GMB Doctor – 'No scientific basis' to Christmas bubble plan

According to the GP on Good Morning Britain, the plan to allow households to mix over the Christmas period has ‘no scientific basis’.

Medical expert Dr. Amir Khan spoke with presenters Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway a day after the new tier system for England was announced by Secretary of Health Matt Hancock and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Christmas plan, agreed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the leaders of the decentralized nations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will allow up to three households to travel and meet for five days over the Christmas season.

They can spend time in private homes, places of worship, or outdoor public spaces, but must stick to the same bubble for five days and can only be in one bubble.

The government advisory states that “a fixed bubble is a sensible and proportionate way to balance the desire to spend time with others during the Christmas season while reducing the risk of contamination”.

On Good Morning Britain on Friday, Dr. Amir Khan, a family doctor and star of the TV show GPs: behind closed doors, was asked why hugging someone was such a big deal, when the virus can spread by being in the same room as someone. He said: “Opening up households for five days over Christmas is not necessarily a scientific decision, it is more of a political decision.

“Trying to balance it with science won’t work.

‘People in households will breathe the same air within that area as each other, so it’s a tricky balance.

“There is no scientific basis for it.

“It’s more about human behavior and social decision-making.”

Presenter Kate Garraway said, “I’ll tell you what I’m worried about. It’s that the people trying to follow the rules will be worried about that and won’t get together. The people who haven’t been there will just think,” blow it ‘, so that’s why it makes it very difficult for people trying to stick to the rules. “

The GP replied, “I feel very strongly that opening up households over Christmas is so risky. January is going to be so difficult for the NHS, including February. We are so close to rolling out these vaccines.

“It’s really frustrating to see this really, to be honest, purely from a health standpoint.”

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said of the plans, “Wherever you are in the country, I urge you to continue the incredible efforts that you and everyone else have made to keep pushing the virus down.

“All of this means, of course, that Christmas will be different this year. Many of us long to spend time with family and friends, regardless of our faith or background. And yet we cannot afford to disregard caution.

“The virus doesn’t know it’s Christmas and we all have to be careful.”

And the UK government’s chief scientific adviser warned at a press conference Thursday evening that hugging could have serious consequences.

Professor Chris Whitty stressed that people should not take such a tactile approach to loved ones this holiday season “if you want them to survive to be hugged again.”

He said: “Would I want someone to see his family? Of course, that’s what Christmas is all about, whether people celebrate Christmas themselves as a festival or from another belief system. It’s an opportunity for families.

But would I encourage someone to hug and kiss their elderly relatives? No I wouldn’t.

“It’s not against the law, and that’s the whole point. You can do it within the rules out there but it doesn’t make sense because you could be carrying the virus and if you have an older relative that wouldn’t be what you want to do during the time we are getting to a point where we might be able to protect the elderly. “

Commenting on what Chris Whitty said, GP Amir Khan added on GMB, “This idea of ​​a five-day Christmas holiday, we understand the country’s psychological need for it, but it is without a doubt a risky process.

‘I agree with Professor Whitty, we shouldn’t hug vulnerable people.

The reality is, this is not a normal Christmas. As much as we want it to be, this can’t be a normal Christmas. ‘

And a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) warned that this could lead to a third wave of the pandemic.

Professor Andrew Hayward told BBC2’s Newsnight, “Basically what this will do is throw fuel on the Covid fire.

“I think it will definitely lead to more transmission. It will likely lead to a third wave of contagion, flooding hospitals, and more unnecessary deaths.

“With the vaccine on the way, if we’re not very careful at Christmas, we really run the risk of taking this defeat out of the jaws of victory.”