Header Ads

Over-50s should be kept in coronavirus lockdown for longer and FINED if they cannot prove their age when out and about in public, study suggests

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. 
This graph shows how 'at risk' of death from coronavirus each age group is if they are released before a vaccine is available - with the over 60s having a 62.5 per cent risk
This graph shows how 'at risk' of death from coronavirus each age group is if they are released before a vaccine is available - with the over 60s having a 62.5 per cent risk 
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. 
The researchers say older people should be in lockdown longer as 'younger people are far, far, safer'.
Enforcement is a concern raised by the researchers in their paper, saying that people may be reluctant to stay indoors longer.
'How would an age-based release rule be enforced? Presumably police officers would have to be given the right to fine those caught breaking the age rule. 
'As we have explained elsewhere, the vast majority of citizens in the UK carry driving licenses that would allow a police officer to check their date of birth,' they wrote.
They added that a rolling age-release poses the lowest risk and reduces the chance of people being called back for a second round of lockdowns.
'In principle the young should be able to stay out once released,' say researchers.
A number of studies have demonstrated the fact that the risk of death from coronavirus increases with age. 
People under 50 have a less than 0.5 per cent chance of death from COVId-19 but it jumps to 1.3 per cent for over-50s. 
It gets even higher as you get older - with a death rate of 3.6 per cent for over-60s and 8 per cent for over-70s. 
NHS expert Mike Fischer, agrees that over-50s should stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak. 
Official data - collated by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre from NHS critical care units - shows more than 54 per cent of COVID-19 patients admitted for urgent care are aged between 50 and 69 years. 
Almost three quarters of critically ill people are either overweight or obese. 
There are five tests outlined by the government that would allow the lockdown to be lifted including getting the rate of infection lower and having tests available.
The tests also include ensuring the NHS has sufficient capacity, a sustained fall in daily deaths, PPE is available and measures won't risk a second peak of infections. 
Not everyone agrees this is the best approach, Dr Thomas House, a statistician from the University of Manchester said young people could get a false sense of security.  
'If younger individuals begin to mix again and we see an increase in the prevalence of coronavirus infections, that will inevitably increase the number of cases in the older individuals who are most at risk of dying once infected,' he told the Telegraph.
'It is also likely that there are many younger individuals who have massively increased risk compared to others of their age due to factors we have not yet been able to identify through epidemiological analysis, and who would therefore be seriously misled by the kind of charts proposed by the authors.'  
The Warwick team say the hardest part could be in convincing the public of the importance and benefit of a rolling age-release strategy.
'Strategies for building public support for a rolling release could include clear communication about the rationale for the strategy, and online resources to help people understand their own personal risk profiles,' the team wrote in a release.
This graph is an extreme example, using Chinese data to estimate the impact an early release of each age group would have on coronavirus deaths in the UK. They found the most at risk group is the over 60s and the lowest risk is those in their 20s
This graph is an extreme example, using Chinese data to estimate the impact an early release of each age group would have on coronavirus deaths in the UK. They found the most at risk group is the over 60s and the lowest risk is those in their 20s
Nick Powdthavee, Professor of Behavioural Economics at Warwick Business School, said: 'We believe that an age-based strategy along the lines we describe has the potential to strike the right balance between epidemiology and economics.'
The researchers don't think older people should be kept out of work though, rather that they should make use of technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. 
'Far from being left on the shelf, older workers can play a vital role as supervisors and mentors using the communication technologies which have come to the fore during lockdown,' he said.
Researchers say an app could be developed that provides people with their own 'risk' from coronavirus using the most recent epidemiological evidence.
'A release of younger people might, we appreciate, cause resentment among those older than the age-group released,' they wrote.
'Nevertheless, to reassure them, the older groups could be told when their turn would eventually arrive, and they could be encouraged to check a government sponsored website detailing the exact risk-by-age pattern of the virus.'  
They say that 'one of the characteristics of COVID-19 is that younger people are far, far safer' - yet much of the worldwide discussion of an ‘exit strategy’ does not exploit this 'fundamental, and potentially pivotal, piece of knowledge'.  
The paper is available on the Warwick University website

4 comments:

  1. Right statistics, wrong conclusion as usual.
    Older people are only putting themselves at risk.
    They are no more contagious than young people.......
    Smoke, drink, eat junk food, pop opiods, go out ... old folks,
    it's your choice in a supposedly free country

    ReplyDelete
  2. So the older you get the higher your chances of getting to your appointed time then?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Make them wear a yellow star?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Phuqe you, I go out when I want, to where I want.

    ReplyDelete