Michael Gove: We may have to accept more deaths from Covid-19 when restrictions are lifted


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iving with Covid may mean accepting more deaths from the disease when restrictions are finally lifted, a senior Cabinet minister said on Tuesday.

In candid comments about what may happen after the so-called Freedom Day on July 19, Michael Gove said the nation must learn to expect “tragic consequences” from Covid just as they do from influenza.

“As the prime minister and Chris Whitty said at the press conference last night, we’re going to have to learn to live with Covid, and it’s a very nasty virus,” he said.

“We can provide people with the best protection possible through the vaccination programme but, as with flu, we know that every year there are a number of people who contract it, and every year certainly there are a number of people who are hospitalised and who suffer as a result of it.”

Mr Gove told Times Radio said there would never be “shoulder shrugging” about deaths but asked if people needed “to stare death in the face” he said: “While it is important that we do accept that, we also do everything that we can consistent with society running normally to protect people.”

Mr Gove would not put a number on how many deaths the Government would regard as tolerable. But a leading epidemiologist said it was “quite possible” that hundreds of people a day could die in Covid waves after the economy fully reopens and social distancing is eased.

He told Sky News that only something “unprecedented and remarkable” would cause another delay after July 19.

But some senior Tories voiced anger at the delay. Former minister Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) of Tory MPs, told LBC radio he thinks “we could have moved ahead perfectly safely on the 21st of June”.



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