IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Early action protects lives

15 January, 2021

• IN his response to my earlier letter Harold Lind is correct in challenging the issue of autocorrelation, (We have to take care with Covid-19 stats, October 16).

Proving the relationship between cause and effect is complex; hence the reason for my quoting Public Health England. False causation may indeed be used by people who have an axe to grind.

The government will inevitably try to balance competing interests; medical interests from PHE and the World Health Organisation, interests from corporations, business, such as the hospitality industry, and religious institutions, and possibly personal interests from readers.

What is known and communicated by PHE and the WHO and well understood by the Tribune’s readership – Covid-19 is transmitted by aerosol, droplets and contact.

Transmission increases with social proximity, in enclosed spaces, and with duration of exposure and is promoted by cross mixing of people from different households. The pub, as an example, is an ideal Petri dish.

Although I cannot speak for PHE, a conspiratorial view that PHE uses techniques to mislead people, when they are working hard to provide solutions for an unprecedented situation, is disappointing. Harold Lind suggests that if the advice is taken “millions of people will lose their jobs for very little genuine health gain”.

As experience from around the world has shown, early action protects lives and economies.

Sadly the delays and dithering – a term used by our prime minister – have contributed to a more severe lockdown and, with the exponential rise of Covid cases, health care resources, such as intensive care beds, being potentially limited to people with other conditions.

PROF MARC SERFATY, N1

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