Headline

COVID-19: UK epidemic growing as R number goes above 1 (BBC)

Abdul-Rahman Abbas (Co-Founder)
September 11, 2020
Summary

New figures shows that the number of Coronavirus cases (COVID-19) is increasing across the UK. The R (reproduction) number, which describes the number of people an infected person passes the virus on to, has now increased to above 1, indicating a shift towards an upward trend of cases. Public Health England (PHE) found that the majority of these cases are in younger people (16-24). However, there is now also evidence of a steep increase in infection in the over-85s. As a result, new restrictions on group gatherings have been implemented.

New figures shows that the number of Coronavirus cases (COVID-19) is increasing across the UK. The R (reproduction) number, which describes the number of people an infected person passes the virus on to, has now increased to above 1, indicating a shift towards an upward trend of cases. Public Health England (PHE) found that the majority of these cases are in younger people (16-24). However, there is now also evidence of a steep increase in infection in the over-85s. As a result, new restrictions on group gatherings have been implemented.

Food for Thought

Younger people seem to be less risk averse when it comes to catching COVID-19. However, although younger people are much less likely to die from the virus, there have been many cases of 'long-COVID' in this demographic. This is a long-term debilitating syndrome that can have differing impacts on different parts of the body. It's usually described as 'signfiicant fatigue even with little effort/exercise' and results in breathlessness. It has a significant affect on morbidity (i.e. quality of life) even for those who are seemingly very healthy pre-COVID infection! There are still lots of studies looking into 'long-COVID syndrome', however, it's an increasing concern for the NHS.

How do we increase concern for COVID-19 within this target population? The government has allegedly paid social media influencers to promote testing. Do you think this is a good idea? What are the positives and negatives of doing this? Could influencers help encourage viewers to wear masks? Would that work? If not, why not?!

What are the risks of long-term restrictions? Many argue that increased carelessness across society (e.g. masks not being worn when they should be and the lack of social distancing at gatherings) is a result of lockdown fatigue. Too many restrictions and people will simply begin to ignore them! There's also concern that civil unrest may increase, even if in the early post-COVID era where signiicant numbers of job losses may occur (we've already seen large figures of unemployment in the UK and USA).

Practice Interview QUestions
  1. If you were Public Health England (PHE), how would you persuade 16-24s to be more careful and adhere to guidelines?
  2. If you were Prime Minister, would you favour further lockdown restrictions at the expense of possible increases in unemployment and civil unrest?
  3. What are the positives and negatives of paying social media influencers to promote public health agendas?
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