The UK government must act now to prevent a new “tsunami” of coronavirus cases and a repeat of the long months of lockdown which devastated the economy and damaged the NHS, according to a front-line intensive care doctor.
Dr Dominic Pimenta, who quit his job as a cardiologist in June in protest over Dominic Cummings’ lockdown-breaking car trips, said small but meaningful steps can limit the spread of the coronavirus while keeping people in their jobs and homes, a core objective of The Big Issue’s Ride Out the Recession Alliance.
“It’s a lot like a fire,” Pimenta told The Big Issue. “We all recognise the importance of stamping out a new fire as soon as possible. A small pan fire we can contain easily. A large burning kitchen is quite a different prospect.
“An early and short intervention is much better for the economy and the NHS than a late and long one.”
The UK faces 50,000 new cases of coronavirus each day by mid-October at the current rate of infection, according to the UK chief science adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who called for fresh action in a briefing on Monday.
With such poor testing this is likely the upper echelon of what we can actually see right now, but remains worryingly high.
Aggressive intervention now will protect the economy and NHS later. https://t.co/4BoCR504aF
— Dr Dominic Pimenta (@juniordrblog) September 15, 2020
With the national job retention scheme due to end in October and the eviction ban lifted, the UK faces a spike in unemployment, homelessness and new coronavirus cases as the winter sets in.
Acting now to limit the virus’ spread can protect both jobs and public health in the long term, agreed Dr Pimenta.
“If we are to prioritise keeping schools open as long as we can we then need to reduce all other vectors of infection as much as possible; restrict indoor interactions to just one other household, move restaurants and bar service outside or takeaway only, encourage as many as possible to return to work from home,” he said.
These measures should have been implemented “ideally, two weeks ago”, he added. New cases have been rising steadily since mid-August and passed 2,000 per day at the start of September.
No. This is completely the opposite of the truth.
Controlling the virus IS the only way to keep the economy open.
— Dr Dominic Pimenta (@juniordrblog) September 9, 2020
The economic impact of the pandemic has pushed the UK into a recession for the first time in 11 years, and figures collected by the BBC found that employers proposed making more than 300,000 redundancies in forms submitted to the government over the summer.
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