1.7m added to shielding list proves lockdown scepticism is 'stupid', says James O'Brien

17 February 2021, 12:25

By Fiona Jones

As 1.7 million extra people are told to shield, James O'Brien explains why this is proof lockdown scepticism is "stupid and wrong."

Around 1.7 million more people are being added to the Covid-19 shielding list in England, after experts identified more factors which put them at serious risk.

Letters will be arriving imminently telling people they should be in the coronavirus shielding group - meaning they will need to remain in their homes until 31 March.

This addition has emerged as scientists have used a new model to determine those most likely to suffer severe coronavirus symptoms or stress.

Those newly identified as being at higher risk because of multiple factors, including underlying health conditions, will get priority access for vaccines, officials confirmed.

James reflected on this "astonishing" figure, worrying that the story has not been given the attention it deserves.

He theorised this was due to the owners of "right-wing" newspapers who have been "flirting with so-called lockdown scepticism."

The further 1.7 million people deemed vulnerable is "yet more evidence that [lockdown scepticism] was stupid and wrong."

He explained: "If you called last year for the 2.2 million people on the list as being vulnerable to be some how locked up and protected and insulated from the rest of society, while everybody else went back to society...today you've learnt your policy would have sent 1.7 million vulnerable people...tootling out in to the street.

"You would have sent them tootling out in to the pubs during Eat Out to Help Out."

Around 2.2 million people were currently on the list in England, many of whom were identified for a single reason, such as specific cancers, people on immunosuppression drugs or those with severe respiratory conditions.