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Christmas vs COVID

Could Coronavirus manage to infect our Christmas celebrations too?

Due to returning regulations of the wearing of masks in shops, schools, and on public transport, many of us are concerned as to whether this opens up a high risk of having our 4th lockdown over the Christmas period.

The gradual rise of positive cases from the beginning of November has left most people quite fretful, as we are left unsure as to what this means for our holiday break.

At the time of writing this, there have been 300,554 positive cases recorded within the last week, a raise of 1% from the previous week, according to the statistics on Additionally, the Guardian reports around 159 daily deaths due to COVID and 39,716 daily cases, citing their source as as well. Moreover, there is new variant of the virus, Omicron, which is also sending many into a panic as it is spread easier, and, because of the sheer scale of its mutations, the vaccines may not be as effective or able to fend it off as well.

Thankfully, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, recently urged everyone not to cancel their Christmas parties, or festive activities. On the topic of school events such as nativity plays, Johnson added: “we think that overwhelmingly the best thing for kids is to be in school”. However, Johnson openly disagreed with health chief, Dr. Jenny Harries, who said in an interview with the Today programme that all of us should try to decrease any unnecessary socialising. Although, health secretary, Mr Javid, backed up the PM’s original suggestions, remarking that the restrictions and measures the government has already instated were the “right ones”.

For more information, I decided to ask someone working closely with future plans for the country surrounding Coronavirus, Jonathon Delahay, who is currently working as Head of Operations for the context testing programme at the UK Health Security Agency, - a new government organisation made for dealing with responses to any pandemics or anything that effects the UK’s public health - for his opinion on the nation’s current position considering COVID. When asked for more details surrounding the Omicron variant, he returned:

“[It] is certainly a variant of concern [VOC]. Currently, there is a lot more to understand about this variant; specifically, it’s transmissibility, it’s morbidity, and how it responds to the vaccine.

The government had previously decided to impose self-isolation for anyone who is a positive Omicron case, or anyone who is a contact of a positive Omicron, irrespective of if they are vaccinated or not. Because of this, the medical community will be monitoring very closely the spread of this new VOC.”

I then inquired about the possibility of another national lockdown, gaining the reply: “Depending on the outcome of [the spread of the new VOC], there may be the possibility of a future lockdown. But the most important message is: get vaccinated and take regular tests whenever you go out or meet new people.”

Concluding Delahay’s answer, if this advice is followed as closely as possible, hopefully our Christmas celebrations should be able to proceed as planned.

Overall, it seems like we can surely continue with our Christmases without a nationwide lockdown, but will there be a consequence? Will cases rapidly rise in January? And will that lead to a longer, stricter lockdown?

By Mollie D - Year 10


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