UK COVID cases double as non-essential establishments open

The UK has reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since April 1st Reuters reports.

The region has experienced reports of 3,568 new cases, an increase from Sunday where the cases were 1,730, half of the current one.

The number of cases has drastically doubled due to the easing of lockdown restrictions within England.

The British government has long planned for the 12th of April to be the day where non-essential stores and other establishments such as pubs open, thus marking the opening up of the economy.

This date was decided by the government roadmap which when introduced, increased confidence of economic agents as a result of the forward guidance that the roadmap provided.

The decision to “open up” the economy has resulted in a boost in consumer spending within the economy as individuals are eager to spend their lockdown savings in a national rush of excitement.

Because of this, high-street stores and other non-essential establishments have seen a rise in footfall and sales, the BBC reports.

Although this opening of the economy has increased aggregate demand leading to economic growth, public health has suffered.

Because of this, the amount of COVID cases within the nation has doubled, also, the amount of deaths from COVID has reached a total of 127,100.

Increased economic activity increases COVID cases and deaths as individuals are much more likely to not follow social distancing as they are busy in stores with other consumers, because of this, public health has worsened.

As a result, the UK government has received criticism for its decision as some believe that the ideal strategy is to prioritise public health rather than economic growth.

This is a somewhat valid point as it could be argued that it is pointless to have short, irregular boosts in economic growth for it to be followed by further lockdowns where the progress is essentially lost.

However, the short boosts in spending may allow non-essential firms such as pubs, which have been running out of cash flow, to stay afloat for a lot longer, thus reducing unemployment and the number of businesses that aren’t trading.

This reduction in the number of wasted resources within the economy as well as the protection of jobs due to the surging demand is somewhat of a trade-off for the worsening public health.

Nevertheless, the only viable option to getting rid of the pandemic is to prioritise public health by completely eradicating the virus, because of this, the decision to open up the economy on the 12th of April may not be the best decision to make by the government.

But, the UK’s vaccine rollouts have been extremely successful, so, if the nation achieves herd immunity soon, the UK will greatly benefit from the surge in aggregate demand as the opportunity cost associated with worsening public health will be minimised.

However, with the increased COVID-19 cases, this does not seem to be the case and the hopefulness of achieving herd immunity by this date may have been misplaced, time will only tell if today is an example of government failure.


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