Second Covid lockdown is NOT the answer – independent expert blasts Sage

1 month ago 6

A NATIONWIDE lockdown should be a "last resort" to protect the NHS as experts claim we need to "learn to live" with the virus.

Government scientists have predicted that the second Covid-19 wave could be even deadlier than the first with a "lower but longer peak."

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Today one expert claimed that 25,000 people could be in hospital with the virus by November and Downing Street is supposedly working on the assumption that the death toll during the second wave this winter is going to be worse than that experienced by Britain in the spring.

And gloomy scientists say all of England will need to be under severe tier three Covid restrictions by mid-December with sources claiming that the second wave will be "worse than the first".

Professor Carl Heneghan, director for the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine has however claimed that another national lockdown could be an "incredibly harmful intervention".

The country is currently separated into three tiers, a plan Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said is working to curb infections.

But a source today claimed that Mr Johnson is being put under "increased pressure" to implement a full national lockdown.

Speaking to the MailOnline, Prof Heneghan questioned why this was even being considered when the aim of the first national lockdown was to flatten the curve and to protect the NHS.

Prof Carl Heneghan said a lockdown should be the last resort

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Prof Carl Heneghan said a lockdown should be the last resort Credit: supplied by Pixel8000

He said: "Lockdown should be a last resort to protect the NHS. The fundamental aim was to protect the NHS, at that time we didn't have testing and we didn't have any treatments or Test and Trace, so it was justified."

Now that we have these programmes in place Prof Heneghan said we now have knowledge of other medicines and treatments and questioned where the messaging had gone about "learning to live with the virus".

He added: "People calling for lockdown need to realise that it is a blunt tool that will just kick the can down road, we need to get the message out now that this is not going away, it's about managing Covid-19's impact."

Analysis from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has caused government advisers to push Mr Johnson to take more drastic measures to control the virus.

Sage analysis also suggests the highest level of restrictions, Tier 3, may be needed across all of England by mid-December putting Christmas plans into chaos.

The Sun has also revealed that the ­latest government modelling overseen by chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance shows more than 25,000 will be in hospital with the virus by the end of November.

Cases are rising in most areas in the UK, with some areas such as Nottingham being forced into Tier 3 restrictions as infections climb.

Today another 310 Brits lost their lives to coronavirus as deaths doubled in just a fortnight - while a further 24,701 people tested positive overnight.

It's the second consecutive day that deaths have been above 300. A further 367 people were reported to have died with the virus yesterday - the highest number in more than five months.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, the government’s former chief scientific adviser today claimed that the death toll will continue to increase due to the fact that there are still “very many vulnerable people”.

The UK has had around 917,000 cases of the virus and Sir Walport, who is also a member of Sage highlighted that more deaths could be on the cards as “relatively few people” have had the virus.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Prof Walport said it is "certainly not unrealistic" to think of 25,000 people being in hospital by the end of November.

He said:"France, which has a very similar population to us, currently has about 16,000 people in hospital, it's got 2,500 in intensive care beds compared with 852 here, and roughly half the ICU beds in France are occupied. We're seeing similar things in Spain.

"And these are in spite of these countries taking strong measures as well.

"So the answer is that with our current measures, which are similar but with variations in different parts of Europe, there's still evidence that it's not - there isn't as much social distancing as there were when we clamped down on the first wave and so we know that the risk is significant that cases will continue to grow."

A police chief also warned cops will be able to burst in on festive family gatherings if Covid rules are being broken.

A source told the Telegraph: "It's going to be worse this time, more deaths.

"That is the projection that has been put in front of the Prime Minister, and he is now being put under a lot of pressure to lockdown again."

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While experts have warned that the whole of the country will have to be in Tier 3 by Christmas to stop the virus taking over, one cabinet minister dismissed that another national lockdown was in the works.

George Eustice told Times Radio that the measures the government is currently taking are “holding the virus back”.

He said the tier system has kept the R rate between 1.4 and 1.5.

Mr Eustice said: "Sage themselves, when they posited that (a circuit-breaker lockdown) as one option, highlighted that it was uncertain how much it would achieve in two weeks and whether it would be enough, and also that there would be lots of negative consequences of such an intervention."

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