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Professor Robert Dingwall calls for a ‘sense of proportion’ and brands Covid-19 a ‘nasty infection’

A leading sociology professor has today called for calm over Covid-19, as he branded the virus a ‘nasty infection’ that ‘simply brought deaths forward be a few weeks’. 

Robert Dingwall, professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University, says there needs to be a ‘sense of proportion’ over coronavirus.

The killer respiratory virus is thought to contributed to the deaths of more than 45,000 people in the UK and 685,000 worldwide.

But Professor Dingwall says figures show around 80 per cent of victims in the UK already had life-limiting medical condition.

Writing a column in the Daily Express today, he said: ‘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. 

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

Professor Dingwall, who previously accused the government of ‘terrorising’ the UK population with its coronavirus message, also took aim at government scientists in his column.   

Describing them as a ‘narrow minded scientific elite’, he hit out at the government’s lockdown laws, saying they risked ‘eradicating’ the country’s industry, as well as liberty and privacy.

Professor Dingwall was one of the scientists who called for the government to change its two metre-social distancing rules earlier this year in a bid to get the economy moving again. 

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph in May he was also heavily critical about the government’s coronavirus message.

He said: ‘We have this very strong message which has effectively terrorised the population into believing that this is a disease that is going to kill you. And mostly it isn’t…

‘….We have completely lost sight of that in the obsession with deaths.’

It comes as it has today been reported that millions of overs 50s could be given orders to stay at home as part of Boris Johnson’s ‘nuclear plans’ to avoid another national lockdown.

The Prime Minister was forced to announce a slow down of the lockdown easing on Friday, with planned relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors delayed after a rise in Covid-19 cases.

It comes just days after around 4.5million people in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire were hit with fresh lockdown restrictions last week.

The PM is thought to have held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could put the brakes on a potential economic recovery.

Under the proposals, a greater number of people would be asked to take part in the shielding programme, based on their age or particular risk factors that have been identified since March, said the Telegraph.

It could even see those aged between 50 and 70 given ‘personalised risk ratings’, said the Times, in a move that would add to the 2.2 million who were deemed most vulnerable and asked to shield themselves from society during the spring peak.

The plans could prove controversial as the factors under which the elderly could be asked to self-isolate might be more heavily influenced by age than clinical vulnerabilities.

Also being considered under the proposals is a city-wide lockdown in London which would include restricting travel beyond the M25, as reported by The Sunday Times.

Any ‘close contact’ services, such as going to the hairdresser, would also be stopped if the capital sees a sudden surge in cases.

The advice for shielding was only lifted on Saturday for those in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and remains in place until August 16 for those shielding in Wales. 

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