Responding to reports that Government will announce a move back into lockdown, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said:
“We are all fatigued by this virus and weary of adjusting our lives around COVID-19, but I believe we have no other choice than to move back into a national lockdown. All of the evidence points towards this being the only step we can take together to prevent the high number of deaths predicted.
“A national lockdown will buy us some time to get back on track and bring the R number down. It will not be a complete fix, but it is a crucial way for us to regain control, regroup and develop further interventions.
“This second wave will be harder for many reasons – there are the feelings of déjà vu and despair which are compounded by the other challenges the winter months bring, such as dark nights and more time indoors. Each action we take to minimise the transmission of COVID-19 will help us all in the short and long term.
“We can get through a second wave by working together – young and old, North and South, families and workplaces. I urge everyone to remember how grave the COVID-19 health risk is and to take any new measures seriously. We all have a part to play in protecting our society. Compliance with current measures has fallen and understandably there has been confusion following the frequent changes. Decisions to abide by the new measures should transcend politics and focus on protecting lives and safeguarding the NHS. We must bring people along with us and develop interventions and public health messages with communities to create the best environment for support and maximum national effort.
“In The Academy of Medical Sciences July report, Preparing for a Challenging Winter 2020/21, we warned that winter conditions and the reduction in restrictions over the summer could lead to a severe second wave which could be worse than the first. Regrettably, we have not maintained the suppression of the virus over the summer and the second wave is now upon us earlier than we anticipated and at this stage it is of a magnitude similar to our worst case scenario.”
For more information about our report, Preparing for a Challenging Winter 2020/21, visit this page