Children are more likely to be struck by lightning than die from coronavirus, a scientist has said.
Scientists at Cambridge and Oxford universities have called for a “rational debate” surrounding the “tiny” risk Covid-19 poses to children.
Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the Winton Centre for Risk at Cambridge University, argued it may be better for younger people to continue with their everyday lives if no vaccine is discovered, reports DailyStarOnline.
He said previous generations had dealt with the issue by allowing youngsters to pick up infections when they were less dangerous.
Speaking at a briefing on the new ONS data, Prof Spiegelhalter, who is a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said: “In school kids aged five to 14 it’s not only a tiny risk, it’s a tiny proportion of the normal risk.
“I remember the pre-vaccination era and I was sent round to play with friends with measles, mumps and chickenpox. I’m not suggesting this is the public health solution to this, but if no vaccines come along you might be thinking that.
“If, years in future, we don’t have a vaccine then we might have to think about how to protect those age groups most at risk while younger people can continue with their lives.
“I don’t think that will ever involve encouraging people to get infected.”
The coronavirus death rate in children for five to 14 year-olds in England and Wales is one in 3.5million.
For under-fives, it is one in 1.7 million, less than the rate in which people are struck by lightning each year in Britain.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states 30 and 60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain, a population risk of between one in 2.21 million and one in 1.1 million annually.
Children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in England began returning to primary school last week after the Government eased lockdown measures.
But some schools said they did not have enough space on site to admit all pupils in the eligible year groups, while adhering to Government guidance to limit class sizes to 15 and encourage fewer interactions.