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@Unlock  – The Plan

The reasons this plan is now essential for the UK:


Unless we find a way to unlock very soon, the longer-term damage to many businesses will lead to a catastrophic failure for jobs which in turn leads to long-term damage to families & general health. 

We forget - at our peril - that we build our future on the endeavours of the past.  It is only because we have built up a ‘store’ from past endeavours that we can contemplate investments such as HS2.  Once this store has been truly depleted, (and this is different from debt or QE as it is the real substance that allows us the ability to do things), we shall have little to draw from to invest in anything.  Imagine a desert island where people must work flat out just to feed themselves – where do they get the time and food to attempt to build a new tool to improved production?

For people like us - we can remember the lessons from the 70’s - when the UK was in this position.  The UK had to borrow from the IMF to fund our basic societal needs.  This time around the IMF is also bust – so forget any sort of bail-out, the UK and indeed all the other countries are on their own.  It is this fact that makes this situation so scary for the people who can see the true extent of a potential economic collapse.

If we do not act soon, we shall lose a generation of younger people to poverty or worse as there will be few ways to create the necessary investment to re-build the economy or educate to the standard required to move forward as a society.  We shall enter a long period where our society as a whole is working at well under optimal performance, where our output is well below what is needed to generate the additional funds to invest in future success.

The tax receipts will fall to a level where the society cannot afford to work efficiently.  The society will simply not have the funds or ability to provide for essential services.   At this juncture a future society will spiral downwards into a state where it is simply impossible to invest in the future needs – education and infrastructure such as energy and transport systems, hospitals and care systems. 

From this point it is a very long road back, at least a generation, perhaps never, as the society may well slide into a phase where is breaks down into factions and becomes ungovernable.  We have seen this across the world many times and we have seen it played out in the disaster movies  – it can happen, and could happen, in the UK if we are not cognisant of the massive economic dangers we currently face.


We have already seen a massive drop in the normal health of people.  Unlike Covid-19, this badly affects young people as well as older people.  Cancer is a clearly defined issue here, we know already that many (otherwise fit) people shall die unnecessarily due to this lockdown.

The longer-term health issues directly due to the lockdown due to people being unfit & stressed will cause deaths and long-term illness to many, many thousands of people.  The longer this lockdown goes on the worse the outcomes will be.  Many more whole families will suffer from the stress of lost jobs and inability to function at a normal healthy level.  This has a knock-on effect to both the economy and the support services.  Again this could become a vicious cycle downwards to the point where the systems for health and welfare are overwhelmed.

The Science Behind the Plan

CST has reviewed the available data from around the world and we can see several major trends for the detailed morbidity across populations.  Although this data is still sparse (why?) it seems clear that we can assume some basic trends to help us formulate a sensible, workable plan to unlock.

These basic trends in the data are (see data & references below):

@Unlock - The Plan:

We have seen that from a long-term economic and general health viewpoint that the lockdown must end.  It seems clear that this virus will continue to circulate for the foreseeable future and we cannot expect to get a widely available vaccine before spring 2021.  The society must therefore find a way to work effectively within these constraints.

The key issue informed by the known data that provides a workable opportunity is Covid-19 has a low morbidity rate for healthy, non smoking younger people.  The precise age where the morbidity is low enough to create a workable plan is not precisely known, so we must assume a sensible age group who are much less likely to die or get severe complications from the virus creating to much stress on the health service.

As the morbidity rate in the age group below 50 is already known to be low, the key issue for the unlock will be to prevent overwhelming the health services.   The logic of this plan is straightforward; as it is not possible to continue with a wide lockdown until a vaccine is available, we must expect this virus to continue to spread within the community.  This plan limits the deaths and stress on the health service to an acceptable level while returning to a level of economic activity that protects the UK in the longer-term.   This protection results in overall lower deaths and overall better results for the society as a whole in the longer-term.

Expected Outcomes:

The published current data does not allow us to produce an exact expectation of hospitalisations or deaths in the healthy, non smoking under 50 age group.  Our best estimation based on the worst case assumptions suggests that:

1) The maximum hospitalisations at the height of infections in the 38 million people in the under 50 age group would be less than 10,000 from that age group.

2) The maximum deaths would likely fall in the range of 1,000 to 10,0000 from that healthy non smoking under 50 age group.

