UK to ‘more lockdown’ as country to treat Covid ‘like flu’

UK to 'more lockdown' as country to treat Covid 'like flu'

The UK is set for a life without further Covid-19 lockdown as the country’s top doctors seek to start treating the virus more like the standard flu.
This is reported by Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, who made the comments during a Royal School of Medicine webinar today (April 1).

Speaking to people on the call, Professor Whitty said in a difficult year, up to 25,000 people die from the flu.

In a normal year, the number of deaths is between 7,000 and 9,000.

He said Covid deaths will soon have to be seen as part of the world we live in and ultimately the price to pay for keeping society open and everyone living a ‘whole life’.

Professor Whitty told the webinar that the coronavirus is “not going away”.

“You have to figure out what is sound policy in this regard and here I would make a big difference between a pandemic environment and what you get with seasonal flu,” he said.

Sir Simon Wessely, professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, asked Professor Whitty if lockdowns would be reinstated even if Covid-19 cases increased.

Responding, Professor Whitty said, “No, I don’t think so. ”

But he added: “Society will not tolerate more than a certain number of people being sick, even though they know it will go away in the spring, and the area where we are going to have to pull the alarm cord is so. A variant of concern comes from the fact that we can now see is back to a situation of unrestrained growth because the immunological response to this is just not there. ”

Some measures, such as restrictions on parental visits to nursing homes, could still be taken to protect the most vulnerable, the Telegraph first reported.

“We need to find a balance that keeps it low, minimizes deaths as best we can, but in a way that the population tolerates, through medical countermeasures like vaccines and timely drugs,” which means you can minimize mortality without maximizing the economic and social impacts on our fellow citizens, ”said Professor Whitty.

England is set to exit lockdown for good on June 21, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously saying that would end restrictions in the country.

It comes as the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine appears to offer 100% protection against the South African variant and most likely protects against the Brazilian variant.

Research published Thursday by Pfizer / BioNTech offers the first evidence in humans of how the vaccine protects against the South African variant that scientists are concerned about.

The pharmaceutical giant said its findings show the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing cases of Covid-19 in South Africa – where the South African variant is now common.

Among 800 people in South Africa, nine cases of the South African variant of Covid were seen – all in the group that did not receive the vaccine. Of the nine people who fell ill, the analysis showed that they had six of the nine known strains of South African variants.

Pfizer said the data supports “previous results from immunogenicity studies demonstrating that (the vaccine) induced a robust neutralizing antibody response to the (South African) variant.”

The 800 people were part of a larger phase three clinical trial also showing that the vaccine was very effective even after six months.

Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said the trial figures “provide the first clinical results that a vaccine can effectively protect against currently circulating variants, a critical factor for herd immunity, and end this pandemic for the world population ”.

Professor Peter Openshaw, Imperial College London, praised the study but pointed to the low number of coronavirus cases in the South African arm of the trial.

“It could be 100% effective, but as more data accumulates it is possible that cases will emerge that show a lower rate of protection,” he said.

He added that the study looked at serious illnesses, but “it seems likely” that the jab “will also reduce less severe types of infection.”

A second study found that the Pfizer vaccine produces an ‘off-scale’ immune response that is likely to protect against the Brazilian variant of Covid-19.

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