Releasing all Covid restrictions on ‘Freedom Day’ was the right thing to do despite outcry at the time, a study for Imperial College London led by ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson has found. MailOnline has more.
Imperial College London researchers praised the roadmap more generally, saying that it was ‘largely successful at limiting infection levels’.
They said No 10 timed the easing of restrictions well because the dates of each step of the roadmap allowed vaccines to get into the arms of those most at risk.
And the study said it was prudent to delay ‘Freedom Day’ nearly a month from its original date on June 26th after the emergence of the Delta variant.
This decision alone prevented at least 2,000 hospital admissions per day, they found. This ultimately saved countless lives.
Experts previously criticised No10 for being ‘unscientific ‘ and argued Boris Johnson lifted restrictions too early on July 19th.
But scientists like Professor Christ [sic] Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said that abandoning curbs in summer would take some of the sting out of a winter wave by getting infections out of the way.
Scientists including SAGE behavioural science subcommittee member Professor Stephen Reicher and Independent SAGE members Professors Christina Pagel and Martin McKee slammed the return to normality in July as “dangerous and unethical” at the time.
And international health leaders including former Australian health department secretary Stephen Duckett warned opening up was “foolish”.
But the new research suggests the Prime Minister’s course was the right plan of action — even with the unanticipated problems posed by Delta.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Sir Patrick Vallance has advised Boris to “go hard and early” with masks and ‘Plan B’ at first sign of rebounding cases. MailOnline has more.