DAILY MAIL |The UK’s chief scientific adviser has revealed that around 40million people could be left to catch the coronavirus as part of a controversial Government plan for the country to develop herd immunity.
Sir Patrick Vallance said around 60 per cent of the population will need to catch the virus to build up a national tolerance strong enough to stop the virus circulating.
Chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, did not say how many people could die during the time this takes to work, but the current global death rate – around three per cent – suggests it could be 1.2million people in a worst-case scenario.
But officials expect it to be considerably lower – Professor Whitty said even one per cent – 400,000 people – would be an overestimate.
The Government is now aiming to control the speed of the UK’s epidemic and predicts the worst of it could come in around 12 weeks’ time – mid-June – suggesting it could taper off to levels similar to the current situation by September.
It will attempt to slow down the spread by gradually introducing stricter measures, such as potentially banning large gatherings or closing schools in future, as the outbreak speeds up.
Sir Patrick admitted trying to stop the virus completely would be more dangerous in the long run.
He said: ‘All of the evidence from previous epidemics suggests that when you do that and then you release it, it all comes back again… this is to make sure we don’t end up with a sudden peak again in the winter, which is even larger, which causes even more problems.’