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Dr. ELLIE CANNON: It’s time to give young people back their freedom

Among the many suggestions that have emerged to curb the rising number of corona cases, one has sparked particular outrage: that the lockdown for over 50s should be restored.

Older Britons would again sacrifice their freedom while the young returned to normal life. The proposal was considered an ‘ageist’, but it is not only politicians who argue about it.

Scientists are now suggesting the same thing, with some insisting that even those in their 40s should be subject to stricter rules – after all, they’re at least twice as likely as those in their 20s to end up in the hospital if they contract the virus.

Dr. Ellie Cannon, pictured, believes that people like her, aged 43 and over, should be willing to accept additional restrictions on their lifestyle during the Covid-19 pandemic to give the younger generation extra freedom

Dr. Ellie Cannon, pictured, believes that people like her, aged 43 and over, should be willing to accept additional restrictions on their lifestyle during the Covid-19 pandemic to give the younger generation extra freedom

And as a 43-year-old, you might be surprised to learn that I’m all for it. It would be a bitter pill to swallow, but listen to me.

The government’s method of curbing local outbreaks – locking up entire regions, closing businesses and destroying livelihoods – poses a much greater risk to the vast majority of people than that of the virus itself.

The list of communities in limbo is growing: areas in North Wales and Leicester, in June; Peterborough, Luton, Northampton, Manchester, Bradford and other areas in the northwest from last month and now Aberdeen.

More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday …

It makes patients more reluctant to visit their GP for serious health problems and it denies vulnerable children essential care.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 12,000 more people than usual have died of non-Covid diseases in recent months, due to lack of care and fear of healthcare facilities.

In late July, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty spoke of “ trade-offs ” to come: closing pubs across Britain to open schools in September, which is an absolute priority in the eyes of every right-minded person.

But yet another blanket ban like this one is neither fair nor necessary. You see, Covid-19 has an amazing association with age – it has been said over and over.

From the age of about 50, the risk starts to increase exponentially. Data now shows that about half of all corona deaths occur in the over-75s. Another quarter is among 65 to 74 year olds. And 22 percent of deaths are under ten years younger.

From the age of about 50, the risk starts to increase exponentially. Data now shows that about half of all corona deaths occur in the over-75s. Another quarter is among 65 to 74 year olds. And 22 percent of deaths are under ten years younger

From the age of about 50, the risk starts to increase exponentially. Data now shows that about half of all corona deaths occur in the over-75s. Another quarter is among 65 to 74 year olds. And 22 percent of deaths are under ten years younger

From the age of about 50, the risk starts to increase exponentially. Data now shows that about half of all corona deaths occur in the over-75s. Another quarter is among 65 to 74 year olds. And 22 percent of deaths are under ten years younger

But under this age, the chances of being badly affected – or affected at all – by Covid-19 are smaller. As a leading statistician said recently, if you are a 35-year-old woman, you are much more likely to die if you are hit by a bus than if you are hit by the coronavirus.

The young have virtually nothing to fear from the virus itself. So why would people under 40 put their lives on hold any longer?

Many believe that it is older people who have had to make the greatest sacrifices to date and behave in the most responsible way. ‘Selfish’ youth – on the other hand – went too far in relaxing restrictions by frolicking up close in parks, on the beach and in pub gardens.

And this, some say, ruined it for the rest of us.

“Stop ignoring the social distancing rules first,” barked 87-year-old broadcast veteran Joan Bakewell, pretty much a widely held view I’ve seen endlessly on social media.

“They know they should, they’ve been told they should, but they can’t be disturbed.” She added, ‘I’ve been in isolation for 115 days, and it’s hard. To do it again may be too much pressure. ‘

The foreclosure measures were, of course, devastating for many of Britain’s older, vulnerable adults, leaving them desperately isolated. But young people have not had an easy time either. The closure of schools and universities in March was a panic move as we feared a tidal wave from Covid-19 would come.

There were so many unknown variables back then that it was considered the safest option.

There is now ample evidence to show that school closures actually pose far more risks to our young people than benefits in lives saved.

If you are a 35 year old woman you are much more likely to die from being hit by a bus than from coronavirus

If you are a 35 year old woman you are much more likely to die from being hit by a bus than from coronavirus

If you are a 35 year old woman you are much more likely to die from being hit by a bus than from coronavirus

And despite the assumption that the young will pass on Covid-19 to the elderly, the evidence says otherwise.

Those under 20 are now believed to be half as prone to catching even Covid-19 as any other group. When clusters of the disease are discovered, it is almost always adults who give the virus to other adults or children. Those kids suffer from mild illness, if at all. According to studies, children only transmit the virus to adults in about 10 percent of cases. And, surprisingly, children who are in close contact rarely seem to give it to each other.

Likewise, there have been almost no recorded cases of children transmitting the virus to their teachers at school. In fact, experts believe that school closures had a fairly negligible impact in reducing the scale of the pandemic.

Perhaps we should look at the Dutch, for example: in the Netherlands, schools and childcare will be fully open again at the beginning of June. But there are no reports of coronavirus clusters related to this decision.

The young have virtually nothing to fear from the virus itself. So why would people under 40 put their lives on hold any longer?

The young have virtually nothing to fear from the virus itself. So why would people under 40 put their lives on hold any longer?

The young have virtually nothing to fear from the virus itself. So why would people under 40 put their lives on hold any longer?

Other studies have suggested that the virus is generally transmitted between people of the same age simply because we have closer contact with people our own age. So the suggestion that people in their twenties mixing in parks will cause older, vulnerable people to catch it and die is not based on truth.

And when so-called super-spreading hot spots have been discovered over the past month, associated with younger adults mingling in workplaces or pubs, there has been no concomitant increase in serious illness. This is because, I think, the under-40s just don’t get that sick.

As for the assumption that young people are careless, selfish and irresponsible, I have not found this to be true. Aside from the odd illegal gathering in a park, most of the young people I have come into contact with have been very vigilant about distance measures and concerned about older parents and grandparents. And age-specific lockdowns would, in the long run, benefit everyone of all ages.

The Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton, suggested in a recent editorial that letting them under 40 freely mix and, harmlessly, contract the virus, make them immune – and natural immunity, virologists say, is always stronger than whatever. by a vaccine. This would ultimately lead to less transmission among the wider population.

So how exactly would it work? Well, when outbreaks occur, people over 65 can track stay-at-home orders, while 40-64 year olds can fill out a simple Covid-19 risk calculator, which gives a personal score based on overall health, and make a decision accordingly.

A buzz phrase – zero-Covid policy – has emerged in recent weeks. It is the idea that countries should push for total elimination of the virus.

Some experts say it is possible, but most agree that the measures required to achieve it would be extreme. And since the illness is certainly no worse than the flu in most people, it may not be necessary.

When a vaccine arrives, the vulnerable are given an option. Until then, it makes sense that these groups should take good care not to get the virus.

Children, teens and young people are often accused of being selfish, but I believe this pandemic has shown them to be anything but. They sacrificed months of their lives, their education, and their future to protect older generations from Covid-19.

And now I think it’s time to return the favor.

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