Research released on Wednesday concluding that strict lockdowns, particularly those affecting the young are unlikely to cut deaths in the long run and may even increase, have left government ministers under intense pressure to rethink and change the direction of government policy.
Scientists at Edinburgh University have undertaken a study which examined various lockdown-style scenarios. The conclusion was that, whilst being effective at protecting hospitals, they also are likely to prolong the pandemic and slow the build-up of herd immunity.
These scientists also concluded that coronavirus requires a different strategy from a flu epidemic and that, without doubt, the policy focus should be on protecting the elderly and vulnerable. The lead author of this study Professor Graeme Ackland has said: ‘Unless a vaccine magically appears and is rolled out across the entire population in the next six months, then shutting down society is unlikely to reduce overall deaths’.
Professor Ackland, who is a computer simulation expert went on to say: ‘Lockdowns essentially just postpone these deaths and prevent immunity building up, in some cases resulting in more deaths long term. The way out of any epidemic is herd immunity, which is when enough people in the population are infected that the virus can’t spread. We need to focus on protecting older people who are going to be affected by coronavirus, not people who aren’t’.
The study also found that the closure of schools ‘leads to more overall deaths from Covid-19’ than if they were permitted to remain open. The reasoning attributed to this was that the closure of prevents herd immunity building up among the healthy and young. The study argues that the virus would bounce back as soon as the draconian were lifted, infecting more vulnerable populations and resulting in ‘more deaths, but later’.