You cannot deal with a vast mains leak by building larger soakaways
Another aspect worth discussing is some of the inconsistencies of some of the actions taken by UKG other than those discussed above.
So, you have a virus that you know little about, including until now about 5 to 6 months later, how immunity to the virus works and how it can be measured. Adequate tests that are reliable have not been rolled out yet on any scale. So, the priority is to try by all means possible to stop the virus from spreading. This is almost axiomatic and is the gold standard way of halting epidemics. Testing, testing, isolation, and contact tracing. There is absolutely no substitute for this. So to state at the very beginning that we will not try to stop this virus at all, but we are taking it on the chin and that we would like to go for herd immunity, is a total fantasy not based on any science whatsoever, nor does it have a precedent. And in order to placate the masses, the government instead advocated concentrating on getting more ventilators, again not through the conventional tried procurement route, but by encouraging manufacturers who have no experience in this line, to divert their energies to this effort. It is equivalent to asking Sainsbury’s to make test kits for the virus. But in fact, it would have been much better to ask industries, some with experience in reagent processing and molecular products, in pooling resources to produce testing kits, something that should have been on top of the agenda. And if you want to stem the rise in cases whom do you test? Surely anyone would have said, I will target the largest known groups of potential spreaders of the virus especially those at large, and then any known large focus of infection. Immediately you would hit the right answer. As the majority of case, around 80% from the Chinese and Italian studies, present with mild disease, to reduce the spread of infections you must identify those as early as possible and quarantine them so that they do not act as case multipliers. Instead our government chose to ignore that vast pool of infection, asking them to stay at home with a potential to infect others, including members of their families until such a time as they become too ill to stay at home. So, the 20% of cases that presented to hospital were tested. But then another irrational decision: knowing that hospitals will quickly become a major nidus of infections, you should then try and limit the further spread, by protecting the workers as much as possible, PPE and the like, but also make sure that any front line workers are tested very early if they develop symptoms as this will then mean that you do not loose workforce through random self-isolation, but also to identify care workers infected and isolate them so as not to infect their families. But the government was adamant that this was not their priority. Whether this was through expediency, because they could not source the tests, or through sheer incompetence, is immaterial, the government lied as to its intentions.
So if you want to save lives in an epidemic, you first try to stop the spread, you take precautions against spreading virus and lastly you also want to save as many people as possible who are sick with the virus. But then if it comes to priorities due to any sort of constraints, you must be honest. Focusing on ventilators is exactly that. Given that half the patients who need invasive ventilation, will die and that ventilators are expensive and not easily sourced and require training and staff and premises, this should not have been the main thrust, especially given that practically it is not feasible. This is an example of high-profile announcement of an action to grab attention, but is not really a useful to save lives.
The nightingale hospitals should now be converted to centers to deal with mild cases and isolate them. Anyone with mild symptoms should be able to get a test easily through a walk in centre, and anyone found positive should then be quarantined, that should be the priority. Again, to state the obvious, rollout testing, isolate those infected and trace contacts, these are the priorities.