'No way out' of pandemic unless cases reduce drastically, warns SAGE member

6 February 2021, 11:15

By Seán Hickey

This epidemiologist warned that there is no way out of the coronavirus battle unless the UK drastically reduces transmission rates.

Professor John Edmunds from the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine joined Matt Frei to reflect on the positive news that over 10 million Brits have been vaccinated.

The SAGE adviser warned that it may not be all good news: "It's a dreadful thing to say but there's no way out of it."

"We're coming down from an incredibly high peak," he told LBC, adding that "it'll take a long time to get that down to low levels."

Professor Edmunds revealed that currently there are around 850,000 Brits in the community with Covid-19 and if we expect to get back to normality, there is an agonisingly long road ahead.

"To bring it down from such levels you have to keep measures in place for, unfortunately, quite a long time."

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Matt wondered if we "may be becoming victims of our own perceived success" with the positive news around vaccines shrouding the coronavirus battle in misplaced optimism.

"There is a danger of that." Professor Edmunds warned.

"If we ease too quickly, then the virus will just come back very fast," he said, reminding Matt that "only half a million have had the second dose" which is the recommended course of treatment.

"If we ease up too quickly, the virus will come back, and we will quite rapidly go back to putting enormous pressure on the health service again."

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