Speaking on a Royal School of Medicine webinar, Professor Whitty said around 20,000 to 25,000 people died of flu three years ago and “no one noticed”.

Up until now society has chosen to deal with Covid in a certain way but it is “clear we are going to have to manage it,” Professor Whitty said.

He added that it was crucial to bring Covid deaths as low as possible, but cautioned that society would not tolerate being locked down to prevent comparable numbers of deaths to those from flu.

“What are people prepared to put up with?” he said.

“What we’ve demonstrated in the last year is we don’t have to have flu at all if we don’t want to, because the things we’ve done against Covid have led to virtually no influenza.

“If next year we say ‘we can deal with flu, everyone lockdown over the winter’ I think the medical profession would not make itself popular with the general public.”

Asked by Sir Simon Wessely, professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, whether lockdowns would be reimposed if cases increased, Professor Whitty said: “No, I don’t think so.”

However, he added: “Society will not tolerate more than a certain number of people being ill, even if they know it’s going to go away come the spring, and the area where we’re going to have to pull the alarm cord is if a variant of concern comes in that we can see is now back to a situation of unconstrained growth because the immunological response to it is just not there.”

Main Source link