'No evidence of second wave' says Oxford professor as he warns Britain 'can't afford harsh lockdown'

BRITAIN cannot afford a harsh lockdown because there is no evidence of a second wave, a top professor said today.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director for the centre of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, said the UK must “slow down” because we will have a “long winter”.

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He also said there is “no evidence of a second wave” and said now is not the time to introduce restrictive measures.

His comments come as Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged Brits to snitch on their neighbours who flout new rules – before admitting he would report them himself.

Professor Heneghan told Sky News the UK cannot afford to introduce “harsh measures” immediately to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He warned the virus "tends to come back" when you shut everything down and then open it all up again.

The expert urged the country to remain vigilant so that the infections “stay manageable” across the board.

It comes as:

  • PM to unveil £10k fines for Brits who defy orders to stay at home
  • Rishi Sunak plans to freeze benefits to battle covid cost
  • Shops hit by increased demand – fuelling panic buying fears
  • Sadiq Khan warns London needs a new lockdown by MONDAY
  • UK coronavirus cases rise by 4,422 in biggest rise for 19 weeks

He said: “What we have to do now is slow down, this is a long winter.”

 “What we’re seeing is that the virus is operating in a seasonal way.

“As we’ve gone back to schools, actually what’s happened now is we’ve seen about a 60% increase in consultations for all the acute respiratory infections and that’s what’s driving the problems in the Test and Trace programme.

“All the young children who have coughs and colds and these infections, one is called rhinovirus.

“As we look at the data, Covid is operating in a similar seasonal way, and mirroring those respiratory infections, so what we have to do now is slow down, this is a long winter.

There’s no evidence right now of what’s called a second wave."

“We can’t afford to go now with harsh measures – the impact on the economy here is going to be significant.

“What happens is as soon as you pause and then open up again, it tends to come back.

“We still have to be vigilant about ensuring the infections stay manageable across the board.”

He added: “There’s no evidence right now of what’s called a second wave.”

Asked if Prime Minister Boris Johnson was wrong in that assertion, he added: “I get for our ministers this is an incredibly complicated area, some of the issues we’re talking about require five or six years of healthcare experience to really get your head around.

“This is about good advice, to the Prime Minister, to the Health Secretary, that allows a wider range of expertise to come on board, and if they did that they might look at the problem slightly differently.

“I think over the next few weeks if we can see a slower, analytical approach to the data, and a different approach to the advice, the Prime Minister might see a subtle change in his language that reflects a need to normalise what’s going on.

“This is a seasonal effect now, if it becomes worse and it impacts on disease, then, yes, that’s the point when we have restrictive measures, but that time is not now.”

“If he doesn’t tackle it now, it will be out of control with devastating repercussions.”




 

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