What would happen if lockdown was lifted right now? Expert outlines deadly consequences

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Government ministers have committed to Boris Johnson’s roadmap, which commits Covid measures to a provisional end date of June 21. By then, the third nationwide lockdown will have lasted nearly six months, leaving many people anxious to meet with friends and family. Unlocking the country any sooner, according to recent data, would result in dire consequences.

What would happen if lockdown was lifted right now?

The Government’s current roadmap pinpoints June 21 as the earliest England can reopen without triggering significant excess deaths or hospitalisations.

By then, current circumstances permitting, people could live without the need for social restrictions or masks.

The rules could be subject to change, but data from Covidsim, a Covid-19 scenario tools, suggests unlocking sooner could lead to more than 100,000 deaths.

The tool, made in conjunction with Imperial College’s COVID-19 Response Team, predicts 124,448 deaths this year if ministers had lifted lockdown this week.

Graphs show a significant peak from March 2, which reduces as the days pass in March.

By March 31, the potential number of deaths decreases by more than half, to 58,729.

The decrease significantly, but more slowly in the months before the Government’s proposed endgame.

By June 21, the death rates fall to 12,923, just over a tenth of what they would be if lockdown ended now.

Covidsim forecasts this would be the “worst-case scenario”.

Leaving the lockdown to last for a little longer would cut deaths by more than 4,000.

The same graphs from Covidsim show if the Government waited until August 31, excess deaths in a worst-case scenario would amount to 8,375.

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Covidsim makes projections based on the prevalence of infections each day and the expected number of people requiring hospitalisation and critical care facilities.

An update to the system also allows people to include vaccine data.

The tool can also evaluate the impact of social restrictions and the effects of easing them.

Dr David Sarphie, the co-founder of Covidsim, told Express.co.uk dialling back restrictions was a “political” decision that ultimately doesn’t count on predicted deaths only.

He added other metrics could include economic, mental and educational deficits.

Dr Sarphie said: “This is very much a political question with projected deaths being only one of a number of factors that government leaders need to consider when making these decisions.

“Other factors include the impact of lockdown on childhood education, its drastic disruption to the economy and people’s livelihoods, and the impact of continual lockdown on mental health.

“Now that vaccines are available, a key goal must be to ensure a “sufficient number of people are vaccinated, and therefore protected, before fully reopening.”

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