Leading scientists have ruled out zero incidences of COVID.
Independent experts, keen to meet expectations before the restrictions are lifted, told MailOnline that achieving zero coronavirus deaths is “impossible” and that a focus needs to be put on reducing them to levels comparable to the flu.
Professor Karol Sikora, a specialist in medicine at Buckingham University, told MailOnline:’ All deaths are sad and have a very emotional meaning… but we must treat COVID like other viruses because it will become a normal phenomenon in society. We should consider it a success if we reduce the number of coronavirus deaths to levels comparable to flu deaths each year. We will never reach COVID zero.”
Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr. Raghib Ali, commenting to MailOnline on the prospects of lifting the UK’s pandemic restrictions from July 19 and getting the vaccine to most of the country’s adult population: “Extending the restrictions beyond this point doesn’t do much.” Asked what the acceptable number of deaths from COVID might be, the expert added: “If you look at the mortality and excess mortality from influenza, the government allows the number of deaths to reach about 50,000 per year.”
Michael Gove, a cabinet minister, told the Times Radio: “We have to accept that this virus will be circulating and unfortunately in the coming winters we will find that people will get infected with it or subsequent variants and they will get sick. Unfortunately, there are respiratory diseases, including the flu itself, which every year lead to an increase in the number of people admitted to hospitals, and in some cases suffer from tragic consequences.” In a separate interview with BBC Radio 4, Michael Gove said that “we will have to learn to live with COVID.”
As the Daily Mail notes, it is unclear what death rates from COVID the UK can expect after the quarantine ends next month, and this has become less obvious due to the outbreak of the highly contagious Indian variant, which has proven to be at least 60 percent more contagious than the “Kent” version of the coronavirus.
Prominent SAGE member Professor Graham Medley warned that even with the extra respite that the reprieve provides, Britain later this year could still suffer hundreds of deaths from the coronavirus every day.
Dr. Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading, believes this is possible because millions of people will still be vulnerable to the disease even if the whole country is vaccinated. A small percentage of people who get the shot will still get infected and die from the coronavirus, usually due to a weak and weakened immune system.
Keith Neal Professor Emeritus of infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, believes that once the UK adult population is vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, the government no longer has to try to save everyone’s life: “We can’t stay isolated forever, people need to assess the risks themselves.” However, other experts said the government had a duty to prevent all “preventable” deaths. Professor Gabriel Scully, a public health expert at the University of Bristol, told MailOnline: ‘What is the acceptable level of road accidents? We don’t accept those deaths; we have an investigation to find out what went wrong and how we can fix it. As with any other infectious disease, we must do everything we can to protect people from it. If we don’t take reasonable action and people get sick, it means that we are negligent in people’s lives.”