Twitter is awash now with useful data.
Austria will be a guinea pig with a phased release of lockdown starting 14th April, and a push to business as usual on 1st May.
They started full lockdown on 16th March, having already closed some borders and introduced checks and testing at the border. 10 days later, they saw peak new cases on 26/27th March, and, having made masks mandatory in public, plan to start releasing lockdown less than 3 weeks later.
However, their case will not directly correspond to ours in the UK, unless a few things change.
- Widespread availability and use of masks (possibly mandated) – we’ll probably struggle on that, with a population 65M vs 9M in Austria, and given likely demand from everywhere else in the world. We may all be getting our sewing kits out, or relying on wine-sozzled catladies on Etsy.
- Testing – today’s news on that front is not encouraging.
- Border closure – Austria has closed its borders with Italy, amongst other countries, and is doing tests on people entering the country. We’re not doing any of those things.
At the moment, given the above, even if we assume that the UK reaches peak new cases this weekend, it’s difficult to see how a successful return to normal could begin in early May.
As of 25th March, the prediction for the UK was:
- Peak New Cases: 3rd week in may
- Earliest Lockdown release: 3rd week in June
- Latest Lockdown release: 4th week in July
It’s starting to look like even if we get over the new-cases peak in the next week (we might.. we might not), the other ducks will very much not be in a row for an early withdrawal of lockdown conditions.
Soo… plenty more time yet for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down. Easter weekend is going to be gruesome festival of non-compliance and screeching, which the government could easily use as an excuse to prolong the lockdown, concealing the real reasons (masks, testing, borders).
Also I can foresee a case where lockdown is released, and a great many people simply refuse to go back to normal. Who would want to be a middle-manager telling his staff they must all return to the office, rather than working from home? Or a restaurateur trying to coax customers back? Or a theatre manager? Or a travel agent?
There are going to be bargains galore for the brave in coming months.