With Covid mutating, it’s clearer than ever that we must eliminate this virus | Devi Sridhar

Unless this government stops dithering and works to eradicate Covid-19, more variants are bound to emerge

An emotional rollercoaster is probably the best way to describe the past few weeks. The UK government has lurched from allowing Christmas bubbles to cancelling Christmas altogether. Weeks after an effective vaccine was approved, the virus turned a new corner. Some have argued the new mutation is nothing to worry about – viruses mutate all the time. Others think it’s cause for panic. The truth lies somewhere in between.

With limited information available about the new variant, the lesson from 2020 is to move early and enforce precautions rather than wait for things to unfold. When the government delayed a lockdown in the spring that would have reduced the death rate, Britain learned the hard way that it’s better to prevent an emerging disaster than to wait and watch. As Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, put it: if you see a train speeding towards you, do you wait to see if you get hit, or quickly react to avert the crash?

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