Omicron variant and the measures implemented in response to it

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kez19

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That's why when the pandemic is over I want the inevitable enquiry to also focus on how the media have behaved. They have behaved appallingly in my opinion almost seemingly pressurising the government to continually introduce restrictions and continually parroting doom and gloom "warnings" from experts without allowing counterbalancing arguments.


As clearly evidenced - Laura K at the press conference for Boris (BBC) (alongside Peston - ITV), and for in Scotland James Matthews of Sky to Nicola Stugeon asking on "more restrictions" - thats all the media ever do is call for more restrictons - never happy with anything else or looking at things more positivitly!

I'd like this to be turned onto the media who call for the restrictions and how would they help families struggling/businesses etc - they seem to get away with all this with lives ruined and they carry on a jolly without a care in the world! (not saying all journos are like this but as everyday this goes on thats the impression I get from the media - they can have their cake and eat it whilst the rest of the world suffers).
 
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quantinghome

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Oh not this again - those who may be severely affected will have been booster vaccinated. You know the thing that stops people from being "severely affected" as you put it.
Boosters are very effective but we don't how effective against Omicron. And we don't yet know whether Omicron will turn out be more severe, more mild or about the same as Delta. Isolating those who have tested positive seems to me to be the most basic measure to take.
 

yorkie

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No, I'm saying that all the talk on here about restrictions and lockdowns is missing the point.
No; you are missing the point and avoiding the questions.
They risk passing it on to others who may be severely affected. This risk is elevated with Omicron which is much more transmissible.
Everyone who is at even moderate risk has had the chance to be vaccinated. Everyone is going to be exposed to this virus. What about the risk of other viruses? The debate here is purely about delaying the inevitable; there is no way to avoid exposure to Sars-CoV-2 as we will all be exposed to it, it's purely a question of when.

Back to Omicron itself, here is a good video:

Omicron - 70 Times More Infectious Than Delta and Significantly Less Severe (Study from HKUMed)

Why is Omicron more transmissible and less severe?

An ex-vivo study (yet in peer-review) has demonstrated for the first time an insight into the potential mechanism.
Ferguson, Ding and other doom-mongers really won't like that.

I see Whitty is not yet ready to admit Omicron is less dangerous than Delta (despite an abundance of evidence) but has finally conceded it is not more dangerous than Delta.
 

Cdd89

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I can understand the impetus to spread out what will be an extremely high peak, but at this stage I don’t think even a severe lockdown after Christmas would do it (let alone Step 2). Most spread is within households, so once it’s seeded to someone in each household, the remaining spread will proceed in spite of any lockdown.

For the same reason, scrapping self isolation would be a logical response to a more transmissible variant that threatens to damage infrastructure. We did this with contacts for Delta and it wouldn’t be a huge extension to remove isolation from those infected.

Business support is another matter, but I am concerned that we are just stringing along unviable businesses. It’s easy to forget that 2019 saw endless Italian chain restaurants and pubs going under. The other thing I wish we’d stop wasting our money on is widespread PCR testing. It costs millions per day and while it’s the gold standard there must be better things that could be done with the money - in healthcare or otherwise. For general purposes LFD should be sufficient and people (or their employers) should pay for it.
 

John Luxton

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The difficulty is we're reaching the point where the magic money tree really is running bare. We already have a severe problem with inflation, which is probably going to be the biggest issue for 2022.

It doesn't help that we've wasted a lot of initiative doing things we didn't really need to do, or for longer than was necessary.
Well said

To be honest when this all kicked off in March 2020 and they started plucking the tree - my immediate thought was not worries about catching Covid but what are the financial implications going to be. Having taken early retirement and slightly less money coming in - the last thing I wanted was inflation to take off and taxes to rise at least until late 2025 when my state pension kicks in. But now they have even tinkered with the "triple lock".

The strategy for dealing with C19 should have been led by economists not medics / scientists - one would have expected that from a conservative government, always economy first. Economists should have been brought out to explain why it would not be sensible to follow similar strategies to other countries and the implications on peoples' pockets.

The government has been pretty good at inducing a state of fear into millions through psychology - I am sure they could have been equally successful if they had used the correct people pushing the economic view on those emergency broadcasts.

Combined with a prime minister who was truely Churchillian with the old war time "Britain can take it" attitude.

