As we edge closer into winter concerns around the UK’s current Covid rates of infection and number of daily deaths loom.
The government is currently sticking with its plan A of relying on the Covid vaccines and booster jabs to curb the number of infections. However, last month, hospital and doctors’ leaders urged ministers to move to plan B – compulsory mask-wearing, Covid passes for crowded events and working from home – to avert a looming disaster for the NHS.
Ministers have dismissed the idea of bringing in plan B for now, while Boris Johnson, speaking at the G20 summit in Rome, said there was “no evidence whatever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards.” So where does that leave us and what precautions should we be taking individually this winter to reduce the risk of catching Covid?
To answer these questions and to examine why the government is taking its current approach, The Independent is hosting an expert panel to explore the UK’s Covid strategy.
Our science correspondent Samuel Lovett will be hosting the discussion and will be joined by experts in both medicine and science to help explain the current situation, what we can be doing ourselves and what the immediate future might hold for us as we move into winter.
Samuel will be joined by the following experts:
- Irene Petersen, Professor of Epidemiology and Health Informatics at UCL, London
- Peter English, Retired Consultant in Communicable Disease Control and former chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee
- Simon Hodes, a GP in Watford in a large practice (31,000 patients) which has recently been awarded local Practice of the Year. He has been seeing patients face to face throughout the pandemic, and his practice was a first wave vaccine site.
Simon also helped to set up a nationwide group of more than 800 GP volunteers in a bid to support the NHS 111 service and ambulance service during Covid, and has helped produce various flowcharts with local colleagues which have been widely shared. You can find out more about his work on Twitter @DrSimonHodes.
The expert panel ‘Is the UK’s strategy against Covid the right one?’ will take place on 25 November at 1pm and last for 45mins.
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