The British prime minister has never been known so seriously. As Boris Johnson Explaining to the British on Thursday the government's strategy for dealing with the corona virus, he was transformed, no trace of his otherwise typical jokes. Accompanied by government chief scientific advisor and former head of research at GlaxoSmithKline, Patrick Vallance, and government medical advisor Professor Chris Whitty, Johnson explained the brutal reality of the Sars CoV-2 epidemic.
"This is not normal flu here, it is the worst health crisis we are experiencing in this generation," warned Johnson. The epidemic will hit the UK with full force. The country is only four weeks behind Italy. That a large part of the population deals with the virus infected, could no longer be prevented. "We will have to prepare for the fact that many more families will lose loved ones prematurely," said Johnson, visibly affected.
The climax of the epidemic will be in Great Britain occur in about 12 to 16 weeks, i.e. May to June. "It is now no longer possible to prevent almost everyone from contracting the disease," said Vallance. "That's not what you want, either. After all, the population should build immunity to the virus." The scientist said that the majority of the cases are relatively mild, but some of the illnesses are difficult and even fatal.
Delay the epidemic
By Friday afternoon, the UK had been proven to have 798 people infected – up from 590 24 hours earlier. Ten patients have died, health officials say. Vallance said on Thursday that the number of infected people in the country is estimated to be between 5,000 and 10,000, and the number is rising. If the epidemic unfolds in the next few weeks, the number of illnesses will increase dramatically.
In contrast to China, the British government wants to consciously let the British population fall ill with the virus, so that the population builds up immunity against the new virus in the long term. If the population is locked up at home for only a few weeks, nothing will be gained, said Vallance. On the contrary: as soon as the quarantine the virus has broken out again. The epidemic must be managed in such a way that the population can be smuggled in without the health system collapsing. The toughest calls to the population to stay at home came at the height of the epidemic and not now.
Hence the strategy of the British government: The epidemic should initially be delayed so that capacity can be built up in the health system and the epidemic culminates in early summer, when the health system is less affected by the high number of conventional flu diseases that occur in winter.
At the same time, the course of the epidemic should be stretched so that the health system can cope with the respective number of serious illnesses. The government confirmed what Chancellor Angela Merkel had already said: If in doubt, up to 80 percent of the population can fall ill. The risk of infection was highest in the few days after the onset of the first mild symptoms.
Johnson explained that it would be pointless to send the population into quarantine too soon, only to be so frustrated after a few weeks that fewer and fewer people would stick to self-isolation and go back on the streets when the climax reached Epidemic has been reached. The British government therefore plans to gradually announce harsher measures. In order to delay the wave of infection, every person who has a cough and / or fever should stay at home for seven days, not go to the doctor and not call the already overloaded emergency service.