However, we end up with Boris who is about effective in his Covid strategy as Chamberlain was in his appeasement.
 

21C101

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For all the complaints here about possible restrictions and lockdowns, we need to acknowledge that they are essentially irrelevant to the situation we now face. Normal life is being disrupted simply as a result of the extremely rapid spread of Omicron. Public services are beginning to struggle as staff fall ill at the same time, and people are coming to their own conclusions about what level of social contact they want to prioritise, with inevitable effects on the hospitality and entertainment industry.
No, normal life is being disrupted by press, broadcast and government hysteria about a new common cold variant, just as it was disrupted a few weeks ago by similarly inciting public hysteria about fuel tanker driver shortages.

If no one was testing and no one was publicising it, life would be carrying on normally, just as it does every winter when large numbers of people suffer from respiratory viruses.

I'm beginning to think that a charge of Inciting Public Hysteria should be added to the Terrorism Act.
 

quantinghome

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Everyone who is at even moderate risk has had the chance to be vaccinated. Everyone is going to be exposed to this virus. What about the risk of other viruses? The debate here is purely about delaying the inevitable; there is no way to avoid exposure to Sars-CoV-2 as we will all be exposed to it, it's purely a question of when.
Yes, and it would be best for the "when" to be spread out so the health service can still function.
 

21C101

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Not many at present. But that's irrelevant - even if Omicron causes zero hospitalisations you will still see significant short term disruption to normal life if large numbers of people are in bed for a couple of weeks.
So what, that happens every winter. Except that a lot don't retreat to bed and keep going because they are not forced to isolate.
 

quantinghome

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No, normal life is being disrupted by press, broadcast and government hysteria about a new common cold variant, just as it was disrupted a few weeks ago by similarly inciting public hysteria about fuel tanker driver shortages.
You seriously think Omicron is a common cold variant?

If no one was testing and no one was publicising it, life would be carrying on normally, just as it does every winter when large numbers of people suffer from respiratory viruses.
Reminds me of Zaphod Beeblebrox and his Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses: "What you don't know can't hurt you".

I'm beginning to think that a charge of Inciting Public Hysteria should be added to the Terrorism Act.
Be careful what you wish for. Hysteria works both ways. Half this sub-forum would be locked up!
 

yorkie

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Yes, and it would be best for the "when" to be spread out so the health service can still function.
So why did you talk about risk as if the risk was to individuals?

You also say:
... we don't yet know whether Omicron will turn out be more severe, more mild or about the same as Delta.
Even Whitty has ruled out it being more severe than Delta!

The evidence is extremely strong that is milder; if you think there is a possibility it is not milder, how do you explain what is happening in South Africa?

Isolating those who have tested positive seems to me to be the most basic measure to take.
But earlier you were arguing that the lack of workers was caused by people being actually ill. Do you now accept our argument that isolations are causing many of the problems at present (particularly among younger people)?
 

21C101

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You seriously think Omicron is a common cold variant?
Yes of course it is, a whole series of existing common cold variants are coronaviruses.

It is well documented that when Europeans first descended on the Americas, the locals died wholesaie from diseases carried by Europeans, including the common cold, because they had no immunity.

The latest variant, Omnicron, even has all the usual common cold symptoms.
 

yorkie

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You seriously think Omicron is a common cold variant?
Without wishing to answer what someone else is thinking/saying, looking at the big picture, it is highly likely that the pandemic of around 1889 was caused by a Coronavirus which we now call HCoV-OC43; over time we have had to live alongside this virus in a state of endemic equilibrium and we now simply refer to this, and many other viruses as a "common cold"; it is widely expected that the same will happen with Sars-CoV-2 although we are not yet at the stage where the virus will be referred to in similar terms and categorised accordingly, but the reality is that for most people an Omicron infection will be similar to an infection of a so-called "common cold"

Indeed I've had conversations with people who have had viral infections over the last year who said that their most recent infection of Sars-CoV-2 was milder than an infection they had with a viral infection for which they tested negative to Sars-CoV-2.

So I suspect your disagreement with the other member is perhaps over semantics and a lack of understanding.
 

DannyMich2018

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Rumours abound about a 2 week circuit breaker after Christmas. I'm really not wanting a lockdown but clearly the high cases are causing much disruption in many industries due to workers off with Covid isolating or close contacts isolating (no jab) so a couple or so weeks circuit breaker in January which is a quiet month for many businesses wouldn't be too bad and would bring cases down. I'm sure furlough can be brought back temporarily.
 

