COVID-19: open, reasoned, detailed, discussion of the options is overdue and welcome
At last, differing perspectives are being aired. This is healthy.
Let me summarise my view: children and young people have a great deal to lose from measures that restrict their education, social development and freedom and have relatively little to lose from the infection. Older people like myself (67 years of age, retired, married and an Indian male) have little to lose from restrictions. Indeed, several friends and colleagues have welcomed them as a restful period when they become more prosperous. I have much to lose from the infection. Nonetheless, I am not prepared to sacrifice the well-being of children and young people for society to try to reduce my risk to zero, which is near impossible until the virus is vanquished worldwide. I believe society should concentrate the scarce resources we have to protect those who are frail or for other reasons cannot protect themselves. People in a privileged position like myself have to apply well-known solutions: hygiene, social distancing and face masks.
The problem is not going away with and without a vaccine. Our vision and strategies should be long-term, not week by week. Dismissing any idea, no matter how zany it might seem, without detailed and reasoned discussion, is irresponsible at this time of global crisis.
Emeritus Professor of Public Health
The University of Edinburgh