Thursday, 30 April 2020

Over-50s should be kept in coronavirus lockdown for longer

Keeping the over-50s in isolation longer and requiring people to prove their age when out and about is 'the safest way out of lockdown', researchers claim.

A Warwick University study found that a 'rolling age-release strategy' was the best option to end the lockdown introduced to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The strategy proposed by researchers is based on the fact that death rates from COVID-19 among 50-year-olds are 20 times higher than deaths among 20-year-olds. 

Study authors wrote that that police officers would have to be given the power to fine those caught breaking the age rule to ensure it was followed.

In an extreme example - set out by the study authors, based on Chinese data - they say releasing over-50s early without a vaccine could see 40,000 extra people die. 

In the study 'Age, death risk and the design of an exit strategy', the Warwick researchers shared five benefits of basing the end of lockdown on age. 

They say an age-based release recognises that 'we cannot wait indefinitely to reopen the economy' and is the 'safest way to do so before a vaccine is available'. 

Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at Warwick, said people older than 50 'do not realise the danger they are about to be in'.

'Our age-risk graphs need to be understood by everyone. They show very clearly that younger people are at far less risk of dying from COVID-19 than older citizens.

'Any lockdown release policy that does not design itself around this "age gradient" in human coronavirus risk will have dangerous consequences,' Oswald said. 


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