The first case of the novel coronavirus was reported back in January 2020. Since then, there have been more than thousands of deaths across the world. In a bid to control the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the lockdown on 23 March, urged people to work from home if possible, and imposed travel bans. Several other leaders also took similar steps to control the novel coronavirus but eventually these restrictions were eased or lifted.
People with underlying health conditions, those over the age of 70, and pregnant women were advised that they should self-isolate themselves at home for a period of 12 weeks. However, in a speech, Johnson addressed the nation and outlined a road map for how lockdown restrictions would be eased in England in the coming weeks by using the latest COVID Alert System.
This system includes five alert levels with the least, one, requiring the least measures. Over the time of the lockdown, Johnson said that the country has been in Level Four but it could now start moving in steps towards the Level Three. The prime minister added that the government also hoping to re-open some of the hospitality industry and some of the public places.
Mr. Johnson said that the easing of restriction measures in England will only happen under the condition that the transmission rate for the novel coronavirus stays low. In reference to the infection R rate, a key measure to check how much the disease is spreading, Mr. Johnson said that it depends on us, the entire country to follow the advice, to follow social distancing, and to maintain that R rate down.
The UK’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance said that putting absolute timelines on the current situation is not possible and other ways of approaching the COVID-19 outbreak like allowing the people to develop “herd immunity”, have been described as requiring a much longer lead time, maybe more than a year.
Dr. Clarke says it is especially challenging since it can reside in people without demonstrating any symptoms and then go on to be spread by that individual. There is no reason to say the coronavirus won’t continue to infect in the future. Dr. Jenna Macciochi from the University of Sussex, agrees that probably estimating a date is the hardest. It’s something that everyone wants an answer for but unfortunately, there are numerous factors that may predict the end of coronavirus so giving one general answer is probably not the right thing.
Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University describes the scenario to be almost impossible to predict an end based on a scientific timeline. Professor Dingwall says that the novel coronavirus will remain as an endemic in human populations until there is an effective vaccine, which can be used on a large scale to squeeze the virus out.
The senior research fellow in global health at Southampton University, Michael Head says that any prediction would be exceptionally difficult because this is a novel strain. He further shared that the problem with all current or future predictions is that all of which are clueless on what they may be dealing with, as this is a relatively new virus that has never existed before, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic may be unprecedented.