The Department of Health have released some of the evidence bank showing how they have made some of the decisions around lockdowns. You can read it here and it’s important to note that other aspects of it have not been released. There was a good debate about this on todays first hour of Talkback which is worth listening to.
Some of the evidence bases that caught my eye were;
I cite these as the first one has gotten the sector up in arms about why they have been closed and the second one is essentially what we are in now, although there are less restrictions. The evidence base in here brings home one thing; the need for an effective track and trace system so we can pint point exactly where outbreaks happen and in what settings. As John Campbell pointed out on Talkback today, the hoper is a mix of everything together will hopefully bring the R rate down (for a while). It is worth you while reading through it all. Some parts of it will confuse you and others will make you bewildered about what choices you would make if you sat around the Executive table.
The Health Minister, Robin Swann has commented on the document;
“I understand the focus on one particular document – the September 24 paper which set out potential options for the NI Executive. This was actually a summary of SAGE evidence which had already been placed in the public domain.
“It would be unfortunate if the content and context of this September 24 paper was misrepresented. For the record, it uses the word anecdotal just once.
“What it does starkly illustrate is that there are extremely difficult choices to be made when introducing restrictions. There are uncertainties with every option, and costs to individuals, communities and the economy.
“An alternative to the Executive’s time-limited, targeted approach to restrictions would be a return to full lockdown. I don’t believe any of us want that.
“Debate is essential and I freely admit that there are no easy or good answers. What we have to find are the least worst options.
“What is undoubtedly true is that taking no action is not an option. Avoiding hard decisions on restrictions and letting the virus spread unchecked would be catastrophic for many people – as well as for our health service and indeed the economy.”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs