One of the government’s scientific advisors has admitted that the UK won’t emerge from the coronavirus pandemic until Easter.
Professor John Edmunds, an expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says it will be months before the “nightmare” of the epidemic is over. reports the mirror.
He reset Lockdown 2 in England, but insisted that restrictions would still be required afterwards – and that it would be “really unwise” to go back to programs like Eat Out to Help Out.
The SAGE expert also warned that a return to the tiered system of government would “not make much sense” and questioned the tier 1 and 2 restrictions.
Speaking at an event by the Institute for Government, Prof. Edmunds said, “I think we’re going to get out of this nightmare of this epidemic, I would say I always felt like it was around Easter, about a year later is really going to start because we will vaccinate, we will be able to better control the epidemic.
“Now that we’ve got out of lockdown, we still have to have restrictions in place to keep it from coming back.”
“The idea is to bring the incidence down and keep it at that lower level instead of what it is now.
“So we’re not just going to come back to Eat Out in December to help – or I really hope we don’t – because that would be really unwise.
“We have to keep some restrictions and keep the epidemic at a low level.”
Targeting Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s offer to eat at a discount in the summer, he said, “I can’t think of any epidemiologists who think that’s a good idea.”
Prof. Edmunds also questioned the effectiveness of the tiered system, as tier 3 measures had slowed the epidemic, but the lower tiers were less useful.
“I think the problem with the animal system is that the other levels aren’t slowing down because the other levels aren’t slowing the epidemic very much,” he said.
“Places that are in the lower levels inevitably end up in the higher levels.
“So we can slow down the epidemic at a higher level, but that’s not a very good result because then everyone has a high incidence and so it’s not a very sensible way of doing things.”
The Prime Minister has announced that he would like to return to a tiered system at the end of the national lockdown, which expired on December 2nd.
Meanwhile, Prof. Edmunds offered a glimmer of hope for vaccines, which he said could be ready early next year.
But he said mass vaccinations across the country as there wouldn’t be enough doses initially.
“It would be unwise to vaccinate the lowest risk groups immediately just because we are not sure of the benefit-risk ratio,” he said.
“I think we will see vaccines introduced to the people at greatest risk first, and I think that is a perfectly acceptable type of strategy.”