IF you want to know how we got here, to a three-week lockdown in the west of Scotland in a last-ditch bid to ‘save Christmas’, you need to trace the figures back to the very beginning of the second wave.
A quick scan through the testing data published by the Scottish Government shows that the tipping point occurred in July.
On July 8, the number of new Covid cases bottomed out at 50 over the space of a week. From then on, a slow, inexorable rise began.
On July 15, indoor hospitality – pubs, restaurants, and cafes – reopened, along with hairdressers, nail bars, and indoor shopping centres. People were finally allowed to visit friends and family indoors, at one another’s homes.
By August 2, 125 Covid cases per week were being detected.
It is no surprise that infections rose as more people were allowed to mix again indoors as this is exactly how the virus spreads, and lockdown had to end.
By September 2, however, the trajectory was clearly upwards with 871 new cases of Covid over the previous seven days – a seven-fold increase in four weeks, far outstripping any increase in testing capacity (the number of tests being processed each day had roughly doubled over the same period).
Various things could have been at play. There was the Aberdeen Covid outbreak mainly linked to city pubs. There was the UK Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, which encouraged diners to pack out (at one-metre distances) the country’s hospitality venues from Mondays to Wednesdays.
There were bugs brought back from summer holidays abroad, and potentially not quarantined as they should have been.
Presciently, the Scottish Government scientific advisor and public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar warned we would pay for summer holidays with winter lockdowns.
Between June 22 and November 8, according to Public Health Scotland data,…