No Reason to Delay the End of Lockdown, Says Professor Robert Dingwall

Despite all the doom and gloom about the impact of the Indian Delta Covid variant, Robert Dingwall, Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University and member of Government advisory group NERVTAG, says there is no reason to delay the end of lockdown. Professor Dingwall told Times Radio (as quoted in the Guardian) that “we have to push on” with unlocking because Covid no longer poses a great threat to society, whereas the “collateral damage” of lockdown does.

Personally, I don’t see any case for delay… from a societal point of view, I think it’s really important that we go ahead on June 21st, and I’ve not really seen anything in the data that would lead me to doubt that as a proposition on the evidence to date.

I think we need to recognise the way in which levels of fear and anxiety in the population have been amplified over the last 15 months or so.

We’ve got to look at the collateral damage in terms of untreated cancers, untreated heart conditions, all of the other things that people suffer from.

We’ve got to think about the impact of economic damage that would be caused by further periods of delay and uncertainty…

He added that because of the successful vaccine rollout, a slight increase in cases (due to the Indian variant) does not warrant the continuation of strict lockdown restrictions.

By the time we get to June 21st, everybody who is in the nine priority groups or the highest risk will have had both jabs, and would have had a period of time to consolidate the immunity.

What are we going on with is really running into younger age groups who are intrinsically much lower risk. Many of the scientists who’ve been talking over the weekend simply haven’t adjusted their expectations to understand that – (for these people) Covid is a mild illness in the community.

As the Director of Public Health Bolton was saying last week, the people who are going into hospital… it’s not like January, these are not desperately ill people.

They’re people who need a little bit of extra support with oxygen, they need access to the dexamethasone treatment, which is very effective.

They go in, stay in hospital for three or four days and they go out again. There is no realistic prospect of the NHS facing the sorts of pressures that it faced in January and February. And that’s why I think we have to push on with this.

Appearing on Lucy Johnston’s “Sketch Notes On A Pandemic” podcast on Sunday, Professor Dingwall also said (as flagged in today’s News Round-Up) there has been a “preference… throughout the pandemic to believe in the evidence of modelling rather than the evidence of the world”.

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