'Infect the young and isolate those at risk' - One German scientist's plan to end the lockdown
Prof Alexander Kekulé says the lockdown is in danger of going on too long and causing more damage than the virus
A leading German epidemiologist who predicted the coronavirus crisis in Europe is now calling for governments to end the lockdown.
Prof Alexander Kekulé warned the virus was about to engulf Europe and publicly urged Angela Merkel’s government to start screening international travellers as early as January.
But he now believes the lockdown is in danger of going on too long and causing more damage than the virus, and has drawn up a plan for how it can be safely lifted.
“It’s impossible to wait for a vaccine,” Prof Kekulé told The Telegraph. “The quickest we could have a vaccine ready is in six months. Based on experience, I’d say the reality is closer to a year. We can’t stay under lockdown for six months to a year. If we did that our society and our culture would be ruined.”
If we had started testing and following the chains of infection in January, we could have contained the epidemic here without resorting to a lockdown,” he says. “If you can get to people by the time they’ve infected 20 people you can stop it. But by the time it’s 400, there’s no chance.”
By March, when the virus had Germany in its grip, he was calling for the border to be closed and schools to shut down.
“At that stage a lockdown was the only option to slow the spread and prevent hospitals being overwhelmed,” he says. “But now we have to consider the possibility that a long lockdown may end up doing more harm than the virus.”