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REALITY CHECK

Coronavirus is a ‘nasty infection’ that ‘simply brought deaths forward by a few weeks’, says Govt advisor

A GOVERNMENT advisor has said that coronavirus is a "nasty infection" that "simply brought deaths forward by a few weeks".

Eminent sociology Professor Robert Dingwall called for a "sense of proportion" over the virus which has claimed over 46,000 lives in the UK.

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Robert Dingwall has said that coronavirus is a "nasty infection' that "simply brought deaths forward by a few weeks"
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Robert Dingwall has said that coronavirus is a "nasty infection' that "simply brought deaths forward by a few weeks"Credit: Nottingham Trent University
Mr Dingwall called for a "sense of proportion" over the virus which has claimed over 46,000 lives in the UK
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Mr Dingwall called for a "sense of proportion" over the virus which has claimed over 46,000 lives in the UKCredit: PA:Press Association

Professor Dingwall is based at the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University and is a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), which reports to SAGE.

Writing in the Daily Express today, Professor Dingwall said that figures suggest that around 80 percent of coronavirus victims already suffered from serious medical conditions.

He wrote: "Covid-19 has been linked to about 50,000 deaths in the first 16 weeks of the UK pandemic - but about 1,000 people normally die every week.

"In the past five weeks, fewer than usual have died. Covid-19 simply bought deaths forward by a few weeks or months."

He added: "Six months into this pandemic, we have learnt that it will not wipe out human life on this planet.

It is a nasty infection and every death represents a person loved by someone. But it is time for a sense of proportion

Sir Robert Dingwall

"It is a nasty infection and every death represents a person loved by someone. But it is time for a sense of proportion.

"While some people become seriously ill, and a few die, most shrug it off."

Professor Dingwall also had strong words for the government's scientific advisers, labelling them "a narrow minded scientific elite" and claiming that lockdown restrictions risked "eradicating" the economy.

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Professor Dingwall has previously called for the two-metre social distancing rule to be scrapped to help struggling businesses - asserting that the risk of catching coronavirus at even one metre was "very small".

In May, he also hit out at the government's coronavirus messaging, telling the Daily Telegraph that it had "effectively terrorised the population into believing that this is a disease that is going to kill you".

It comes as Downing Street was forced to put the brakes on plans to ease lockdown restrictions further following a concerning spike in cases.

Some 4.5 million Brits in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire saw restrictions reintroduced after a surge in infections - with people banned from meeting different households indoors.

Boris Johnson is also said to be considering bursting the "bubble" system which allows separate households to meet under one roof.

The PM was told by scientific advisers that too much mingling between family groups was the main cause of an alarming rise in infections.

And there is also a possibility that, under new rules, millions of over 50s could be told to stay at home as part of measures to prevent another national lockdown.

Brits aged between 50 and 70 could be given personalised risk ratings in a move that would add to the 2.2million people who shielded during the Spring peak, The Sunday Times reports.

The PM, meanwhile, has also urged the public not to get complacent as lockdown restrictions are eased.

He told a press conference on Thursday: "With those numbers creeping up, our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control.

"We must keep our focus and we can't be complacent."

Professor Dingwall, based at Nottingham Trent University, previously called for the two-metre rule to be scrapped
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Professor Dingwall, based at Nottingham Trent University, previously called for the two-metre rule to be scrappedCredit: Refer to Caption
Boris Johnson is also said to be considering bursting the "bubble" system which allows separate households to meet under one roof
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Boris Johnson is also said to be considering bursting the "bubble" system which allows separate households to meet under one roofCredit: AFP
Manchester has seen restrictions reintroduced after a concerning rise in infections
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Manchester has seen restrictions reintroduced after a concerning rise in infectionsCredit: Eamonn and James Clarke
SAGE Professor Graham Medley warns there'll be more lockdowns as coronavirus 'inevitably spills out'
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