UK Expert Says Hugs are Not Allowed Yet, Not Even Outdoors

Sir Mark Walport

You’re gonna need a whole lot more vaccines before you can hug.

A whole helluva lot more vaccines.

Maybe after every 1 million vaccines, you can hug people.

Belfast Telegraph:

People should be able to hug again when case numbers are “very, very low”, a former government adviser has said.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, former chief scientific adviser to the Government, said there are still around 5,000 cases a day in the UK.

And that while most of the vulnerable population are now protected, there are still 37 million people who have not been immunised.

But he said more is being learned about vaccines each day – including evidence on whether they can help stop the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan serves as a reminder to people not to “sneak into the house” as restrictions ease, he added.

Asked about when people could hug again, he told Times Radio: “I think that when the evidence shows that the case number is really, really low indeed, that’s the point, so some degree of caution makes sense.

“We’re also learning more about the effectiveness of the vaccine every day at the moment – as more and more people get the vaccine then we will learn from the numbers.”

When asked what he would consider to be “very, very low indeed”, he said: “Well, how long is a piece of string?

“As I say, it’s significantly lower than we’ve got at the moment, you know 5,000 cases a day is roughly where we were at the end of September, and certainly if this was on an upward trajectory we would be pretty worried at the sorts of numbers.

“Somewhere around 0.3% to 0.4% of the population across the UK on any day being infected – that’s the prevalence of the infection.”

But asked about hugs between grandparents and grandchildren on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added: “Be very cautious is the answer.

“The transmission (of the virus) outdoors is much less, but it is actually proximity at the end of the day – that is the important issue in transmission from one person to another.

“And prolonged close proximity outside carries its own risks.

“So people are going to have to exercise their judgment, but hopefully in a cautious way.”

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said, “please don’t do the hugging”.

There it is.

Please don’t do the hugging.

The hugging is finished.

We are deep into this crisis. We need to wake up, and quit it with the hugging.

I’m scared right now, because of all these people thinking about hugging.