DustyBin

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I'm using it in its normal meaning. Being ill and not able to go to work or having to stay in bed. The issue is not people getting severely ill, but lots of people ill enough they need a week or so off work at the same time.

Where’s the evidence that this is happening? Increasingly people are asymptomatic which via some bizarre inverted logic is now seen as a bad thing.

People are more sensible than you give them credit for. They are coming to their own conclusions. However, the conclusions they are coming to don't align with your personal views, so you've got to invent another explanation: 'fear mongering', 'gaslighting', whatever.

People are reacting to the messaging. “Super mutant”, “worst strain ever” (note it’s not a strain), “horrific mutations” etc. etc.

I also think people are more worried about having to isolate than actually being ill. The former is a man made problem……

Absolutely. The government needs to provide temporary support or we will see a lot of businesses going under.

Whilst our business would benefit from this I don’t actually agree; the government needs to stop torpedoing businesses in the first place.

If people refuse the vaccine because they can’t see the obvious benefits then they ARE idiots! Hospital ICUs are full of them. I have no time for them.

What are these obvious benefits? I was told from the outset that I was at extremely low risk from the virus, and here I am nearly two years later having not had symptomatic covid yet. Meanwhile I know a lot of people who are vaccinated and have had symptomatic covid. Now it turns out that two doses isn’t enough and we need three. At the same time natural immunity, whilst marginally more risky to acquire, appears to offer longer lasting and more rounded (in regard to variants) immunity. So it isn’t actually black and white is it? People can reach different conclusions, it doesn’t make them idiots however.

ICUs aren’t full of the unvaccinated either incidentally, but we’ve been through this before.

Yes, things change but the vaccine is the way out even though the situation is changing. There is the potential for hospitals to become very busy again and because the unvaccinated are putting a larger pressure on ICU then they maybe are the ones to be restricted rather than the rest of us. I’m not comfort with this but if it’s a choice between the whole population or just the unvaccinated (by choice) then tough luck.

I’d argue that immunity (coupled with political will) is our way out, and as above that doesn’t need to be vaccine induced. And again, as above, the unvaccinated aren’t putting pressure on ICUs. It’s the same groups being admitted to hospital as it’s always been, we know who they are and they really should give serious consideration to being vaccinated if they’re not already, for their own sake if no one else's. Covid is highly discriminatory, a fact that appears to have been conveniently forgotten by those wishing to impose blanket, blunt instrument policies and restrictions upon us.
 

duncanp

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Rumours abound about a 2 week circuit breaker after Christmas. I'm really not wanting a lockdown but clearly the high cases are causing much disruption in many industries due to workers off with Covid isolating or close contacts isolating (no jab) so a couple or so weeks circuit breaker in January which is a quiet month for many businesses wouldn't be too bad and would bring cases down. I'm sure furlough can be brought back temporarily.

I have two concerns about a two week "circuit breaker lockdown" :-
  • Is it really going to last just two weeks?
  • What level of restrictions would be put in place after the end of the circuit breaker?
If Boris Johnson were to cave into the quite outrageous pressure being heaped on him by SAGE and introduce a lockdown before Christmas, it would be the last straw for many in his own party. nI just hope the threat to his own job provides enough of a counterweight to the pressure from SAGE to make the Prime Minister choose a less drastic way forward.

If we are going to have more restrictions, and I sincerely hope we aren't, but I am realistic, I would rather that we went back to stage 3 of the roadmap, as existed after 17th May this year.

This should be until the middle of January at the latest, by which there should be sufficient data to determine the actual (as opposed to perceived) threat to this NHS. If there is no large increase in hospital admissions, and the Omicron wave has peaked by then, we should go back to Plan B with a view to moving to Plan A or "freedom day MKII" by the middle of February.
 

Eyersey468

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Without wishing to answer what someone else is thinking/saying, looking at the big picture, it is highly likely that the pandemic of around 1889 was caused by a Coronavirus which we now call HCoV-OC43; over time we have had to live alongside this virus in a state of endemic equilibrium and we now simply refer to this, and many other viruses as a "common cold"; it is widely expected that the same will happen with Sars-CoV-2 although we are not yet at the stage where the virus will be referred to in similar terms and categorised accordingly, but the reality is that for most people an Omicron infection will be similar to an infection of a so-called "common cold"

Indeed I've had conversations with people who have had viral infections over the last year who said that their most recent infection of Sars-CoV-2 was milder than an infection they had with a viral infection for which they tested negative to Sars-CoV-2.

