A month ago, I wrote piece mostly about the lag time between maximum daily new cases and the maximum daily deaths from Covid-19. I also noted that this lag time extends to just about everything that happens during this pandemic1. At the time I wrote the piece, the UK had reached the peak of its fourth wave (on July 21), two days after its Freedom Day. That peak of infection was at a seven-day moving average (SDMA) of 47,101 new cases per day2.
This metric then started to decline (the lockdown worked!) and that was looked upon by numerous halfwits as vindication of the Freedom Day decision, mostly because they are incapable of contemplating the concept of a lag time between cause and effect. As if to demonstrate clearly the roughly two-week lag time, the number of new cases per day continued to decline, reaching a minimum of 25,760 (SDMA) on August 3rd, 17 days after Freedom Day2. It then turned around, and a month ago I opined that this reversal did not augur well for the future infection rate and death rate in the UK. At that time (August 7th), daily new cases had climbed to 26,615 and deaths had climbed to 90 per day1,2. A month later, and the augury has become reality such that the UK has a daily new infection rate (SDMA) of 38,065 cases per day and 135 deaths a day (as at September 7)2.
This increase in infections, hospitalisations and deaths is clearly worrying the Johnson government. Despite this, government ministers have denied that they plan to impose a ‘firebreak’ lockdown in October if these continue at their current rate. However, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said the contingency plan had been drawn up amid a recent rise in hospitalisations and infections. The member said that the precaution could help ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed by an “extended peak” of cases this boreal autumn3. I expect that cases, hospitalisations and deaths will continue to rise and a lockdown will be imposed.
The UK now has 64% of its total population fully vaccinated. This translates to 80% of the 16+ population fully vaccinated. Australia now stands at 31% fully vaccinated, which translates to 39% of the 16+ population fully vaccinated4.
It is clear that the verbiage about opening up at 70% of 16+ fully vaccinated has declined recently, presumably after seeing what has happened in other places who are coping (badly) with the Delta variant of Covid-19. The talk of opening up at 80% of 16+ fully vaccinated would leave Australia open to the same sort of increase in cases and deaths as now being suffered by the UK. Indeed, Canada, which has 68% of its total population (i.e. 85% of its 16+ population) is suffering a fourth wave of infection, with over 3,700 new cases (SDMA) per day and 19 deaths per day5. Canada’s population, at 38 million, is about 1.5 times that of Australia’s. If Australia opens up before it reaches a much higher vaccination rate than 80% of its 16+ population, the infection rate and death rate could be, on a per capita basis, worse than Canada is currently experiencing.