SAGE member and Director of the Wellcome Trust Sir Jeremy Farrar says lockdowns are “awful” – citing their effects on mental health, education and job opportunities, to name a few – and that Brits must learn to live with Covid without restrictions. Sir Jeremy is “optimistic” that lockdown will end on June 21st, however, he believes that guidelines on restrictive measures such as mask-wearing should remain past this date. The Mail has the story.
Sir Jeremy… said the measures had had “very profound consequences” on the nation’s mental health, education and jobs.
But he was hopeful that the Government would be able to open up on June 21st based on the data so far – but stressed the next few weeks would be “crucial”.
He pointed out that more than eight in 10 adults would be vaccinated by then, adding that he was “very confident” the jabs were working.
“There is a danger of not opening up and this infection is now a human endemic infection. It’s not going away,” he said. “Humanity will live with this virus now forever. And there will be new variants. This year, next year, the year after, there will be new variants – and we will have to learn to cope with that.
“Lockdowns are awful. They are a mark that you haven’t been able to control the virus in other ways. They have very profound consequences on mental health, on education, on job opportunities particularly affecting people on lower incomes.
“Societies can’t stay in that mode forever.”
Earlier this week Boris Johnson said that while there was nothing in the data to suggest the June 21st ending of lockdown could not go ahead, the numbers were “still ambiguous”.
But Sir Jeremy said he was hopeful the jabs had “separated” the inevitable rise of infections which comes with easing restrictions and the subsequent increase in hospitalisations.
Asked whether he thought the country would be able to open up on June 21st, he added: “If you really push me today, I would say I’m more optimistic because I think that the vaccines have been so incredibly successful.”
He added that based on current data, although he would lift restrictions, sensible advice such as wearing a mask indoors should still be in place.
Sir Jeremy also said: “If hospitalisations have remained low and deaths have remained low, I would accept a degree of transmission and I would open up.
“I think this is the hardest decision, frankly, of the last 18 months actually. I am optimistic in the sense that I do believe that vaccines are incredibly safe and very effective.”
Worth reading in full.