From (David P.)@21:1/5 to All on Mon Aug 30 11:32:02 2021
Britons, Unfazed by High Covid Rates, Weigh Their
‘Price of Freedom’
By Landler & Castle, 8/28/21, NY Times
Nearly 60K packed the stadium last Sunday to watch
Chelsea outplay Arsenal. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical
“Cinderella” made its glittering debut in the West End
after multiple Covid-related delays. On the subway,
where masks are still mandatory, half go barefaced.
All of this at a time when Britain is reporting over 30K
new cases a day, hospitals are coming under renewed
strain, & prelim data shows the protection provided by
the vaccines ebbs several months after the 2nd dose.
Such is the strange new phase of Britain’s pandemic:
The public has moved on, even if the virus has not.
Given that Britain has been at the vanguard of so many
previous developments — from incubating variants to
rolling out vac's — experts say this could be a glimpse
into the future for other countries.
“We don’t seem to care that we have these really high
infection rates,” said Tim Spector, prof of genetic
epidemiology at King’s College who's been leading a
major study of Covid symptoms. “It looks like we’re just
accepting it now — that this is the price of freedom.”
Some of that equanimity may stem from the fact that
Britain’s case rate, while high, has not yet risen
anywhere near the level that officials predicted when
they lifted virtually all restrictions last month. Some
may be because so many Britons are vaccinated, fewer
serious cases are being reported. And some of it may
simply reflect fatigue, after 17 months of baleful
headlines and stifling lockdowns.
“There’s a feeling that finally we can breathe; we can
start trying to get back what we’ve lost,” said Devi
Sridhar, the head of the global public health program
at the U. of Edinburgh. “It’s really difficult to ask
people not to mix for a prolonged period, esp. if
there's no solution.”