This assumes all of that group becomes infected with an infection rate “R” ratio of 1.3.   This assumption creates an infection spread that takes 26 weeks to infect this whole group.

After this time period (26 weeks) this group would have an expected immunity.  We still do not know what this immunity will provide in terms of protection.

Implementing the Plan – Initial Phase:

Healthy under 50 year age group:

People 50 and over or with health conditions

Help to revive small businesses

The Plan – Second Phase:

Other options to unlock

1) Test & Trace

China (and some other countries) suggests that they have effectively stopped the spread of the virus almost completely.  This allows them to test, monitor and trace every new case to prevent Covid-19 spreading within the general population.

It is too early to say whether this strategy is workable.  For the UK to reach the point where the spread of the disease and the known number of infected people are so low that this traceability becomes workable requires the current lockdown to continue for perhaps several more months.  This timescale is not possible without severe economic damage and damage to short and longer-term general health.  This option must therefore be discounted as too risky for the future of the UK.

2) Partial unlock

Allowing some areas of business and social activity to resume without any consideration of the age and health of the public unlocked will cause the virus to continue to spread and affect many people who are at significant risk of dying.  The virus may spread more slowly and this may protect the health services, but the economic downside is that many types of business will either not be profitable (and therefore close anyway), or not open at all, leading to massive continuing unemployment.  The overall health downside is that many less healthy younger and older people will fall victims of Covid-19.

In the longer-term, this option creates an ongoing economic malaise with all the additional societal, health issues within a poorly functioning economy. This option must therefore also be discounted.

Research Failures

The research and data collection methodology has not changed for Covid-19.  This is a failure of data surveillance.  The lockdown changes these requirements completely.  We need to know where the new cases are coming from.  There is only partial data which is spilt into institutions such as the schools, prisons and care homes.   This means we do not know accurately where the new cases are coming from.  This is a critical analysis that should inform the unlock process, the fact that we do not have this data is scandalous.   If we knew what the split for instance, of locked down households vs key workers and how these individuals were likely to have contacted the virus, we would be in a much better position to create a workable plan.

The second major failure is the lack of small community based surveys to establish the spread of the disease within different communities.  This standard data surveillance informs us about different communities and would tell us of the exact spread of the virus both for symptomatic and asymptotic cases by age by gender.  It would inform us of the morbidity rate in different age, sex, economic and ethnic groups.  Again, this is a catastrophic failure and suggests that the people who are looking at the data and in charge of surveillance are incompetent.

The third failure is perhaps a lack of publication detail.  CST cannot establish accurately the morbidity by age by gender of UK people who have no underlying health conditions.  This is crucial to any plan for unlocking the economy.

Data & References:

The following key facts demonstrate these data trends and assumptions:














March 20th Update

CST admits our plan was doomed to failure – but we were not given the right information and this has had other effects:-

CST’s original musing were correct, the UK government was withholding important information - false news by any other name.

If we had been informed of the crucial information about who was critically affected by this disease.  People, most of them, would have realised much earlier that we ere facing a massive threat, not just for the elderly or infirmed, but all people over 20 years old.

The government withheld this from us.  This is very, very stupid and will be seen as causing a significantly more damaging outcome than if the cabinet office had been open.

While we must not panic people unnecessarily, to keep people informed is paramount.  We are not stupid.

Furthermore, given the known severity of this disease for most ages, the government response has been pathetic.

Here are the issues:

Now we see what happens when the virus overwhelms the hospital, over 600 deaths in one day in Italy.  London may well follow that course.

The US is in even a worse place.  Trump’s stupidity (we could use another expression) will kill many thousand unnecessarily.  The US is just about (20 March) to hit the panic button, their lack of health care for many will be disastrous for many. 

When the US finally work out that this ‘recession’ will go on for at least a year – effectively until we get a vaccine and role it out – the markets will implode, expect Wall Street to hit 1500 or worse as there will be no dividends for years in most sectors.

So, what happens after the first phase?

We have seen China move into the next phase already.  Our government suggests we seesaw from crisis to crisis until eventually they go away and most people acquire immunity.  The economic impact of this is uncertain.   Open a restaurant or pub or venue for a few weeks, then shut them down again. What does this do to the longer term economy?

Paying salaries to 80% for many people is a massive drain on the future – many hundred of £billions.  Will this lead to a re-invention of economics?

