UK faces 8,000 Covid deaths before Christmas if govt don't act, epidemiologist warns

19 October 2021, 16:36

By Seán Hickey

Unless government reintroduces mask mandates and accelerates vaccine rollout to teenagers, the UK faces a serious increase in Covid-19 deaths this winter, a public health expert tells LBC.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, Clinical Epidemiologist and Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London spoke to Shelagh Fogarty following a concerning rise in coronavirus cases.

"Clearly a lot of people have decided this is over, haven't they?" Shelagh put to Dr Gurdasani, following Health Secretary Sajid Javid's warning that the UK faces a "tough winter" as cases rise.

Read more: Sajid Javid warns of 'tough winter' as No10 'closely' monitors AY4.2 covid variant

"Since 19 July – freedom day – 10,000 people have died, but it is not discussed" the epidemiologist pointed out.

"Those deaths were preventable if we just kept mask mandates, put mitigations in school and rolled out vaccines to adolescents which still hasn't really happened."

Dr Gurdasani warned that "if [cases] stays the same and doesn't increase, we will have another 8,000 deaths before Christmas."

She added that if the information was circulated properly to people, there would be less public outcry at potentially extending restrictions.

"If you were to ask people if this is worth not wearing a mask or your child wearing a mask in school or, you know, keeping the windows open, to prevent some of those, at least a few thousand of those 8,000 dying...would you not do it?

"I think a lot of people would", she noted.

Dr Gurdasani claimed that because of the lifting of restrictions while Covid-19 cases and deaths remain high, "we have normalised the highest infection rate in Europe, in Western Europe; the highest death rate in Western Europe."

"The numbers of Long Covid in young people have jumped over the summer because essentially we've been tolerating about 40,000 cases a day, now rising. All of this is down to government."

Referencing an earlier point made by Dr Gurdasani, Shelagh admitted she "couldn't understand" why vaccine rollout to adolescents wasn't accelerated over the summer.

The epidemiologist argued that if such a measure was taken, the UK would have "avoided the massively high rates in adolescents which have now spread to other age groups.

"We have an increase in above 60s which means again, higher hospitalisations and deaths and all of this was avoidable."

"I don't understand what our government and public health bodies are doing in a time like this", Dr Gurdasani concluded.

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