UK must "live with coronavirus" as economy reopens, says public health expert

30 August 2020, 09:32

By Seán Hickey

As the economy reopens after lockdown, this health expert made the case that we will have to learn to live alongside coronavirus.

Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh Linda Bauld assured Andrew Castle that "the key to all of this is getting the numbers down and making sure we don't have the deaths," when quizzed on how we come out of lockdown.

Professor Bauld made the point that because we know more about the virus now, statistics that once worried the public are not as much of an issue as they were.

"One of the reasons why the cases have gone up so much is because we're testing a lot more," she argued, adding that the UK's test positivity rate is still below 1% and we currently have a low number of patients in ICU.

For reasons such as these, Professor Bauld suggested that we can begin to reopen the economy as we turn the corner on the pandemic response. She stressed to Andrew that "we're going to have to be absolutely innovative," going forward to ensure the public gain confidence and remain safe.

Professor Bauld made the point that we must learn to live alongside the virus in reopening the economy
Professor Bauld made the point that we must learn to live alongside the virus in reopening the economy. Picture: PA

Andrew wanted to know if the UK "had an inappropriate response to Covid-19" in the beginning of the pandemic, referencing the disproportionate impact the virus had on young people.

"At the beginning of this pandemic, we didn't know how to deal with this so we had no choice but to overreact," Professor Bauld said.

"If we shut down earlier we would have saved lives, if we tested better we would have saved lives," but she insisted "we now know a lot more about how to proceed now."

The public health expert concluded by telling Andrew that "we're going to have to live with this and find ways forward in the months to come," rather than looking at how we could have done better in the past.

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