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Lockdown easing could see tens of thousands of excess deaths if vulnerable not protected, study suggests

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Measures to ease the lockdown in the UK could lead to tens of thousands of extra deaths if vulnerable people are not sufficiently protected and health care systems are put under strain, a study has suggested.

Boris Johnson announced the first step towards normalcy — allowing unlimited exercise, one on one outdoor social meetings and a return to work for those who cannot do so at home — against a background of flattening infection numbers and fatalities caused by the virus.

However in a study published in medical journal The Lancet, research led by University College London (UCL) has warned between 37,000 and 730,000 excess deaths could take place due to the direct and indirect effects of the virus within a year.

Lead author Dr Amitava Banerjee said: “Older people, those with one or more underlying conditions and their carers are asking what easing the lockdown might mean for their health. Using data modelling on a number of different scenarios, our findings show the mortality risk for these vulnerable groups increases significantly, and could lead to thousands of avoidable deaths.”

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Source: The Independent, 13 May 2020

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