Tory policy is leaving us at the mercy of long Covid | Letters

Readers react to the arrival of ‘freedom day’ and the long-term health implications for those who will get infected with coronavirus due to the loosening of restrictions

I write as a retired GP of 34 years who has returned to work to try to help with the ever-increasing number of long Covid referrals. I, like many others, fear the inevitable rise in cases following “freedom day” today.

As shown by the recent research published in the Lancet and quoted by the Guardian (Long Covid has more than 200 symptoms, study finds, 16 July), long Covid is a complex and debilitating set of symptoms that is affecting mainly younger people. This was confirmed by the recent triage of referrals, which included people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, who were in many cases affected so badly that they had not returned to work. Their family lives were severely affected and life for them was very different and reduced compared with their life before catching Covid-19. These people did not all have severe infections, and most of them didn’t even go to hospital.

This new condition is not understood and the only medical help available is limited. To allow Covid to increase exponentially, as it is already doing, and not even mandate masks and social distancing, is condemning thousands of people to diminished lives.

My son runs a restaurant staffed by mainly young people who are not due their second vaccine until the end of August. Already, older double-vaccinated customers are failing to wear masks or socially distance, thus putting the future health of these young people at risk. This is obviously an economic risk to the country as well.

The government needs to urgently change its advice and run an imaginative public health campaign to make everyone aware of the risk of this new condition and not hide behind the success of the vaccination programme.
Name and address supplied

• At a time of rapidly increasing infection, hospitalisations and deaths, it is an irresponsible act and an abrogation of the government’s responsibility to the nation to remove the legal requirement in England to wear masks. Vaccination does not prevent infection or the transmission of coronavirus, it merely reduces the level of risk of transmission and infection. Long Covid is a significant risk to those who may become infected at all ages. There is no economic case for the removal of the requirement for mask wearing at this time. If there is, the government should explain it to the nation. It has not. Retaining the requirement for mask wearing will reassure people, particularly the most vulnerable and those not yet vaccinated, that it is safe to venture out.

Putting faith in all individuals to act responsibly to others is unsound, leading to unnecessary conflict and division. When a government puts political ideology above social responsibility it is clearly no longer fit to govern in the interests of the majority.
David White
Kingston upon Thames, London

• You report (Coronavirus live, 17 July) how Prof Mark Woolhouse told Times Radio: “The concern at the moment is that the trajectory of hospitalisations and deaths in the UK is upwards, fairly slowly … and we want to see what that trend does.” Whether the description of the English position as “a dangerous, unethical experiment” is “very inaccurate” or not is a matter of opinion, but what is 100% unethical and highly immoral is to force me to participate in the experiment so that Woolhouse and his like “can see what the trend does”. I am not a lab rat.
Dr Morven J Easton
Glasgow

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