ONE of the predictable things about viruses is that given a sufficient number of cases in the population, and enough time, they will mutate, and if this results in a more infectious variant, the virus will spread rapidly.

Thus the key to controlling a pandemic is to reduce the number of cases to a sufficiently low level to inhibit both the number of mutations, and the chances of them spreading.

This requires measures to limit the transmission of the virus, such as restrictions on personal contact (particularly inside warm buildings), and an effective “track and trace” system.

Unfortunately, the Government’s policy (if it can be said to have one given their frequent U-turns) has been almost the exact opposite.

Measures such as “Eat Out to Help Out”, making schoolchildren and university students return to their normal places of education, and allowing families to mix indoors over Christmas, have positively encouraged the spread of Covid 19.

Moreover, the so-called “world-beating” private sector Track & Trace system is a proven failure.

Thus no one, particularly not Boris Johnson, given the scientific advice he receives (but frequently ignores), should have been surprised by what is now happening in the UK.

So how do we eventually get Covid 19 under control? While the vaccines will help, we need an effective Track & Trace system, which will almost certainly involve funding local authority public health departments.

Moreover, the Government must be prepared to continue measures limiting personal contact until the number of cases in the population is low enough to contain the virus. Whether they will be prepared to do this, is a moot point; certainly their past record is not encouraging.

Alan Jordan, Middridge.