So I suspect your disagreement with the other member is perhaps over semantics and a lack of understanding.
To be honest I didn't know there was a pandemic in 1889
 

philosopher

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I have two concerns about a two week "circuit breaker lockdown" :-
  • Is it really going to last just two weeks?
  • What level of restrictions would be put in place after the end of the circuit breaker?
If Boris Johnson were to cave into the quite outrageous pressure being heaped on him by SAGE and introduce a lockdown before Christmas, it would be the last straw for many in his own party. nI just hope the threat to his own job provides enough of a counterweight to the pressure from SAGE to make the Prime Minister choose a less drastic way forward.

If we are going to have more restrictions, and I sincerely hope we aren't, but I am realistic, I would rather that we went back to stage 3 of the roadmap, as existed after 17th May this year.

This should be until the middle of January at the latest, by which there should be sufficient data to determine the actual (as opposed to perceived) threat to this NHS. If there is no large increase in hospital admissions, and the Omicron wave has peaked by then, we should go back to Plan B with a view to moving to Plan A or "freedom day MKII" by the middle of February.
If there is a return of greater restrictions, the government should make it very clear to SAGE, businesses, the public and MPs that this is the final time that this will happen. The government should emphasise that the country both financially and societally can’t afford to do this every winter or everytime there are some slightly dodgy mutations on the spike protein.

Regarding SAGE, the government should tell all SAGE members that they have to come up with alternatives to social distancing to manage Covid and any members who continue to advocate social distancing, either to the government or media will no longer be allowed to sit on SAGE.
 

Eyersey468

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I have two concerns about a two week "circuit breaker lockdown" :-
  • Is it really going to last just two weeks?
  • What level of restrictions would be put in place after the end of the circuit breaker?
If Boris Johnson were to cave into the quite outrageous pressure being heaped on him by SAGE and introduce a lockdown before Christmas, it would be the last straw for many in his own party. nI just hope the threat to his own job provides enough of a counterweight to the pressure from SAGE to make the Prime Minister choose a less drastic way forward.

If we are going to have more restrictions, and I sincerely hope we aren't, but I am realistic, I would rather that we went back to stage 3 of the roadmap, as existed after 17th May this year.

This should be until the middle of January at the latest, by which there should be sufficient data to determine the actual (as opposed to perceived) threat to this NHS. If there is no large increase in hospital admissions, and the Omicron wave has peaked by then, we should go back to Plan B with a view to moving to Plan A or "freedom day MKII" by the middle of February.
I don't believe it would last just 2 weeks.
 

21C101

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If there is a return of greater restrictions, the government should make it very clear to SAGE, businesses, the public and MPs that this is the final time that this will happen.
I seem to recall that they did last time?
 

brad465

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That's why when the pandemic is over I want the inevitable enquiry to also focus on how the media have behaved. They have behaved appallingly in my opinion almost seemingly pressurising the government to continually introduce restrictions and continually parroting doom and gloom "warnings" from experts without allowing counterbalancing arguments.
Even if they are investigated and found to be in the wrong, that doesn't mean anything will be done about it. Leveson was the last major investigation into media behaviour, and Cameron dropped the 2nd phase and didn't implement anything recommended in the first phase. It's a safe bet that he did this because he knows that the media's backing is crucial to win an election, and they wouldn't back anyone implementing tougher regulations on them.
For all the complaints here about possible restrictions and lockdowns, we need to acknowledge that they are essentially irrelevant to the situation we now face. Normal life is being disrupted simply as a result of the extremely rapid spread of Omicron. Public services are beginning to struggle as staff fall ill at the same time, and people are coming to their own conclusions about what level of social contact they want to prioritise, with inevitable effects on the hospitality and entertainment industry.
I think we should have left it to the public deciding what to do and what not to do, and have business support available during tougher times. Back in March a number of events were being postponed at national and local levels, including the London Marathon, the Premier League and Local elections. Okay there were exceptions, like Cheltenham, but generally enough people wanted to take extra care. Then during the quieter phases people would have been more comfortable using hospitality and other venues and kept them well supported.
No, we're way off that point. Our debt payments as a % of GDP are at historic lows.