CST has long argued that as we move to a robotic workforce, the economic thinking and theories will have to adjust.  When finally (timescale?) the robots do nearly everything, then money and debt as we know it becomes obsolete.

Perhaps, by the time we come clearly out the other side of this world epidemic, we may be able to see the future more clearly – and if we are lucky the economists will see that we can coast to the end game of robotic service, food and manufacturing society without having to attempt to ‘pay for the impossible virus debt’.  Do we tread water for 25 years to pay off the debt – only to discover we never needed to?

If not, then how will the world manage the awful virus debt?  How many years will it take to move back to a ‘normal’ economy?  Will the dollar fail, if so the world that counts in dollars fails too.  Physically, the world will have changed little.  The likely deaths will be small compared to major wars or other historic pandemics such as the plague or the 1918 Spanish flu.

So, what will hamper the human race from moving forward will be the way we think about possibilities.  The manufacturing, communication, energy systems and food manufacturing will still be there as before.  But if we let the economics of our money based systems dictate to us – then we could see breakdown of many societies and even major wars.


The UK Plan 15 March 2020:

The under 55’s should be asked to go about life as normal.

The over 55’s should be mandated to stay at home until further notice.  (There will be some key exclusions, see analysis below).

Over 55’s who live with other people should try to isolate within their home as far as possible.

Over 55’s who can work from home should do so with employers being mandated to ensure that this is at all possible.  Employers should be mandated to provide a reason if this is not possible.

People under 55 who feel they are at significant heightened risk due to health issues can self-select to stay at home, and register with 111 help line to allocate resources should they require them.

Ask the under 55’s to go about their normal business and urge them to continue to visit pubs, restaurants, normal gatherings, sport venues, and mix with work colleagues completely normally.

This includes keeping open schools and education establishments.

Provide an immediate tax incentives (increase the basic tax allowance by £1000 this year, providing £200 for everyone in work, this works well now as it is just before year end).
Ask the under 55’s to go out and spend this on the service sector to keep these economies going.

Put the army on alert to help provision the stay at homes as required.   

After the spread of the virus has stabilised for the under 55’s, release the 55’s to 60’s age group back into the community, ask them to spend their tax incentive on services.

When this group has stabilised, then release the up to 60’s... then later the 70s and so on.  In this release process the impact on the NHS can be monitored closely to prevent overloading especially within ICU units.

This works for both the economy and the wider community.  It provides the herd immunity but built up in a very controlled manner.  It also crucially provides the space and equipment in ICU for those who need it.


This plan has few down-sides.  It saves the wider service economy from melt down such as is happening in France, Italy, Spain and soon no doubt, many other countries.

Crucially, it guarantees that the UK shall not need to shut down our service sectors and reduces the impact across many other sectors.  Once our service industries are shut down the time-scale and cost are unknown.

Their will be some significant workplace and education disruption from missing employees both from the under 55’s when they fall ill and the missing employees over 55.   Schools, colleges and similar institutions shall need to reallocate class sizes and restructure their care provision.  This shall provide a better outcome than having to close such institutions leading to less people being available for work and infecting the older people who are likely to be looking after the children not able to go to school.

Some over 55’s in key jobs such as consultants in ICU and the health service generally may apply for release from isolation.  This can be handled by their employer if the employer insists that they are a key personnel and needed for public safety.

For the health management, the staging of the older population in manageable groups is paramount.  It means that as we move forward and understand more, we become more prepared and more able to deal with this illness.

There will still be a number of older people who cannot completely self-isolate who will become ill soon.  As the number of fit under 55’s who need ICU equipment should be small, these older people will be able to be dealt with.

The costs of such implementation is a fraction of the ongoing cost to repair our service based economy.  If we are forced to shut them down as the ICU places become overwhelmed, it will take many £billions to re-build them.  This plan is by far the cheapest possible solution for the UK in the medium and longer term.

The UK has a very narrow window of opportunity to introduce this plan.  It must be implemented before the level of infection overwhelms the NHS. This plan helps us all and ensures resilience of our ongoing economy especially for small businesses who will go bust if we follow the other European shutdowns.

If we in the UK action this plan, we shall emerge as the leading world economy, we shall have maintained a strong service economy and shall be able to re-build our other industries such as aerospace, aviation and manufacturing more quickly. 

Considering the likely world recession that will follow this outbreak, the ability of the UK to create jobs for infrastructure and forward looking innovation will be unique.  The rest of the world shall be using all their resources in survival mode.

