Moonshot testing is the only way to escape this mess

Moonshot testing is the only way to escape this mess

On Covid, there is a basic question: what is the government’s strategy? No one seems to know what ministers are doing and why. But how could we? Neither do they.

The lockdown approach is based on a premise, which has turned out to be false: that we could suppress and eliminate the virus – or at least keep it under control until the arrival of a vaccine. But there is no reason to believe that there will be a vaccine any time soon.

Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions on research into vaccines for HIV and the common cold. Thus far, those efforts have been unavailing. If a Covid vaccine were discovered – and that is a huge if – it might become available among the ruins of the British economy. That is a likely consequence if the current lockdown policy stumbles on into next year. So is a greatly increased death rate among cancer and heart disease sufferers. So is increased mental health problems, leading to ruined lives. So is general social demoralisation.

It seems likely that we should just get used to the fact that Covid is here to stay: one of the cocktail of respiratory infections which manifest themselves every winter. Although we can hope that it will become less virulent, we may have to accept that, like flu, we have to live with it and that like flu, some of us will die from it. But life must carry on.