And besides, you don't improve the public finances by letting businesses go to the wall due to a temporary loss of customers. The big mistake over the last 10 years was to prioritise public sector cuts over getting the economy back up to historical growth trends.
The problem is though our economy is now setup on the basis of assets, not productivity, which has largely resulted from central bank policy of printing money and keeping rates low to service record high debt levels. Unless we bring in a wealth tax to tap into this asset inflation (a tax I do support), our debt is already in a very bad place.
If people refuse the vaccine because they can’t see the obvious benefits then they ARE idiots! Hospital ICUs are full of them. I have no time for them.

Yes, things change but the vaccine is the way out even though the situation is changing. There is the potential for hospitals to become very busy again and because the unvaccinated are putting a larger pressure on ICU then they maybe are the ones to be restricted rather than the rest of us. I’m not comfort with this but if it’s a choice between the whole population or just the unvaccinated (by choice) then tough luck.
ICUs and hospitals were overwhelmed every winter for several years before covid came along. But of course now covid is here, it's obviously the fault of unvaccinated covid patients going there isn't it, not the fact the NHS hasn't been properly resourced for decades. I hope you're not someone who called out businesses blaming covid for pre-existing failures, because you're a hypocrite otherwise.
No, I'm saying that all the talk on here about restrictions and lockdowns is missing the point.

They risk passing it on to others who may be severely affected. This risk is elevated with Omicron which is much more transmissible.
What if it would transmit regardless of restrictions? There are plenty of places and situations where transmission can happen that can't be stopped, such as in hospitals, supermarkets, schools and in people's homes. The more infectious a virus/pathogen is, the less effective any measures will be to stop it. We just have to accept we cannot stop everything nature throws at use and have to build resilience into our society to cope.
 

John Luxton

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If people refuse the vaccine because they can’t see the obvious benefits then they ARE idiots! Hospital ICUs are full of them. I have no time for them.
Okay you are talking to an idiot here - by your definition.

You say the hospital ICUs are full of us idiots.

Really?

Give me your evidence to back this up?

Yes there have been a few high profile cases pushed by the media in which someone who does die stated they wished they had had been vaxed - but just how many are there really?

My decision not to have a C19 vaccine is not based on the belief vaccines are not good for you. It is clearly demonstrated that MOST vaccines are good for MOST people. I would NEVER advocate not having polio / small pox / MMR. They are very important.

My own personal decision on not to have the C19 vaccine is based on the same reasoning for not having the flu vaccine.

I have never had flu in 62 years and never had the flu vaccine either. However, I have worked with flu vax enthusiast colleagues who went on to catch the flu.

C19 is just another variation on colds and flu.

Therefore, my strategy is to deal with C19 in the same manner as flu and not have it.

In this thread people who have had it have reported side effects, I know of one former colleague on on having his second C19 vax developed vision problems. There is much speculation about heart issues arising from the C19 vaccine.

Further more I have poked two fingers up at all the rules and restrictions imposed by both England and Wales since March 2020 and I am still fit and healthy. Umpteen people have predicted my demise or serious illness because of my views but yet I am still here fit and healthy.

The final thing that made me decide to follow the path of rebellion rather than compliance were the figures which circulated in spring 2020 which made it quite clear the vast majority of us would not die of Covid let alone catch it.

On a personal basis I was much more seriously concerned a few years ago when Ebola looked as though it could turn into a pandemic. Now that really did look scary as survival rates were much, much lower.

Basically I have made an informed decision to react in the way I have. I am not stating it is right for everyone.

People have the right to do what is right for themselves, not their family, friends, neighbours or wider community.

They are not idiots for doing so.
 

philosopher

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I seem to recall that they did last time?
They implied there would not be another lockdown, but they said it can’t be ruled out. I think if there is another lockdown within the next few weeks, then it needs to be categorically ruled out in future.
 

John Luxton

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If there is a return of greater restrictions, the government should make it very clear to SAGE, businesses, the public and MPs that this is the final time that this will happen. The government should emphasise that the country both financially and societally can’t afford to do this every winter or everytime there are some slightly dodgy mutations on the spike protein.

