Back to normal. Sajid Javid, the new Health Secretary, has said he wants to return to normal “as soon as possible”. Already there have been some questions about what this “normal” could look like. Will it be a normal that means people no longer need to self-isolate?
The current normal. How are rules around self-isolation currently affecting the British public? The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics, gives an impression of the current level of disruption self-isolation is causing. It tracked the percentage of adults who’ve self-isolated in Great Britain in the last seven days from March (in accordance with when self-isolation became a thing) to June 2021, alongside other measures of how people’s lifestyle had been impacted by Covid-19.
Schools. While there has been quite significant concern about the policy of sending children home to self-isolate, it’s interesting to note the rapid decline in adults having to do this. The last figure, taken on June 16 to June 20 shows four per cent have had to isolate in the last seven days.
An encouraging sign. The graph makes sense in the context of the vaccine roll out – which began at the end of last year – and in terms of Covid-19’s winter peak (the number of people self-isolating rises slightly between December and January). Although it’s also worth saying that the graph could reflect compliance levels – with people less inclined to self-isolate this far on in the crisis. Whether the trend we are seeing continues in the next few weeks will be largely due to Javid – and his plans for how we “live” with the virus, as well as the final vaccine push.
A Singapore model? Perhaps the UK will end up like Singapore, which has prepared a road map for living with Covid-19. It will, in future, be treated similarly to the flu, and close contacts of cases will no longer have to isolate. We will have to see…