Shielding after lockdown is eased
Extract from The BMJ Opinion by Helen Iliff and Ilora Finlay
How can “shielding” be safely lowered as lockdown is eased?
Those who have been self-shielding or on the NHS shielding list fear their support will vanish, leaving them at heightened risk for a second peak.
The threat to those most clinically vulnerable was communicated from the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. As the virus spread, clinicians and patients with underlying health conditions harboured increasing anxieties around the risks, but no validated risk assessment existed. On 16th March, the UK Government advised those deemed to be at increased risk to follow stringent social distancing measures, and a subset, believed to have the highest risk of mortality and severe morbidity, were identified and sent an NHS letter to “shield” for at least 12 weeks.