One of Britain's most experienced scientists, who has advised four Prime Ministers on health strategy, has condemned the government for unnecessarily increasing the Covid-19 death toll.
Sir David King, who has been a scientific advisor since 2000 and has worked with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May, says Boris Johnson got it "drastically wrong".
He said a week-long delay in the government's coronavirus action plan, which is in full swing, could have cost around 40,000 lives.
And he said the path the government took to begin the fight against the coronavirus should result in up to 250,000 deaths in the UK before changing direction.
Clinical staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the intensive care unit at Royal Papworth Hospital on May 5th
Sir David, who is now part of a group of independent scientists providing advice on the virus and was Ms. Clay's expert on climate change, said the UK went into lockdown too late.
He criticized the government for relying on "herd immunity" to fight the virus, then changing its course of action and relying on a poorly funded National Health Service.
Sir David King (pictured) who was a scientific advisor from 2000
If Britain had stuck to its initial "herd immunity" course, the total number of coronavirus deaths would have been between "200,000 and 250,000," he said.
He added, “There are approximately 12-15,000 people who have died because the National Health Service was unable to give them the emergency treatment they needed and normally would have received.
& # 39; The total number of deaths in the UK is around 55,000. If the government had acted to lock us in a week earlier, it would have been about a quarter of that number. & # 39;
Sir David served intermittently as a government advisor, the main term being from October 2000 to December 2007.
He was a scientific advisor to David Cameron, then advised the Federal Foreign Office and later worked for Ms. May in the field of climate change.
Sir David is also Professor of Physical Chemistry at Cambridge University.
He said Blair and Brown always followed his advice, and in 2006 a World Health Organization report warned of a global infectious disease outbreak and an operation began to prepare hospitals with PPE.
The intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge on May 5th. Sir David is also Professor of Physical Chemistry at Cambridge University
But in 2010, he said, austerity measures were introduced by the Cameron administration and continued under the current administration.
& # 39; The National Health Service was hit hard by these austerity measures. The lower funding meant that long-term problems were set aside to solve everyday problems.
So all of that process was put aside. We started chopping up the UK healthcare system.
“And we are still in the process of the government's announcement that it will revise the health system again.
He said Tony Blair and Gordon Brown always followed his advice, and in 2006 a World Health Organization report warned of a global infectious disease outbreak and an operation began to prepare hospitals with PPE. Pictured Mr. King (left) with Mr. Blair in 2001
When this outbreak occurred, there was one more group that had joined this major program in 2006. The World Health Organization was fully aware of this challenge for humanity.
When the Chinese published an extraordinarily good paper in The Lancet on January 23, the WHO went to work and published a report for each country in early February on what measures should be taken.
“We ignored that. The country in Europe that heeded this report was Greece, a country that had suffered very badly economically.
& # 39; Her income was down maybe 30 percent of GDP. Even so, in February the Greek government went to work to equip itself with all the equipment it needed in its hospitals to deal with the outbreak.
Serco employees working on behalf of NHS Test and Trace operate a coronavirus testing center in Stone, England on July 30th
At the time, they did not have the testing and traceability capacity to capture every case that would arise in the country.
When they went into lockdown in the week of March 4th, they did not have a single death and to date the total death toll in Greece is a little under 200.
"And in the UK we're approaching 50,000."
Sir David entered the debate on whether children should return to school next month on a podcast titled "Thoughts and Guides" by Jonathan Gabay.
He said: "The harm from children out of school is far greater than the potential risks from ingesting Covid-19.
“Children go to school and they pick up different colds and things, and that's how they build antibodies.
Royal Papworth Hospital on May 5th. If Britain had stuck to its original course of "herd immunity", the total number of coronavirus deaths would have been between 200,000 and 250,000, according to Sir David
“So mixing with other children is better for you in the long run. The most important thing for the country right now is to reopen schools and reopen them safely. & # 39;
He said the testing and tracking system needed to be stepped up so that any Covid-19 victim and their contacts could be isolated within 24 hours.
And he said people in isolation should be visited, not just monitored by phone calls, and called for "shoe leather" to become the norm.
He said pubs and restaurants shouldn't serve customers indoors because of the risk of exposed people spreading the virus.
He added, “There's no question that wearing a mask indoors is good. But outdoors, as long as you keep those three feet or two feet apart, you'll be fine.
“You should wear a mask wherever possible. & # 39;
He said it was possible the UK could see another spike.
He added, "Our leaders have done a drastically poor job to date."
He said localized track and trace should have been the norm with the GPs involved rather than the national surgery currently in use. & # 39;
He said doctors, nurses and the NHS were rightly "commended for a great job and that is the public sector at work".
Regarding Sweden on its herd immunity path, he added: “I believe that initially this government's policy was to follow herd immunity, although it denies it.
“Then it was abandoned when it became clear that with the disease quadrupling every week, we couldn't possibly make it. The number of deaths predicted at the time in the UK ranged from 200,000 to 250,000. & # 39;
He said he understood that the government was ignoring WHO advice on Covid-19 'because its stance was for developing countries and that was nonsense.
He added: “We did not act in time, we could have kept this disease at a very low level.
"We could have suffered a very small number of deaths and we could now talk about an economy that would have recovered."
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