Post COVID life in Europe: could the end of social distancing come soon?

Social distancing could be abolished in June in the UK, following a request from 22 leading scientists and academics, who studied various massive events without the spread of the coronavirus.

Some of the barrier gestures to fight the coronavirus pandemic could be ended by the middle of the year, at least in countries that make significant progress in immunization plans. This emerges from a letter signed by 22 leading British scientists and academics requesting that the rule be abolished to allow people to “regain control of their own lives.”

The analysis of a pilot test at mass events found no increase in COVID-19 cases among attendees. This conclusion, which integrates provisional information, will be presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while the country advances in its de-escalation plan with more than half of the population with at least one dose of an anti-coronavirus vaccine.

The British work coincides with the results of the recital of the indie rock band “Love and Lesbian”, held in Barcelona a few weeks ago, where there were no significant outbreaks of COVID-19. The music fans, crowded in the arena of the Palau Sant Jordi, were monitored as part of a test carried out by the research team of the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital, where it was found that the concert for 5,000 people was not an event of ” super diffusion ”.

For the scientific board of the UK Events Research Program, which is chaired by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, A departure from social distancing rules, support bubbles, and waivers could be allowed.

The British work coincides with the results of the recital of the indie rock band “Love and Lesbian”, held in Barcelona a few weeks ago REUTERS / Albert Gea

Several scientists advising the English Government have joined the letter, including Robert Dingwall, Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University, part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threat Advisory Group (Nerv Tag).

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Other signatories include Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, and Professor Anthony Brookes, geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester.

When ordering for the UK, Scientists indicate that chinstraps should not be mandatory as of June 21 and that the recommendation for masks for school children should already be eliminated. The applicants point out that the use of masks, if prolonged in time, can generate greater harm to society.

The Times newspaper itself confirms this possibility. The “more than one meter” social distancing rule will be lifted as of June 21 under plans to ensure that all restaurants, pubs, theaters and cinemas can fully reopen.

In some cases, masks will need to be worn to mitigate risks, but it will mean that venues can be reopened at full capacity for the first time in 15 months.

Avoid an obsessive approach

The open letter from British scientists states that “You cannot create a good society with an obsessive focus on a single cause of poor health” and calls for all restrictions to be lifted on June 21, the final date on Boris Johnson’s roadmap to get out of lockdown.

To claim such a measure, government scientists have been monitoring the impact of various events: 4,000 people attended the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton, 8,000 people attended the Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham, which were played at Wembley this month. Additionally, up to 1,000 attendees per day have attended the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield, which began on April 17.

Leicester City or Southampton stadiums already served as massive test events, and could return to “normal” in the English summer.

The scientific board has found that many of the protection measures implemented in the test events appear to be working., without the need for social distancing. Mitigation measures mentioned in the report include staggered entry, clear communication with attendees, and better ventilation indoors, all with vaccination, and even without masks.

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In all cases, the letter from the experts emphasizes that as a measure the requirement of both PCR tests is imposed, as well as the recent success in traceability and tracking that is showing the generalization of rapid nasal antigen self-test tests, which, for example, are required at school with a swab at least 2 times a week.

The London government has a de-escalation plan, where sporting events, theaters, shows and cinemas return to activity in June. In this sense, the “good eyes” of scientists, recognizes the low levels of spread of the virus in the country today.

On the eve of regaining freedoms next summer, the British debate on the opening of borders, if vaccinated people can enjoy more freedoms and to what extent “green passports” must be used. It was arranged last Thursday that British and foreign tourists who offer proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test will be able to visit France again from June 9, according to leaked plans.

The English expect precise announcements, that influence the way of life during the rest of the year as the pandemic diminishes in the next two months, with the vaccination plan as the main axis. The final decisions will rest with Johnson, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph, who will await the final data of the trials and tests in the coming weeks before announcing the way forward.

The Catalan example

Test points after the concert of “Love of Lesbian” with 5000 spectators at the Palau Sant Jordi, a rehearsal for a massive pandemic event.

“It was not a widespread event”, was the conclusion that a rock concert for 5,000 people in Barcelona, carried out as a test a few weeks ago, and where experts monitor the thousands of attendees.

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The Love of Lesbian band concert was held at the Palau Sant Jordi sports hall on March 27th. The slogan was without social distancing, although with the use of chinstraps. For the participants, you had to accept an antigen test at the site or submit the negative results of a test performed within the previous eight hours.

The research, part of a pilot study conducted by the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital research team, resulted in only six cases of coronavirus were detected. According to Josep Maria Llibre, a member of the hospital’s infectious diseases department, after an additional review of these infections, it was determined that four of the cases had not been detected at the concert.

The conclusions are another argument, which, according to the researchers, correspond to the analysis of the health authorities to introduce protocols for future liberalization of the restrictions implemented by the pandemic.


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