Reply To: Corona virus: Government takes the St Augustine approach.

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The Governments idea that we can achieve control through letting the virus rip through the population is an insane experiment based on a faulty model. The Government and its advisers imply that they know that a solid immunity will develop in a population if faced with less serious diseases that do not kill or cause severe illness, such as say the common cold and in time enough in the population will become immune, producing a ‘herd immunity’ thereby lessening the transmission of the disease through reduction of the susceptible population because those exposed will become immune. Herd immunity is also the way by which mass vaccinations work but again to be effective, high rates of vaccination have to be achieved to reduce general transmission of the disease for people who are not vaccinated for a variety of level. This level is thought to be in excess of 90%. In populations naïve to diseases, even though they do not kill many in non-naïve populations, the effects of a disease such as measles can be devastating such as seen after the introduction of measles in the Polynesian Island of Rotuma in 1911.

So, the suggestions of Johnson’s scientific and medical advisers are flawed for the following reasons:
1. We do not have enough knowledge about the development of immunity to the Corona virus Covid-19 yet and how lasting is this immunity.
2. The Government’s scientific advice is based on a model of exposure of between 60-80% the population. This is insufficient to develop a protective ‘herd immunity’ even if the higher figure of subjects exposed is taken.

3. The herd immunity will not protect those who have been locked out in protective isolation when they come out of this isolation as it is known that the virus can be carried by a proportion of individuals especially children, with few or no symptoms. In other words, the virus will be contained but not eradicated and those isolated during the protective period will not be immune.
4. The point 3 above also applies to the 20-40% of those who may remain uninfected by the first round of virus.
5. The fatality rate estimated on the data available so far for Covid-19 according to age is:
• 80+ 14.8%
• 70–79 years old: 8.00%
• 60–69 years old: 3.60%
• 50–59 years old: 1.30%
• 40–49 years old: 0.40%
• 30–39 years old: 0.20%
• 20–29 years old: 0.20%
• 10–19 years old: 0.20%
• 0–9 years old: 0.00%

6. The UK population in the last census was about 68,000,000. 22% of the UK population is aged 60 years or more this breaks down as follows:
60-69 10.8% 7.34 million estimated mortality if all infected 264,000
70-79 7.1 4.8 million estimated mortality if all infected 384,000‬
80+ 4.6 3.128 million estimated mortality if all infected 463,000
Source for percentage age groups

If we look at the other age groups, we can extrapolate the following:
Age % of Pop Number Mortality rate possible deaths
50-59 12.1% 8.228 million 1.3% 106,964
40-49 14.9% 10.132 million 0.4% 40,500
30-39 21.2% 14.28 million 0.2% 28,560‬
18-29 16.2% 11.016‬ million 0.2% 22,000
10-17 9.5% 6.46 million 0.2% 12,900
0-9 11.7 No mortality recorded
Worse case scenario total mortality will be 1,324 million
Estimated mortality below 60 years is 240,000

So even the total mortality of those below the age of 60 years is considerable, not to mention the major morbidity and the strain on the health service which may increase these figures further. I urge the government to consider the current position and to change it according to advice from sources such a the WHO. I also would like to see a wider debate within the medical and scientific community and a full discussion of the data by which the Government has reached the conclusion it has.