Health & Wellbeing

England lifting all COVID-19 restrictions labeled an “unethical experiment”

England lifting all COVID-19 r...
As England celebrates its so-called "Freedom Day", lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, scientists are calling the move dangerous and premature
As England celebrates its so-called "Freedom Day", lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, scientists are calling the move dangerous and premature
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As England celebrates its so-called "Freedom Day", lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, scientists are calling the move dangerous and premature
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As England celebrates its so-called "Freedom Day", lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, scientists are calling the move dangerous and premature

As England moves to remove virtually all pandemic-related protective measures experts are warning the decision is “a dangerous and unethical experiment” that could not only put the health of millions of unvaccinated citizens at risk, but provides fertile ground for the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

As of Monday July 19 there are almost no legal restrictions on behavior in England. After months of lockdown and social contact limits, there are now no restrictions to businesses. Nightclubs, cinemas, and restaurants all return to full capacity; mask mandates have been removed; those working from home are able to gradually return to the office; and there are no social distancing limits.

"If we don't do it now we've got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it?"prime minister Boris Johnson said in a video message posted to Twitter.

An open letter published early July in The Lancet expressed concerns the complete removal of pandemic restrictions are dangerous, premature, and will leave millions of unvaccinated individuals susceptible to death or long-term illness. The letter, co-signed by hundreds of scientists, lays out several primary problems with the move to lift all restrictions.

With little more than 50 percent of the UK population fully vaccinated, the letter points to the more than 17 million people still with no protection from COVID-19. As children in the country are still unvaccinated, and the data on long COVID still very much uncertain, it is argued that “this strategy risks creating a generation left with chronic health problems and disability, the personal and economic impacts of which might be felt for decades to come.”

The scientists also warn this broad lifting of restrictions “provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants.” They also note increased cases will inevitably put pressure on hospital systems, “at a time when millions of people are waiting for medical procedures and routine care.”

The UK is currently recording around 50,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. This is close to the caseload peak seen in early January as the region suffered through its devastating winter wave. Unlike that period, which led to over 1,000 deaths per day, the current level of population-wide vaccination is limiting mortality. However, hospitalizations are rising with rates increasing ten-fold over the past month.

Neil Ferguson, from the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), estimates the lifting of restrictions will lead to at least 100,000 new cases a day and 1,000 new hospital admissions a day. Ferguson, whose modeling was key to understanding the progression of SARS-CoV-2 in the early stages of 2020, says the big unknown is how high the caseload could rise over the coming weeks and months.

“And that’s where the crystal ball starts to fail,” Ferguson said recently. “I mean, we could get to 2,000 hospitalizations a day, 200,000 cases a day – but it’s much less certain.”

Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergency program, did not mince words when asked recently about the England's move to lift all restrictions. He said it was dangerous to assume current vaccination rates would prevent hospitalizations and death.

“The idea that everyone is protected and it’s ‘kum-ba-ya’ and it can go back to normal, is a very dangerous assumption,” said Ryan. “The logic of more people being infected is better, is, I think, logic that has proven it’s moral emptiness and epidemiological stupidity previously.”

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, was just as frank in his criticism of the dropping of UK COVID-19 restrictions. Horton says what is about to happen in England is not an experiment, because experiments are designed to test a hypothesis or make a discovery. In this instance, Horton says, it is clear what will happen if these restrictions are broadly removed.

“We know there will be an increase in infection. That’s not an experimental hypothesis to test. We know that hospitalizations are going up. We know that there will be an epidemic of long COVID. And we know that we’re creating risks for new variants,” says Horton.

7 comments
7 comments
David
The computer model used by SAGE has been proven by independent analysts to be a piece of garbage. Why is the UK still using it and why is the UK's rudderless Government still allowing itself to be bullied by the country's plague of quangocrats?
paul314
I wonder whether the folks in charge consider themselves fully protected, even though there is a substantial rate of breakthrough infections, especially under high-exposure conditions.
akarp
“unethical experiment” LOL
Since when is life and living an “unethical experiment”???
Aross
Just another example where the wants of industry far out way the needs of the general population in the eyes of government. We have seen time and again where these decisions are wrong and impact the lives and health of the general populations.
mystixa
Yea its pretty much proof that modern western nations just don't have the guts to actually solve problems. They just want to get back to business as usual and have people die while ignoring the problem. Its not an experiment, its a calculation. That thousands of people's lives are worth throwing away as long as Boris gets to look like he solved something without having done anything.
Oirinth
Its taken idiots who value there personal freedom over others welfare, journalists pushing for a controversial story and politicians who prefer to condemn and criticize (while not offering any solutions) to get to this point.

Based on the governments own figures (see the BBC for published figures) the previous easing of coronavirus restrictions was too early and continuing to lift the remaining restrictions may save some businesses but is already costing lives
fen
He has no choice, people like Jeremy Clarkson and other Celebs, are voicing an opinion of "well I didn't want brexit, but... we got our vaccines". But the truth is every country around the UK is out pacing them for vaccines now and if it was to go to 100% vaccination, they would all get there before the UK. So Boris has done the maths, people will die, but it will get him the next headline "England first out of lockdown in Europe". Couple it with the "We got vaccinated first" and well you get the idea. For him its better than "We started off vacinating fast but the rest of the EU caught up to us and got done first, and by the way 10 million of you cant visit EU now because we bought dodgy vaccines from abroad, and also by the way again, the EU got out of lockdown before us"

The British Public because of the press, believe that the intial burst of vaccines by the UK could not have happened inside the EU, its debatable, but one things for sure, they would have been questioned about buying vaccines from countries/factories not EU approved. (probably would have done it anyway, UK did whatever it wanted in the EU anyway).