According to researchers at the University of Warwick, the best way out of the lockdown is social distancing combined with a “rolling-age release strategy”. Under the recommendations, the rules could be relaxed earlier for younger people.
The recommendations are based on the widely publicised data which shows that risk of dying from the coronavirus increases with age, with those over age 70 the most vulnerable. Age 50 marks the point at which the risk of dying rises more steeply. Under age 50 it is less than 0.5% but for over 50s the rate rises to 1.3% and then 3.6% for the over 60s. At age 70 the risk has increased to 8%.
With infections in 50-year-old’s now 20 times more likely to result in a fatality than for a 20-year-old, the report suggests older people should be kept in lockdown for longer.
The Government has not yet indicated that this type of policy might be implemented, and is focusing on its 5 tests that must have been passed or almost passed before lockdown can be lifted. The 5 tests are:
- “We must protect the NHS’ ability to cope. We must be confident we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.”
- “We need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate from coronavirus so we can be confident we have moved beyond the peak.”
- We need to have reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.”
- “We need to be confident that the range of operational challenges including testing capacity and PPE are in hand with supply able to meet future demand.”
- “We need to be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS.”
Meanwhile The Telegraph has reported on a review of evidence from the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH) which found little evidence of children passing the coronavirus to adults. This is supported by contact tracing carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which also could not find a case of a child under age 10 having passed on the virus.
So while it remains important to stick to the current rules and keep following Government advice, perhaps the opportunity to see and hug grandchildren may not be so far away, even if the over 50s remain in lockdown for longer than the rest of the population.