Circuit break

Chess vs football: the vital distinction in lockdown strategy

Nearly a month ago, I called for an urgent 24-day full national lockdown, arguing that the restrictions were unlikely to make a significant difference in reducing transmission. If we had acted strongly and decisively then, and implemented a circuit-breaker lockdown — as we now know that the government’s scientific advisory group Sage also wanted — we would be in a much stronger position today. Many readers considered it a controversial and unwise strategy. The government agreed, declining Sage’s advice and instead announcing the eventual rollout of a three-tier system covering areas of ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ risk, each with their own restrictions. Yet case rates, hospitalisations and deaths continue to increase across the country.

How new Covid restrictions are stalling the economy

The theory behind a V-shaped recovery relied on the assumption that the economy would open up almost as quickly as it shut down. This did not happen. The UK moved at a much slower pace than its European counterparts exiting stringent lockdown measures. And already restrictions are being implemented again. August’s GDP figures were surprisingly dismal, and now all future monthly updates for economic growth will be affected by a longer list of restrictions that are bound to impact recovery. As a result, scenarios for the UK’s economic recovery are being revised to reflect this. In the last day, we’ve had two updates: one from the IFS’s Green Budget (in association with