Post by John Ashby Post by BrritSki Post by BrritSki
Remember that test and trace was abandoned as a strategy back then ON
THE SAGE ADVICE. I am glad that BoJo is taking more into account than
just the science. That's his job.
Are you sure that was the SAGE advice.I can believe that the advice was
to defer T&T (but to prepare for it, after all, we started to develop
our world-beating app back then, the one that did so badly on the Isle
of Wight they had to abandon it and start again with the Google/Apple
toolkit) until the infection rate was higher because at low rates the
effect of false positives are much greater, but since WHO were saying
Test, Test, Test from March I find it hard to believe that it would have
been completely abandoned by Vallance, Whitty, Ferguson et al.
Test and trace was abandoned on March 12th by Hancock while at the same
time they were doing everything to ramp up testing capacity. I don't
think the 2 statements are necessarily incompatible.
I can't find any clear evidence that it was Sage advice having trawled
through all the Sage minutes up to and including 10th March
However in the 11th Feb meeting they said (below bullet point 25)
"ACTION: PHE to work with SPI-M to develop criteria for when contact
tracing is no longer worthwhile. This should include consideration of
any limiting factors on testing and alternative methods of identifying
epidemic evolution and characteristics".
Then in the Feb 18th meeting they said:
"7. Currently PHE can cope with five new cases a week (requiring
isolation of 800 contacts). Modelling suggests this capacity could
be increased to 50 new cases a week (8,000 contact isolations) but this
assumption needs to be stress tested with PHE operational colleagues."
Finally in the March 13th meeting there is this:
"33. Community testing is ending today – which will increase the pace of
testing (and delivery of results) for intensive care units, hospital
admissions, targeted contact tracing for suspected clusters of cases
and healthcare workers. This includes faster confirmation of negative
Which is an explanation for Hancock's announcement the day before I
suppose, but also emphasises the need for precise language when getting
into this sort of detail (from me as much as anyone else).
So test and trace wasn't abandoned as I claimed, just focused on certain
areas, probably down to lack of capacity in both performing the actual
tests and then in having the capability for tracing the contacts. The
former has been addressed to a certain degree, although almost certainly
not as much as claimed by politicos, but the contact tracing is a dismal
failure and looks like being so for the forseeable future until it is
I have downloaded the app, but doubt if it will make much difference.
The problem with any form of contact tracing is that there is nothing to
force the contacts to self-isolate if they don;t want to.