Lastly it is a very specific thought-through plan that can be put forward as the world leading plan to solve this crisis.

It will get the backing from the people - as it both protects their health and relieves the stress from jobs losses now and into the future.

This plan has been emailed to every government minister and most MP's on 15 March 2020. So, in future if they have not taken sensible actions to prevent chronic breakdown and many unnecessary deaths, the cannot say they were not given a better way forward.

Will the government carry out such radical measures? Probably not until it is too late. If they do not, expect potential mass disruption, because families who have little savings and have lost jobs will after some months, need to take matters into their own hands for their families survival.


Previously 12 March 2020

Well, CST doesn't mind saying we were exactly on the money yet again... now what is the sensible strategy?

What is clear to CST, is that we do not yet know how this virus will pan out in the UK.  We do not know with any real clarity who is most at risk and what the death rates are or what the rates are for becoming seriously or critically ill.  What we do know is that this virus being new to us all, and having a high transmission rate is likely to affect us all.

So, CST has given some thought to what is the best course of action now.

In about a months time (or sooner), we shall be much better informed specifically for the above issues within the UK.

So we suggest if you can, you isolate for one month, or until you know enough to make a decision on future plans.  Hopefully, by then, we shall all know what we really face and can take further appropriate action.

Also, due to Trump's lack of strategic ability, (he is by nature a reactionist), he is likely to continue to make poor decisions, CST expects the US markets to continue to fall, expect Wall Street to hit 1800?

Initial Summary

17 Jan 2020:-

There may be a few individuals that were alive in the last major pandemic in 1918 Wiki:

”Known as Spanish flu, it was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people around the world, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic.”

The rest of us have never faced a threat such as this before.  CST is not alarmist, this pandemic may just be a nuisance for many, but currently the interesting bit is that we have no idea.

What CST is pretty sure of is we are being subjected to global disinformation about this situation.  The UK, European, US authorities seem to have agreed on a plan, if we were able to listen in on their conversations, it would probably go like this:

“We now face a global pandemic.  It is clear that this new virus will spread across most of the world’s population.  Containment for most countries is now not a realistic option as the virus has an unknown period of infection before any symptoms become obvious and it is likely to have already spread across borders.   The likely infection rate in China (200,000 expected within the next week in Wuhan), suggests that the virus is pretty good at spreading person to person, although we do not know what the infection process is yet.

The issue now is how we deal with the many people who are likely to fall ill.  As the virus is ‘new’ to all humans (and is likely derived from an animal source and mutated to infect humans), there is likely to be little if any immunity within world populations. “

What we do NOT know at present is :

What we do know:

This is what CNN said about symptoms:

“This is what we know about the illness so far:

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses, which include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Common symptoms include: a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and possibly a headache. Those who have a weakened immune system, particularly the young and the elderly, are at risk of the virus turning into a more serious respiratory tract illness.

Authorities said the Wuhan coronavirus was passed from animals to humans; can be spread from person to person; and appears to cause pneumonia in people who have weakened immune systems.

It is thought to be milder that SARS and MERS and take longer to develop symptoms. Patients to date have typically experienced a mild cough for a week followed by shortness of breath, causing them to visit a hospital.”

So what should the general public do?   This is tricky as it is likely to differ depending upon your circumstances.  If you are old gits like us and retired, when the virus looks likely to be out and about you can stay in and play with the internet (good time to try out the moocs).

What should we do?

This is tricky as it is likely to differ depending upon your circumstances.  If you are old gits like us and retired, when the virus looks likely to be out and about you can stay in and play with the internet (good time to try out the moocs).

If you work, then it will probably be too late once you decide not to mix with colleagues.  For the younger people, depending on the viruses effect on this age group, if known early, you could stay in, keeping younger children away from school and friends before the virus becomes rampant, or go with the flow if the illness is not causing severe symptoms.

Whatever happens, it is nice to know we are the guinea-pigs in a new global experiment.




Covid-19 28 April 2020

@Unlock  – The Plan

Here at CST we are scientists, strategists, and creative business people.   We present the definitive unlock plan for the UK and indeed any country who has similar demographics.

Stanford University: Stanford Prevention Research Centre, Department of Medicine, and Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, April 4th 2020:

“People under 65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in the hotbeds of the pandemic and deaths for people under 65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon.  Strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic.”