AS COVID LETS RIP
12ALARM SAGE expert slams Tories for ‘shut your eyes’ policy
EXCLUSIVE BY GRAEME CULLIFORD COVID could cripple Britain yet again because of the Tories’ “shut your eyes and let it rip” approach, a health adviser warns.
Susan Michie is calling for urgent action to stop huge numbers of deaths and hospitalisations as infectious variants blitz the UK.
But she fears the makeshift Cabinet will continue to sit on its hands as cases head towards 350,000 a day. Some 2.7 million Brits are currently infected, with one in 16 hit in some areas.
SAGE adviser Ms Michie, the Professor of Health Psychology at University College London, said: “We
don’t have a public health policy for Covid and if we don’t act, we’ll get variants even more infectious. These will lead to increased hospitalisations and deaths. The country will be continuously disrupted, with some sectors in danger of grinding to a standstill in the autumn.
“We’ve seen transport problems, events cancelled, workplaces limping along with staff shortages…
“We need to suppress it right down before winter, when there is concern there will be a flu outbreak. Government policy seems to be, ‘Shut your eyes and let it rip’, but the NHS is on its knees. Health experts, SAGE and Independent SAGE have been predicting this since last July, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.”
Ms Michie says there should be better ventilation and air filtration in schools and public buildings, the return of free Covid tests and renewed emphasis on socialising outdoors and wearing masks indoors.
It comes as rail operators warn services could be axed, GPs issue “red alerts”, one in 15 teachers are off and the British Chambers of Commerce calls for a new business loan scheme.
Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “Rising hospitalisations are of real concern to NHS leaders. The NHS is already strained, understaffed and under pressure.”