Fears of covid-19 ‘second spike’ as schools prepare to return

The UK yesterday registered the highest number of positive covid-19 cases for six weeks – just as the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was lecturing the nation on the “moral” case for reopening schools in September.

In total, 1,062 new cases were registered in 24 hours, the largest rise in a single day since June 25. The figure is 318 more than was registered seven days before. The eight deaths recorded yesterday brings the national total of people who have died as a result of coronavirus to 46,574.

Before the weekend, the latest figure for Croydon is 1,890 confirmed cases, or 490.5 cases per 100,000 population (In Sutton, those figures are 1,036, and 506.5 cases per 100,000).

Government data produced this morning shows three new cases reported in Croydon on Friday (click here for the government’s dashboard).

Yesterday’s national figure is a significant rise on the 758 coronavirus cases reported on Saturday, prompting suggestions that a “second spike” of rising number of infections may soon require localised lockdowns, as has happened in Leicester, or even a national lockdown may be inevitable soon.

In Kent, the county council’s public health director, Andrew Scott-Clark, said today, “We are worried about a second peak and therefore we must do all we can to minimise that.”

After weeks of a gradually reducing infection rate, the graph shows the number of covid-19 positive cases on the rise once again

There are 29 cities on the government’s list of places it is monitoring in England that could face a local lockdown, rated “concern” to “intervention”.

Of the authorities highlighted, Preston in Lancashire is the latest to reintroduce some lockdown rules, with people banned from mixing with people outside their social bubble in homes, gardens and indoor venues such as pubs.

These are similar to the rules also imposed on Greater Manchester, Blackburn and parts of West Yorkshire, with fines of £100 in place for those who don’t follow them.

Leicester is the only city to be locked down completely so far, with pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses remaining closed. Only yesterday were pubs in Leicester allowed to reopen.

There has been some suggestion that the “R number” – the rate at which someone who has the virus might infect others – has also risen above 1.0 for the first time in many weeks.

The government has still not yet been able to implement a satisfactory or functioning system of track and trace, never mind the “world-beating” system that was promised as long ago as April.

Last week, public health researchers were predicting that a second wave of coronavirus during the winter months could be twice as bad as the initial outbreak, and it could be accelerated by reopening schools without improving the test-and-trace system.

After nearly six months, the covid-19 test-and-track system in England is still inadequate

Researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine modelled the impact of reopening schools, combined with continuing to gradually ease social-distancing measures, under a range of scenarios.

According to their study published by The Lancet, if schools reopened full-time, 75 per cent of people with covid-19 symptoms would need to be diagnosed and isolated and 68 per cent of their contacts would need to be traced.

Currently, the track and trace system being used in England is struggling to reach even 50 per cent of contacts of those who test positive.

Chris Bonell, one of the report’s authors, said that the study should not be taken as a reason to keep schools closed, but rather as “a loud call to action” to improve the test-and-trace system.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Fears of covid-19 ‘second spike’ as schools prepare to return

  1. Helen Benjamins says:

    There isn’t a school in the country that can control a nit infestation. How on earth are they going to manage preventing COVID-19 from spreading?

    If children are forced to return, what then happens to their army of grandparents who take on the role of childminder in order to allow the parents to work?

    I don’t propose to have the answers but I don’t think the government should act as if it has either.

  2. I thoroughly agree with Helen, and the cheek of the Prime Minister lecturing us about moral duty: what a fine example he has set throughout his life!

    It’s not the infection in schools that matters, it’s the strong possibility that kids will pick up the infection and bring it home. No one can control that in a school setting unless you test everyone, kids and adults, going in and coming out every day.

    Schools are a perfect paradigm for an uncontrollable situation in infectious times. This government, inefficient and infantile, just does not understand that, or most things. Sloganising, snappy little soundbyte labels, pompous posturing, cronyism and preening are all that it really understands.

    We are in for an even worse autumn. And who will get blamed? The schools, of course.

  3. Alan Brunwin says:

    I dont feel we are getting the true facts on grandparents losing thier lives because of catching this virus, many grandparents pick up or take children to school , they do or will put thier own lives at risk. Its worring times for many, why they cant have half the school return for 3 days the next week 2 days and so on, it makes sence no over crowding in schools.

  4. Daisy says:

    It just goes to demonstrate once again – another hapless miscalculation – by people who suppose to know but instead making it up as it goes along.Clueless, blind as a bat and making haphazard decisions.
    How pathetic this Tory government is.
    Failure to protect pupils is not an option.They shouldn’t be in school at this time.

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