Tom Swarbrick clashes with epidemiologist calling for Covid restrictions to continue

8 August 2021, 13:04

By Seán Hickey

This epidemiologist shocked Tom Swarbrick after claiming the UK should keep Covid rules in place until there's 'no community transmission' of the virus.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani was responding to the claims of Professor Neil Ferguson that it is unlikely the UK will need to go through another coronavirus lockdown.

Read More: UK 'unlikely to need new lockdown or old social distancing measures', expert says

The Senior Lecturer at Queen’s Mary University London in epidemiology, statistical genetics and machine learning told Tom Swarbrick that the risk to many people is still too great to lift all restrictions, and more vaccinations should be done to reduce deaths.

Read More: Maajid Nawaz: 'You don't believe in your own rules, so why should we?'

Tom wondered how at what point the country should accept a certain level of death and hospitalisation from the virus and get back to normal.

"700 people is a lot of people, but it's not going to see the NHS fall over." He added

"The question is do we need to accept it" Dr Gurdasani clapped back, noting that "there are more than 40% of people who aren't fully protected who could be protected in the coming weeks" and "the impact would be far far lower" if we waited a few more weeks.

Read More: Boris Johnson 'has shown fantastic leadership' during pandemic, ex-Tory minister insists

Tom couldn't subscribe to Dr Gurdasani's thinking: "We don't lock down our economy, we don't stop people from being able to live their lives in a way in which they would like for someone being seriously ill."

"People aren't living their lives in the way they like," the epidemiologist argued.

Read More: Rishi Sunak 'focused on economy' amid reports Boris Johnson talked about demoting him

"There are people who are clinically vulnerable who are pushed back into shielding at this point in time because of fear," arguing that this isn't an appropriate sacrifice when we can do more to protect these people.

Tom asked "how low are we talking about, that transmission needs to be?" He was shocked by the response.

"Transmission needs to be at a point in time where we're having outbreaks but no community transmission" Dr Gurdasani stated, telling Tom that "that is the way to get our freedom back and your economy back."

She took the example of "countries like Australia and New Zealand" in showing how restrictions pay off in the long run, but Tom interjected.

"Sydney's in a fifth or sixth lockdown, they could be in lockdown until the end of the year!"

Dr Gurdasani ended the clash by noting that the "total of duration of lockdown" in those countries is exponentially less than the UK's, pointing out that "most of the time their country is free."

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