Western Morning News

Why not exit strategy for under-40s?


CONTRARY to Daniel Finklestei­n’s analysis in The Times, “Truth about virus is better for us than hope” (Comment, April 22), there is a qualitativ­e and quantitati­ve difference between where we all are at the very beginning of the Covid crisis, and now somewhat further on in the beginning phase.

That is, we have more data. If tragically 150,000 plus have died worldwide with around 18,000 of those in the UK, all their profiles, ages, genders, and other health indication­s can be analysed with a view to guiding decisions about the lockdown. Hence we benefit from living in the computer age and can put our finger on all this informatio­n relatively quickly and can also update it daily.

From the analysis to date, it would seem that 90% of those dying in the UK alone, for example, are aged over 60 and those dying under the age of 45 are very few and amount to statistica­l outliers.

So would it not be reasonable to have an exit strategy that says the under-40s, with no significan­t underlying health condition, can go back to work in the first phase, subject to strict hygiene practices and social distancing as much as possible.

Because, whilst this group will circulate and transmissi­on of the virus will increase, they are nonetheles­s very unlikely to die of the disease.

If phase one works well, then phase two could be for those aged 40 to 60, say three months down the line. Then six months down the line if this phase went reasonably well, then eventually the over-60s could be allowed more freedom but only if stages one and two succeeded. If they don’t succeed as expected, then phases one and two would have to go into reverse.

The question of children and young people going back to school and college would have to be addressed separately.

No-one of any age should be under great pressure from the government or their employers to go back to work, but they should be allowed to if they felt they could, subject to the practice of extreme hygiene conditions, as previously prescribed by the medical authoritie­s.

Elizabeth Smith Woodmancot­e, Glos

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