Regarding SAGE, the government should tell all SAGE members that they have to come up with alternatives to social distancing to manage Covid and any members who continue to advocate social distancing, either to the government or media will no longer be allowed to sit on SAGE.

No the final time was last time. Doing as you suggest reminds me of the gambler who just wants a bit more credit because next time they might win! :D

The Government should just make a statement now that the country cannot afford it, which it can't and we will carry on as normal. BoJo stated no more lockdowns and lifting restrictions were irreversible. That pledge has been broken. We should just carry on going forwards not going back under any circumstances.
 

kez19

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If people refuse the vaccine because they can’t see the obvious benefits then they ARE idiots! Hospital ICUs are full of them. I have no time for them.


OK i'll ask this then, how many of our own MPs are vaccinated or not or even in the media? Would you be saying this if it played out like that? Or would you be demanding them to do so? I thought life was all about personal choices? As far as I can see being vaccinated 3 times or possibly in the future will it be 4/5/6 before I get back to normal? When does it end - seems to be little to no evidence coming out from the likes of SAGE/politicians let alone the media indicating when life will return but on the flipside they do love the fear factor don't they? The world is a stage and this is just theatre and they are just actors/puppets - if you open the mind just a little you will see the light

You don’t need to drown the darkness with light. You don’t need to replace negativity with positivity. You bring the darkness to the light. Like an offering.
 

Smidster

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If there is a return of greater restrictions, the government should make it very clear to SAGE, businesses, the public and MPs that this is the final time that this will happen. The government should emphasise that the country both financially and societally can’t afford to do this every winter or everytime there are some slightly dodgy mutations on the spike protein.

Regarding SAGE, the government should tell all SAGE members that they have to come up with alternatives to social distancing to manage Covid and any members who continue to advocate social distancing, either to the government or media will no longer be allowed to sit on SAGE.

You mean like the "irreversible" road map?

Let's be realistic there is absolutely no chance that this next round of restrictions will be short lived.

Let's just game it out -

Dec 27th - Jan 11th - "Firebreak"....No Household Mixing, Indoor dining closed , Nightclub closed.
Jan 10th - Jan 30th - Rule of 6 indoors , Indoor Dining permitted but small groups and mandatory check-ins, Nightclubs closed , Vaccine Passports
Jan 31st - Feb 20th - Larger groups permitted with mandatory check ins.
Feb 21st - Easter - Current "Plan B" restrictions

That is the absolute fastest they would ever go - So another 3 months of our lives down the drain and 3 months watching the economy crash and burn.

It is a matter of when the Press Conference is rather than when - My guess is either Monday or Tuesday to coincide with the 3-week review of first load of restrictions.

The one thing I would support is shielding guidance for the next three weeks while we get past this peak - Obviously it would be for people to decide if they wanted to do that or not.
 

Cdd89

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Dec 27th - Jan 11th - "Firebreak"....No Household Mixing, Indoor dining closed , Nightclub closed.
Jan 10th - Jan 30th - Rule of 6 indoors , Indoor Dining permitted but small groups and mandatory check-ins, Nightclubs closed , Vaccine Passports
Yes, a firebreak lockdown is clearly the way to get vaccine passports for pubs and restaurants in.

Lock down for a couple of weeks; then “we can safely reopen hospitality but only to the vaxxed+boosted; else it stays closed”. Overwhelming population and even backbencher support because who wants more lockdown?
 

adc82140

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As well as the 99 dissenters in parliament, there were countless other "I'll vote for Plan B but no further" statements. Boris will understand that if he introduces any form of lockdown, he's also signing his own P45. As a very thin skinned flawed personality, all he wants is to be liked.
 

Cdd89

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You only really have to worry about a lockdown when Starmer calls for one and Boris denies it. We’re two for two on that one now.
 

Smidster

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As well as the 99 dissenters in parliament, there were countless other "I'll vote for Plan B but no further" statements. Boris will understand that if he introduces any form of lockdown, he's also signing his own P45. As a very thin skinned flawed personality, all he wants is to be liked.
I think you are naive if you don't think he would have the votes.

If he wanted more restrictions the would absolutely get through parliament - Labour would support pretty much anything so you would need a near total rebellion which ain't going to happen.

Sorry to be blunt but this isn't Brexit - the Opposition are not opposed
 
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