The British public have been offered alternating periods of lockdown and relaxation of restrictions as part of the COVID-19 lockdown exit strategy. Extended periods of lockdown will increase economic and social damage, and each relaxation will almost certainly trigger a further epidemic wave of deaths. These cycles will kill tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of people before a vaccine becomes available, with the most disadvantaged groups experiencing the greatest suffering.
There is an alternative strategy: universal repeated testing. The authors of this article published in The Lancet recommend evaluation of weekly severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen testing of the whole population in an entire city as a demonstration site (preferably several towns and cities, if possible), with strict household quarantine after a positive test. Quarantine would end when all residents of the household test negative at the same time; everyone else in the city can resume normal life, if they choose to.
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