Wise member Professor John Edmunds said “really important additional measures” are needed immediately to control the spread of the coronavirus, with school closings being the “greatest leverage available”.
But he believes the total death toll at the end of the pandemic could be in the six figures.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine scientist told BBC Radio 4’s PM program, “I think the total number of deaths is now unfortunately measured in terms of 100,000 or more.”
Prof. Edmunds said “really important additional measures” are needed immediately to control the spread of the coronavirus, with school closings being the “greatest lever” available.
“We are in a really difficult situation,” he said.
“The new strain is significantly more transferable than the old strains. So we need to take significant additional measures to prevent Covid patients from overwhelming the NHS.
“Unfortunately we have to take some really important additional measures, I see no other way out.
“The biggest lever that has only been partially pulled is the closure of schools. That would have the greatest effect of a single action, and I can see that happening. “
He later added, “What we have to do now, and it’s horrible, I know, but we have to take really tough steps now, and as tough as possible.”
Prof. Edmunds turned down proposals that public failure to comply with restrictions was a big problem, saying, “I don’t think this is a big problem in itself, I think people are pretty compliant.”