Both the Mail and the Express this morning try to paint a positive picture about COVID based on the declining numbers that we have seen in England over the past few days. Such headlines like the ones above might sell more copies or get clicks on their websites but are they being a bit too premature?
We have been here before, of course, only for things to have to be reversed with the relaxation in the rules leading to more cases. The Times is urging caution on its front page under the heading “Covid is not over, Johnson warns as infections fall”:
Boris Johnson has urged people not to relax about Covid after a week of falling cases, warning that a rise resulting from the end of all restrictions was still to come..Scientific advisers are still unsure why cases have fallen and the prime minister urged people not to draw “premature conclusions” that the threat of the pandemic had passed..The end of a spike linked to England’s progress in the European Championship and a spell of hotter weather have been suggested as possible reasons, as has a drop in testing as schools and universities break up for the summer.
The problem ministers have got is that they have had their fingers burned before by rushing to premature conclusions. We are also in the summer a time when we are much more likely to be outside where the risks are that much lower.
There is no doubt that the vaccination campaign has been a great success and from a political standpoint, Johnson wants to get the credit for any relaxation. But there is still a lot of ground to be made up. Only two days ago Opinium reported that just 32% approved of the government’s handling of COVID with 48% disapproving.