Professor Carl Heneghan, director at The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, and British epidemiologist Dr Tom Jefferson have outlined four key issues the Prime Minister must address to curb the spread of the virus. Professor Heneghan and Dr Jefferson base their strategy to two key principles, the first being a lockdown does not work in the long term and only serves to “kick the can down the road”.
The second is to establish an end game to the virus which does not do “more damage than the virus itself”.
In their four-point plan presented to Boris Johnson more than a month ago, they said the Government needs to make radical changes to how COVID-19 is recorded with NHS Test and Trace, present clear statistics to the public, protect vulnerable groups and explain the quantifiable costs of lockdowns.
They argued if these four issues were solved then there would be “real hope that we can learn to live with the virus”.
On NHS Test and Trace, the experts said the system needs to go further than just delivering yes and no results.
They said it needs to determine how much of the virus each person has contracted, but also take into consideration what age and symptoms each individual has.
In a joint opinion piece in the Daily Mail, Professor Heneghan and Dr Jefferson said: “The results make no distinction between an eight-year-old who is less likely to transmit the virus and a 75-year-old who could prove highly infectious and is in personal danger, especially if suffering multiple health problems.”
They added: “If your levels of virus are low, then the chances of passing it on are also low.
“Then we must target the tests at those who truly need them.
Finally, Professor Heneghan and Dr Jefferson called for a “measured discussion” about the pros and cons of lockdown and provide a roadmap for the future.
They said: “Otherwise, there can be no clear way forward. People are confused, fatigued and starting to understand that crude restrictions targeting the whole of society – irrespective of risk – are counterproductive.”
They added: “It is time to listen to the public and establish a dialogue.
“It is time to cut through the confusion with a clear vision and a national plan that goes beyond the blunt tool of lockdown to take us through the coming months.”