Covid winter plan 'portrays a lack of understanding in public health'

14 September 2021, 17:36 | Updated: 14 September 2021, 18:02

By Seán Hickey

This epidemiologist warns that the government is not taking a rise in Covid cases and deaths seriously enough.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani told Eddie Mair that the government's winter Covid plan "portrays a lack of understanding in public health."

Read more: Prof Chris Whitty says those who knowingly peddle anti-vaxx lies 'should be ashamed'

"The idea seems always that we can vaccinate and test our way out of this," the researcher from Queen Mary University of London noted.

"We're having 30,000 cases a day, we've had 1,000 deaths a week for a while now, and we're having 1,000 hospitalisations every day with frontline doctors telling us that they're not coping."

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 jab booster programme

The epidemiologist said that "there's a sharp contrast in the reality of what's unfolding and the rhetoric from government that doesn't match the seriousness of the situation we're in."

Read more: 'There should be no stigma': Vaccines minister defends jabs for all children aged 12-15

Eddie wondered what measures Ms Gurdasani felt the government should be focusing on coming into winter. She told him that much better ventilation and test trace isolate services must be invested in to avoid another lockdown.

Read more: Vaccine passports 'still a potential tool' for Government, says Thérèse Coffey

She criticised the slow rollout of vaccines to children: "We're probably one of the last countries to open up vaccinations to adolescents."

"In so many aspects we've been exceptional in the lack of protection for our people."

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