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CORDER’S COLUMN: Jewellers and watch stores could be open in March

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Rob Corder, co-founder and editor of WatchPro.

The Sunday newspapers were unanimous on one thing: the current lock down and world-beating vaccination programme are bringing cases, hospitalisations and deaths from covid 19 down faster in the UK than even the most optimistic observer had expected.

Unnamed sources speculating about the path to recovery on Friday were replaced with government ministers doing the rounds of Sunday morning political shows to bask in the news that 15 million people have received their first dose of the vaccine (two days earlier than the target of February 15).

There is no hard consensus about what we will be told on February 22, but the mood music is upbeat.

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Some schools, perhaps all, will open on March 8.

Non essential retailers will be in the next round of freedoms returned.

Some simple calculations make a logical case for the possibility of jewellers and watch shops opening before the end of March.

Daily Cases, hospitalisations and deaths are all halving every 17 days. So, from just under 11,000 cases yesterday, this should fall to under 5,000 cases by March 8. Three weeks later, before the end of March, we could be looking at 2,000 cases per day unless schools reopening causes another rise.

Even if cases rise, hospitalisations and deaths should not because the overwhelming majority of elderly and vulnerable have been vaccinated. Last week’s 7-day average for deaths from covid was 671 per day.

If this halves three times between now and the end of March it will be down to 83 deaths per day and likely that deaths from all causes will be at or even below the 5-year average.

This needs everything to go right, and for the government to take calculated risks on the balance between health security and the economy.

That is probably too much to ask in so short a time, but the data is all heading in the right direction for retail to be open by Easter.

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