Richard Madeley and Dr Hilary Jones argued on Good Morning Britain after the doctor said the government should consider delaying plans to lift the UK lockdown on June 21.
The roadmap out of lockdown targets Monday, June 21 as the day to fully lift restrictions, but the rise of the Delta variant (otherwise known as the Indian variant) has led some health experts to call for the lockdown to be prolonged until more population is vaccinated.
In a discussion with Richard and his co-host Susanna Reid, Dr Hilary asked, “Let me ask you a simple question, why would we get out of lockdown when things get worse? for someone?”
Former This Morning and Richard & Judy host Richard asked if the situation was getting worse, to which Dr Hilary replied, “Yes they are.”
It was suggested that the Delta variant did not lead to more hospitalizations, which Dr Hilary refuted, stating: “There are more hospitalizations.
“We may not be seeing as much, we are not seeing the big spike in hospitalizations and deaths, but our NHS staff are still working extremely hard to reduce hospitalizations and prevent people from dying.
“The intensive care units are quite busy again and some experts say we are already in a third wave.
“So my question is why would we relax the restrictions now when things get worse when we have a new variant that is causing huge problems in India, but also big problems here.”
When asked ‘how long this would last’ by Susanna, Dr Hilary said ‘this continues for as long as it takes “, adding:” We have to get on with it because we have to think about all the staff who working so hard in NHS hospitals across the country and many are suffering from burnout.
“Many take risks, wear PPE for many, many hours a day. Think about all the people with cancer who can’t get treatment. People with heart disease who can’t get treatment.
“Until we get this under control, we will have problems in the future. “
He added: “This means vaccinating the entire population and having booster doses. For now, it means continuing social distancing with mask wearing and disinfection and caution.
“We’re coming back to another wave, we’re going to see more cases, more hospitalizations.”
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Richard then weighed in again, asking Dr Hilary, “If you were Prime Minister you would say at some point in the next 48 hours: ‘Sorry everyone, but you’re stuck with this for the foreseeable future. You’re going to be living with this all summer, until fall and maybe as long as Christmas until the last person, who’s ready to get bitten. I mean, it’s a big request. “
Dr Hilary replied: “It’s a big demand, it’s a pandemic. It’s the biggest health threat for a hundred years. So we have to take it seriously.”
“But not now!” Richard exclaimed. “Because the vaccine severed the link between infections and the hospital.”
Dr Hilary replied: “Yes, it has been magnificent in terms of success, but we still have a quarter of the population who did not have a jab and half who did not have a second jab.”
He added: “All I’m saying is be a little more patient, [or] we’re going to come back to square one. “