UK death toll would have been 'halved' if lockdown had been a week earlier

According to a former government advisor on Covid-19, it would have halted the British coronavirus death toll by introducing lockdown measures a week earlier.

Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, has told the Science and Technology Commission that the introduction of lockdown measures could have reduced the death of the coronavirus by half.

The virus model builder said, “The epidemic doubled every three to four days before the interventions were locked up.

“So if we had introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final death toll by at least half.”

However, he added that, based on what was known at the time about transmission and fatal accidents, the measures were justified.

“Although I think the measures, given what we knew about this virus and its transmission and lethality, were justified – I wouldn’t doubt them at the moment – especially if we had introduced them before, we would have seen it a lot fewer deaths. “

The UK took an unprecedented step on March 23 to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The UK death toll is already above 40,000, and in Wales the total number of deaths in people with laboratory confirmed coronavirus has reached 1,419 since the outbreak.

Photos in Wales in the days leading up to the closing announcement show people climbing Penyfan, visiting Barry Island, while a Stereophonics concert was held in Cardiff on March 15.

UK death toll would have been 'halved' if lockdown had been a week earlier

Professor Neil Ferguson told MPs of the Science and Technology Committee: “A key concept to get R under one is that of a contact budget.

“If we want to keep control over the transmission, there is only a limited number of contacts that can be allowed and then it is a decision of the policymaker, if they want to keep R under one, what types of contacts they want to prioritize to give.”

Professor Matt Keeling, from the University of Warwick, said, “I think it is incredibly difficult to give someone ‘how many people could you actually meet to keep the R under one?’

“It depends very much on that person’s age, as well as all the other factors that we know are at risk.

“We keep talking about R above and below one, and I think just getting R below one is not enough, we should focus on getting it as low as possible, so I don’t think there’s a barrier that we ‘I would ever want to put on. “

Professor Ferguson retired as a government advisor in May after allowing a woman to visit his home despite the closure.

He previously told colleagues that the slow start of the freeze in Britain was one of the reasons it had the “worst or one of the worst” outbreaks in Europe, saying, “Infections in nursing homes and hospitals are coming back in the community, more often by the people who work in those institutions. So if you can keep infection rates down in those institutional settings, you are driving the infection lower in the community as a whole. “

He quit as a government advisor last month after letting a woman he saw go to his house despite the closure.


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