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UK Scientist: Due to Covid-19, a substantial degree of mortality inevitable in future

Sage professor says death toll will reduce over time and life will ‘get back to normal

A member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), Prof Andrew Hayward, said the society will live with a substantial degree of mortality but will get back to normal.

UK Scientist and Covid-19 : a substantial degree of mortality inevitable in future

He explained, “I think, you know, given the societal trade-offs, we are going to have to live with a degree of mortality that will be substantial. It will get less over time as more people get vaccinated and as more people get immune, and I do believe that we’ve been through the worst of this.” Hayward thought that new variants of Covid-19 would not completely evade vaccine-related immunity. The vaccines will still take the sting out of it and reduce the case fatality rates.

He also added that we have technology that can update the vaccine. That’s where we are going. Looking back on the beginning of the pandemic, Hayward thought one of the reasons that we’ve had so many deaths is that we left things far too late, in terms of taking more restrictive measures. “By the time you start to see major increases in deaths then it was too late to take action, and hence the levels got extraordinarily high before we took effective action, and it took a long, long time for them to go back down again.”

We should have been taking social distancing measures – if not a full lockdown then other measures that were trying to separate people – much earlier. At that time, of course, we also didn’t really have the same mechanisms to measure how many diseases there was in the community, so we were largely only seeing the tip of the iceberg of cases,” added Hayward.

A man who also works as a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at UCL thought there was contradictory advice. There was some advice if you go too early then people will get tired of it, but it did seem to be fairly certain that we would need to do something like that at some stage. He thought the timing of it was something that they were getting conflicting advice on.

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