October 29, 2020

Did VE Day parties cause a spike in Covid-19 cases?

The day after the Prime Minister announced an easing of the lockdown, the number of new Covid patients in the hospital fell to a reassuring three. And two of them were my medical colleagues.

The low figure partly resulted from delays in reporting, which happen every weekend, but there was still a collective sigh of relief. Maybe everything was going to be all right after all?

But three days later, on Thursday 14 May, the number of new Covid-positive patients had shot up to 30.

It’s just one figure, and in normal times we might discount it as random variation. However these are times of alertness, and every flicker of the Covid dashboard needle triggers nervous anticipation of a possible spike.

There is a delay between infection and symptoms, usually about five-to-seven days. So these cases would have been incubating since the week before – and possibly since the communal gatherings on VE Day, six days earlier

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