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Coronavirus lockdowns 'may kill MORE than herd immunity' - News Today

NOW - Hot News
NOW - Hot News
Coronavirus lockdowns 'may kill MORE than herd immunity' - News Today

Ministers were last night under intense pressure to rethink after experts cast fresh doubt over Covid restrictions.Research released on Wednesday shows that strict lockdowns – particularly those curbing the activities of the young – are unlikely to cut deaths in the long run and may even increase them.The Edinburgh University study examined various lockdown-style scenarios and found that while they might protect hospitals, they could also prolong the pandemic and prevent the build-up of herd immunity.The scientists concluded that coronavirus required a different strategy from a flu epidemic – and the focus should be on shielding the elderly and vulnerable.Lead author Professor Graeme Ackland, from Edinburgh University, 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.’ The computer simulation expert added: ‘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 shutting schools ‘leads to more overall deaths from Covid-19’ than allowing them to remain open.This is because it prevents herd immunity building up among the healthy and young, who face only a tiny risk of dying from the disease.The virus would bounce back as soon as measures involving school closures are lifted, infecting more vulnerable populations and resulting in ‘more deaths, but later’. The study, which was part-funded by an arm of government, came as a growing number of leading scientists signed a declaration calling for life to be allowed to return to normal for all but the elderly and vulnerable.By last night more than 9,000 doctors and medical experts had endorsed the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’ that backs herd immunity.A separate study on Wednesday found that 86 per cent of corona victims do not show three main symptoms when they test positive. And there were growing questions over the effectiveness of lockdown-style restrictions as figures showed that new rules have failed to curb coronavirus in almost all the local areas that have been living with them for two months.Nicola Sturgeon announced sweeping restrictions on Wednesday, with pubs and restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the central belt shut for 16 days from tomorrow night.
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