks, even including infants at nursery school (see image from nursery school in South Korea). Test and trace was introduced early and is thorough and strict. Everyone is actively traced and monitored for compliance. The result is that it was possible for the economy to be a top priority as well as people’s health.

It is too late for the UK to act exactly in the same way. We have far too high rates of new cases. Hindsight tells us what we could have done, but it doesn’t tell us what we should now do.

Nevertheless, in the longer term, we still have to achieve the same balance between health care and the economy. In short, we now have to find a way to live with the virus. As our last post on this showed, we have to become SERIOUS about it: http://www.voicesfromoxford.org/oxford-are-we-serious/

Teeming shopping streets with only 5% wearing masks have to become history. Masking up needs to become the default behaviour whenever possible.

If we want to save our economy and our health we need to become serious about living with the pandemic.

Denis Noble

This post is part of a VOX series on the Coronavirus pandemic:

Royal Society Report on masks

To mask or not to mask?

Why do walk toward danger?

Approaching the hour of darkness

A Blind Strategy on Covid-19?

Nipping an epidemic in the bud

Reminder: to support the Vaccine Project in Oxford University: https://www.development.ox.ac.uk/make-a-gift/coronavirus-research-fund

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