Whitty says UK pandemic is ‘problem for us all’

Whitty on households mixing: If we don’t change course we’ll be in difficult problem

Prof Whitty says the mortality rate will be slightly reduced this autumn and winter because treatment is better now – but there will still be many deaths.

He also talks about the decisions that ministers will have to take – balancing the impact on the economy with the danger of the virus.

“If we do too little, this virus will go out of control,” he said.

But if we go too far the other way we can cause damage to the economy, he says, which will have its own long-term health effects.

Prof Whitty says it is important to have these two sides in mind when taking decisions.

He talks about four things that can be done to combat the virus:

  • Reduce your individual risk by washing your hands
  • Self-isolate if you have symptoms
  • Break unnecessary links between households because that is the way the virus is transmitted. “We have to try and do this in the least damaging way,” says Prof Whitty – but he acknowledges there are some “significant downsides”
  • The science – such as diagnostics and vaccines

On the third point – which suggests limiting contact between households – Prof Whitty warns that if we do not change course we are going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem.

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