Scientists condemn UK ‘dangerous and unethical’ reopening plans

By Maggie Fox, CNN

Calling it a “dangerous and unethical experiment,” more than 4,000 scientists, doctors, nurses and other professionals signed a letter published on Wednesday condemning the UK government’s plans to drop most anti-HIV measures. pandemic on Monday July 19.

“We believe this decision is dangerous and premature,” they wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.

“The UK government must reconsider its current strategy and take urgent action to protect the public, including children. We believe the government is embarking on a dangerous and unethical experiment, and we call on it to suspend its plans to abandon mitigation measures on July 19, 2021, ”they added.

“Instead, the government should delay the full reopening until everyone, including adolescents, have been offered the vaccination and the recourse is high, and until measures are taken. mitigation, especially adequate ventilation and spacing, are in place in schools. Until then, public health measures must include those recommended by the WHO (wearing the universal mask in indoor spaces, even for vaccinated people) “, they wrote.

The letter, initially signed by a few dozen researchers, now has more than 4,200 signatures online.

“The government has made a deliberate choice to expose children to massive infection, rather than protecting them in schools or immunizing them,” said Dr Deepti Gurdasani, epidemiologist at Queen Mary University, who organized the letter.

“It is unethical and unacceptable. Our young people have already suffered so much last year, and are now doomed to suffer the consequences of this dangerous experience.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the restrictions would be lifted earlier this month, calling the 19th ‘Freedom Day’ and asking: ‘If we can’t open in the next few weeks … then when can we? ? “

“Contrary to statements by government scientists, there is no scientific consensus on the government’s current plans to remove protection warrants on July 19. Instead, there is deep disagreement,” the Minister said. Lancet editor-in-chief Dr Richard Horton in a statement.

“Many scientists are sincerely concerned that with suboptimal double immunization numbers and rapidly increasing transmission rates, we are at a very dangerous time in the pandemic. The removal of the warrants on July 19 will not only accelerate the transmission of the virus, with a substantial increase in the levels of acute illness, hospitalization and lengthy COVID, but will also create the conditions for the emergence of new variants that could escape the virus. vaccine protection. “

Dr Eric Topol, an outspoken cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Unit in La Jolla, Calif., Also signed the letter. “The sharp increase in cases of Delta variants in the UK will not only lead to a longer Covid, but has also already resulted in more serious illness, with hospitalizations and deaths. Taking more time to further improve vaccination rates should help reduce the toll of this super-spreading strain, ”Topol said in a statement.

The British Medical Association has also opposed the plans.

According to the British government, 86.4% of residents have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 64.6% are fully vaccinated.

More than 32,000 new infections were reported on Wednesday, with a sharp increase in new cases reported for July.

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