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“Circuit breaker” was coined by scientific advisors to the British government who have recommended a two or three-week “mini lockdown” wherein a time-limited set of strict restrictions would be employed to curb the infection rate. This information is vital for the U.K, currently fighting a dramatic second wave of infections.
According to John Hopkins University’s data, the tally now is standing over 744,000 cases with 43,816 fatalities. On Monday, 18,804 new daily infections were reported, up from 16,982 on Sunday. The seven-day average number of affected patients on October 16 was 17,649, according to government data, compared to 14,588 a week before.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the mini lockdown, what he called a “firebreak,” would be “a short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time.”
Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a group of leading scientists that provides scientific advice to the U.K. government, had recommended the government to employ stricter measures. They first suggested a “circuit breaker” a month ago and recommended banning households from mixing indoors and the closure of all restaurants, bars, gyms, cafes, and hairdressers.
The advocates of circuit breakers argue that although a circuit breaker won’t stop a virus, it can decrease the spread rate and buy time for both the government and healthcare systems to get their act together.
Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said that “we do need stronger restrictions if we want the number of infections to go down.”
Matt Morgan, an intensive care unit consultant at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, gave a warning regarding the health care system. He said that the NHS struggles every winter. Moreover, he believes that unless they undergo steps to lessen the impact of COVID on all aspects of healthcare, it is unmanageable.
The University of Edinburgh’s Professor Devi Sridhar, the chair of global public health, said that since there is a delayed effect between infection and hospitalization of people with COVID-19, they need lead indicators.
“We would have to wait and see for indications that case numbers are coming down. This information makes the testing and tracing system and surveillance essential — to have a line of sight of how many people have the virus. If you wait to rely on hospitalizations and deaths, then it’s too late. They are lag indicators, and we need lead indicators”.University of Edinburgh’s Professor Devi Sridhar
Nevertheless, she said a mini lockdown was now inescapable in England.
“It’s like a fire that’s raging. You can’t just turn your back on it and think it’ll go away.”Professor Devi Sridhar