A government scientific adviser says there is now “really good evidence” as to which industries are most at risk for coronavirus transmission.
Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, revealed which activities and professions are classified as ‘high risk’ despite social limitations.
He said, “You would have thought that working outside wouldn’t be a risk, but a lot of people in construction actually work indoors before buildings are made Covid-safe.
“So the construction industry has turned out to be a risk that I was surprised to see.”
And Prof. Semple, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), warned that even with masks and social distance, industries such as pubs and hairdressers were still “high-risk activities.”
He added, “It’s not just a slap on a mask and visor, it’s about not touching the face mask, it’s about washing your hands.
“It is difficult, it takes nurses and doctors years to learn this properly.”
When asked if changing pub closing times would make a difference, he said, “Fiddling with something like drinking times or pub closing times is just not an effective mechanism.
“In pubs and clubs you have to look at all human behavior and consider human behavior, and I think that was missing when this first came in.
“I think every iteration you see next will be better informed by understanding human behavior and not driving us into unintended consequences that can increase transmission, such as prematurely closing pubs and anyone taking to the streets at the same time. “
While vaccine priority will be the most vulnerable and health workers, Prof Semple said it could be rolled out to the rest of the population by the summer.
Prof Semple said, “The priorities of the vaccine will inevitably be the most vulnerable and primary health workers.
“I think we will see that disappear around Christmas and New Year because the vaccine has already been ordered and we have had excellent results.
“The rest of the population, I think, will look forward to the summer before this massive vaccination of the rest of the population, and that will give us the immunity, the broad immunity, that will allow us to get back to normal.”
When asked whether social distancing should continue until a mass vaccination program can be rolled out, he said, “I doubt that because if we can vaccinate the vulnerable and the elderly, it will take the pressure off the groups that come to the hospital with. a serious illness.
“I think in the spring we will see the restrictions lifted and I think there is a lot of optimism.
“We also have really good ways of caring for people now, so the death rate in hospitals has dropped from one in three to one in six, so there’s a lot to be optimistic about here.”