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In Dramatic Speech, Boris Johnson Assures Britain “We Can Turn The Tide Of Coronavirus Within 12 Weeks”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson first adopted his ‘unorthodox’ approach to fighting the virus that relied on ‘targeted’ measures to try and keep anyone who might be infected at home and in isolation while keeping offices, schools and stores open. Though it was outside the mainstream advice from both the WHO and the standard being set across the world of closures and quarantines, some experts said it was “so crazy it might work.” The thinking was, if Johnson could flatten the curve enough to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed, leading to more preventable deaths, he might be able to lead the UK through the crisis with its economy intact.

It was a valiant effort, but unfortunately, Johnson is now discovering what leaders in Italy, the US and elsewhere are quickly learning: The public doesn’t always respond to ‘recommendations’ and ‘guidelines’. The basic principles of mass psychology suggest that people respond to incentives. The public’s trust in the media has eroded to such a degree that many immediately dismissed the warnings as an overreaction. With many believing that they would be ‘fine’ no matter what, they continued going about their days as normal, thinking none of this would effect them.

As California Gov. Gavin Newsom showed last night, extreme crises require an extreme response, and people need the incentive of knowing they might face legal trouble – in other words, that this is an ‘order’, not an ‘ask’ – to finally fall into line (and even then, some will likely continue to disobey).

With his government warning that hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths might be on his hands if he doesn’t change course, Johnson prudently decided to do an about-face this week, admitting that the miscalculations in the government’s initial approach had finally become apparent, and that it would now take dramatic steps to catch up, and stave off a devastating surge of infections.

During a Thursday evening speech, Johnson promised Britons that the UK could defeat the virus and emerge relatively unscathed in 12 weeks if the people simply adhere to the government’s recommendations.

“We can send the coronavirus packing in this country, but only if we take the required steps to reduce the peak,” Johnson said.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, Johnson admitted the government “don’t know how long” the crisis will last, but the government is embracing a ‘mass-testing’ approach to try and discern the true scope of the problem as quickly as possible. The prime minister revealed during the press conference that the government was in talks to buy “hundreds of thousands” of tests to reveal if people are immune.

He acknowledged that the government is asking students to put their education on hold, and for people not to socialize in the normal way.

“We’re asking students to put their education on hold, we’re asking people not to socialise in the normal way and already we can see the impact this is having on the UK economy and on business, on great, great companies.”

“So it’s vital that we in government stand behind them when what we are asking everyone to do is so crucial for saving literally thousands of lives by fighting this virus.”

Pressed by Sky News about the government’s 12-week figure – and whether Johnson was truly claiming that life in the UK could return to normal by the summer – Johnson said “I am very confident that we’ll get this thing done.”

“I am very confident that we’ll beat coronavirus.”

“I think we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, but it depends on collective, resolute action.”

“The encouraging thing is the more disciplined we can all be in doing that, the greater the chances the scientific community will be able soon to come up with fantastic results on testing to say nothing of the other medical treatments.”

However, later asked what he meant by “turning the tide,” the prime minister admitted the government “don’t know how long” the coronavirus outbreak will last for.

“At the moment, the disease is proceeding in a way that does not seem yet to be responding to our interventions.”

Johnson joked that though he’s often accused of being overly optimistic, he wanted to stress that this was not one of those times. The government of course can’t guarantee that the outbreak will be “on a downward slope” by June. But if the entire country works together, it just might work.

“I believe a combination of the measures that we’re asking the public to take and better testing, scientific progress, will enable us to get on top of it within the next 12 weeks and turn the tide.”

“Now, I cannot stand here and tell you by the end of June we will be on the downward slope.”

“It’s possible, but I simply can’t say that’s for certain. Of course not.”

“We don’t know where we are, we don’t know how long this thing will go on for.”

“But what I can say is this is going to be finite, we will turn the tide and I can see how to do it within the next 12 weeks.”

“Mr Johnson then added: “I’m often accused of being unnecessarily boosterish about things and I certainly don’t want to strike that note today.”

In accordance with his new policy of mass testing, Johnson said the UK was aiming to ramp up testing for coronavirus to 250,000 people a day. As supermarkets begin to stock up, Johnson asked Britons to be “reasonable” in their grocery shopping, amid stockpiling that has left supermarket aisles empty of certain products, adding, “be considerate and thoughtful for others as you do it.”

Of course, the political futures of both Johnson and his party will inevitably be tied to the outcome of this crisis, and the culling of many capable MPs last year may seem inopportune.

But there’s considerable upside for Johnson, who might be able to clinch the mantle of most effective PM in modern British history if he can successfully guide the country through the outbreak, and the Brexit talks, which we suspect will continue after the top EU negotiator recovers from COVID-19.

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