Fringe Box



The Dragon Says: The ‘Second Wave’ of Covid – How Worried Should We Be?

Published on: 29 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 30 Sep, 2020

This “second wave” of Covid-19 is depressing. Depressing for our mental health, our economy, and our national, civic and recreational life.

Six months from the first lockdown, the restrictions are beginning to feel relentless and one begins to wonder when “normal” life will return, or even if it will.

But against the background of the steep rise in infections, we should consider more positive factors.

Nationally, the increased infection rate has not translated into a commensurate rise in hospital admissions or deaths. So far.

The Covid-19 second wave graph. Source Gov.UK (click to link)

Locally, the identified infection rate is increasing, 283 new cases this week in Surrey and 31 in Guildford borough. That’s sharply up from late July when the figures were 20 and four, respectively. But thankfully, we have only a small increase in associated deaths in Surrey and the Royal Surrey has reported none since June, although there is a lag time.

See the latest Local Covid-19 stats

And testing capacity has increased and is increasing still. Understandably, the headlines have all been about insufficient capacity, reflecting the concerns of many, particularly parents, who want to know quickly if suspicious symptoms are signs of the dreaded virus or just a cold.

Screenshot 2020-09-28 at 20.59.34.png

Testing capacity (grey) and tests conducted (blue). Source Gov.UK (click to link)

But although the government has been criticised for not anticipating greater demand for tests with the onset of autumn, with more people returning to work and students to schools and universities, the testing capacity is now far greater than in the grim days of April.

Of course, the more tests conducted the more cases will be identified. The crucial point is how many of these cases will lead to serious illness requiring hospital treatment or ending in fatality.

The government, no doubt mindful of the avalanche of criticism that they did too little too late first time around, now wants to err on the side of caution. Some warnings seem dire, perhaps over the top, but in truth, the people, by and large, have throughout used their own judgement over the level of necessary compliance, and their common sense to assess the degree of risk.

Our chief constable correctly recognises there is only so much the police can do. He seems to have concluded, sensibly, that their deployment needs to be reserved for situations where situations grow significantly out of hand.

Caution and wariness are proper when it comes to this new disease but they must not blind us to the other health risks we live with all the time nor should we ignore the effect of over-zealous policies on our economy and our general way of life. We probably all know friends, relatives and neighbours who have in effect imprisoned themselves in their homes for months now, and that represents a health risk too.


When campaigning and taking power, our Lib Dem and R4GV councillors have committed themselves to improving the level of openness at Guildford Borough Council. That should be easy. GBC’s constitution says: “The council … strives to be transparent and open in all its work.” and one of its stated values in line with the Nolan Principles is: “We will be open and accountable.”

But words are cheap and the council has not lived up to them. We need to see real action, real change.

There are signs most councillors are now convinced but we can detect indications that the secrecy culture still runs deep at Millmead, it still seems to be the instinctive behaviour of some officers.

A motion was recently passed to make justification necessary in any instance where council business and documents were to be kept from public knowledge.

That’s a good start but good only if openly applied.

Two tests of the council’s professed intent are coming up, first, publication of the KPMG investigation into the decision to let Burchatts Barn to a commercial enterprise and second, the power-sharing agreement between the two biggest parties, the Lib Dems and R4GV.

In the latter instance, former Conservative leader Paul Spooner (Ash South & Tongham) may well be a poacher turned gamekeeper but he is right (Can We All See the Lib Dem-R4GV Agreement Before Voting?)

We should all be able to see the details because they affect the way we are governed. And that’s the business of all of us.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *