A government scientific adviser says there is now “really good evidence” of which sectors are riskiest for coronavirus transmission.
Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, announced which activities and professions are classified as “high risk” despite social distancing restrictions.
He said: “You would have thought working outside wouldn’t be a risk, but a lot of construction workers actually work inside before buildings are made Covid-safe.
“The construction industry turned out to be a risk that surprised me.”
And Prof. Semple, member of the government’s scientific advisory group on emergencies (Sage), warned that industries like pubs and hairdressers are still “high-risk activities” despite masks and social distancing.
He said, “It’s not just about hitting a mask and visor, it’s about not touching the face mask, it’s about washing your hands.”
“It is difficult, it takes nurses and doctors years to learn this properly.”
When asked if changing pub closing times would make a difference, he added, “Playing around the edges of drinking times or pub closing times is just not an effective mechanism.
“In pubs and clubs you have to look at all of human behavior and consider human behavior and I think that was missing when that first happened.
“I think each iteration you see next will be better informed if you understand human behavior and don’t drive us into unintended consequences that can increase transmission, such as pubs closing early and concurrently Enter all streets. “
While the vaccine’s priority will be the most vulnerable and healthcare workers, Prof. Semple said it could be rolled out to the rest of the population by the summer.
Prof. Semple said, “The vaccine priorities will inevitably be the most vulnerable and frontline healthcare workers.
“I think we’ll see that expire around Christmas and New Years because the vaccine has already been ordered and we’ve had great results.
“I think the rest of the population will look to the summer before this mass vaccination of the rest of the population and that will give us the immunity, the broad immunity that will allow us to get back to normal.”
When asked if social distancing needs to continue until a mass vaccination program can be put in place, he said, “I doubt that because if we can vaccinate the infirm and the elderly, it will take the pressure off the groups coming with serious illness Hospital.
“I think we will see the restrictions lifted in the spring and I think there is way too optimism.
“We now have really good opportunities to care for people. That is why the mortality rates in hospitals have fallen from one in three to one in six. So there is far too optimistic here.”