As the third wave of the pandemic is taking hold across England due to the rampant Delta variant, the UK government has planned to reopen the nation, effectively lifting almost all restrictions on July 19, 2021, in what was christened. Freedom Day. Implied in this decision lacceptance that infections will increase (up to 50,000 a day in two weeks, Boris Johnson said), but that doesn’t matter because vaccines have broken the link between infection and mortality. The British government’s decision was defined as dangerous and premature by a group of 122 world experts (many of them British) who wrote a letter, published in The Lancet, asking the British Prime Minister to delay the reopening scheduled for July.
Removing restrictions, experts write, is likely to cause millions of infections and to arouse chronic problems and disabilities related to long Covid in patients. Ending the pandemic through population immunity requires a sufficient number of people immune to Sars-CoV-2, but population immunity is unlikely to be achieved by 19 July and other proportionate mitigation measures will be needed to avoid hundreds of thousands of new infections until more people are vaccinated. However – scientists warn – the UK government’s intention to loosen restrictions starting July 19, 2021, means that immunity will be achieved by vaccination for some people but by natural infection for others (mainly young people).
There are five main reasons why the strategy chosen by the government is considered dangerous.
1 – First, unmitigated transmission will mostly hit i unvaccinated children and young people, who have already suffered a lot – the experts write in the letter, which he has as his first signature Deepti Gurdasani of Queen Mary University.
Official UK government figures show that as of 4 July 2021, 51% of the total population was fully vaccinated and 68% partially vaccinated. Even assuming that around 20% of unvaccinated people are protected from a previous infection, more than 17 million citizens will remain unprotected against Covid-19. Due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, the exponential growth of infections will continue until millions of people are infected and hundreds of thousands of people have to deal with long-term disabilities.. This strategy risks creating a generation with chronic health problems and disabilities for decades.
2- The high transmission rates in schools and in children they will lead to significant problems from the point of view of education. Allowing the broadcast to continue through the summer will create a infection reservoir, which is likely to accelerate deployment when schools and universities reopen in the fall. Consequently, there will be new school closures if vaccinations are not terminated for the age groups for which the vaccine has been approved and all possible measures are not put in place to keep transmission of the virus in the community low.
Vaccine resistant variants
3 – Preliminary estimates suggest that this strategy could provide fertile ground for the emergence ofvariants resistant to vaccines. It would put us all at risk, including already vaccinated citizens, in the UK and around the world. Although vaccines can be updated, it takes time, and in the meantime the world population would be exposed, especially countries with little access to vaccines.
Impact on the health service
4 – This strategy will have a significant impact on health services and operators, now exhausted, who have not yet recovered from previous waves. The link between cases and hospital admissions has not been interrupted and the increase in the number of infections will inevitably lead to an increase in hospital admissions, further exerting pressure on the health service at a time when millions of people are waiting for medical procedures and routine care
5 – As the most disadvantaged communities are more at risk Covid-19, these policies will continue to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable people.
Vaccination, the letter points out, offers the prospect of achieving community immunity even without having the tens of thousands of cases due to reopening. We believe unethical and illogical any strategy that tolerates high levels of infection. The UK government needs to reconsider its current strategy and take urgent steps to protect the public, including children. We believe that the government is embarking on a dangerous and immoral experiment and we urge him to suspend plans to abandon mitigations on July 19, 2021.
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July 8, 2021 (change July 8, 2021 | 15:57)
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