24th Apr 2020
3 Things we learned this week - Friday 24th April 2020
While some countries begin to see light at the end of the tunnel, others remain more in the dark than ever as questions begin to be asked about where we go from here, when will begin to return to normal and what will the new world look like following the outbreak of COVID-19. Here are 3 things we learned this week.
As some countries around the world begin to lift quarantines and lockdowns and return to some form of normality, don’t expect everything to be exactly as it was before the outbreak began. The threat of contracting the virus is likely to remain for several months until an official COVID-19 vaccine is made readily available and so some guidelines and measures are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
The UK government’s medical advisor has urged for social restrictions to remain in place till at least the rest of this year as an effective vaccine could take a long time to be tested and confirmed. And while certain stores and factories are in the process of reopening this week with others set to begin discussing this possibility in the coming weeks and months, things will be very far from the status quo for some time.
What this means for areas such as travel, with countries having different guidelines and levels of security and distancing, is unknown and whether the government decides to enforce social distancing through the summer and beyond will be a talking point for some time.
In more positive news, following trials taking place across the globe, the first vaccine trial for coronavirus in Europe has begun in Oxford, where 800 volunteers have been recruited to take part in a study, with half being given a vaccine for the virus developed by Oxford University and the other receiving a vaccine for meningitis in order to see how subjects respond to bling testing.
While trials around the world continue to take place and no concrete result being a certainty, the team at Oxford University, who have previously developed a vaccine for another form of coronavirus in the past, stated that they remain optimistic about their work as it showed promise in clinical trials before rolling the vaccine out to public testing.
The trial is likely to take months with subjects being closely monitored for their response to the vaccine, which could be difficult as cases follow the same pattern across the world of rising, then slowly dropping. Following initial data, a wider trial of approximately 5,000 volunteers is scheduled to take place in several months time. So while we remain uncertain in our search for a cure, we can feel upbeat that we are heading in the right direction.
On or around Friday 20th March, all schools, universities and nursery groups in the UK closed their doors, sending students home with work packs, daily tasks and repositories of virtual learning tools in an effort to continue their educational journey from home during what is traditionally one of the busiest times in the educational calendar as exams and final assessments are just around the corner.
In other countries schools have been fortunate enough to stay open, others have to timeframe to reopen, however in England, the leader of the Headteachers Union recently stated that schools there could begin to reopen from Monday 1st June, however Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has not given any official statement on the reopening of schools as of yet.
Several factors such as a drop in infection and death rates, the ability for the NHS to cope with its large workload and sufficient supplies will affect the timeline for reopening of major institutions such as schools and government buildings. Therefore students, teachers and parents must continue with remote learning for the foreseeable future, but we remain hopeful this will change sooner rather than later.
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