In his press conference yesterday, Boris Johnson announced the UK was “past the peak” of COVID-19. People across the country are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts.
Boris Johnson’s government must now examine the data to see what has actually happened. We can no longer listen to ‘experts’ with their hypothetical protections. We must begin to thoughtfully restore the country to function.
There are three key facts being ignored by those calling for a continuation of the lockdown.
Fact 1: People are dying of other medical issues
Doctors have been forced to postpone more than 2 million operations to free up beds for coronavirus patients. This includes cancer patients whose tumours may continue to grow while they wait for surgery.
“The consequences are really serious. There are some patients who have cancers that are usually slow-growing but this may impact on long-term survival,” Professor Derek Alderson, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons said.
Cancer Research UK said the number of patients referred to specialists for suspected cancer has dropped dramatically. The charity believes more than 2,000 cancers are being missed each week and that many will become inoperable if left undetected.
Meanwhile, A&E attendances are at their lowest point since records began. An A&E nurse we spoke to said she hadn’t seen a heart attack or stroke case for six weeks. She believes people are avoiding hospital and are dying in the community – figures in Scotland suggest this is likely the case.
Fact 2: The overwhelming majority are not at risk of dying from COVID-19
A recent study by Stanford University estimates the fatality rate of those infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent. That’s far lower than the previous World Health Organisation estimates of 3 to 4 percent.
Another study found the median age of hospitalised patients in the UK was 72, and 80 for those who died. Young adults and children in normal health have almost no risk of any serious illness.
Of all fatal cases, 88 percent had an underlying illness. The most common conditions are cardiac disease, diabetes, and pulmonary disease. If you do not have an underlying illness, your chances of dying are small, regardless of age.
Fact 3: We have a clearly defined group who can be protected with targeting measures
The overwhelming evidence all over the world shows a clearly defined group who need protecting. Older people and others with an underlying illness are most likely to have a serious illness requiring hospitalisation.
Understanding that means it is a common-sense goal to target an isolation policy to that group, including monitoring those who interact with them. Nursing home residents should be given greater protections, ensuring that staff have required protective equipment and can be tested regularly.
Based in the evidence collected, there is a clear policy that Boris Johnson’s government should pursue. Strictly protect those most vulnerable, self-isolate those with symptoms and open most small businesses with sensible precautions.
Let’s stop giving publicity to those who build unreliable models, such as doom-monger Professor Neil Ferguson, who has a reputation for getting things wrong. It’s time to follow the facts.