“What the hell are we locking down for?” – Latest coronavirus research could boost hopes of early Premier League return

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Latest evidence from China suggests there may be no need for such extreme lock-downs in the UK or indeed the rest of the world.

As reported by The BMJ, a small sample of recent coronavirus cases in China suggests as many as four out of five people who contract the bug show no symptoms.

It has often been suggested that many people who catch coronavirus will show only mild symptoms or even none at all, even if the illness can be more dangerous for the elderly or for those with underlying health conditions.

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Still, there seems to be growing evidence now that the vast majority who catch coronavirus won’t even know they have it, which means many more people in the UK could have it than official statistics show.

This would mean a greater percentage than expected would already have some form of immunity to COVID-19, and life can hopefully return to normal in weeks rather than months.

If so, this could be huge news in terms of the Premier League and other football returning sooner than anticipated.

Top leagues across the world have all been postponed and there have even been worries about whether the season can be completed at all.

Still, responding to this latest research, Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist at Oxford University told The BMJ: “The sample is small, and more data will become available. Also, it’s not clear exactly how these cases were identified. But let’s just say they are generalisable. And even if they are 10% out, then this suggests the virus is everywhere. If—and I stress, if—the results are representative, then we have to ask, ‘What the hell are we locking down for?'”

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It seems clear that the best way out of this is for more testing, so one has to hope the government can soon identify people who have coronavirus but aren’t showing symptoms, and also perhaps work out precisely how many people have already had it.

The BBC have reported on claims from Health Secretary Matt Hancock that the UK hopes to soon be testing 100,000 people per day, whilst ordering 17.5 million antibody tests to see who has already had coronavirus and built up immunity.

Whilst it would clearly be irresponsible to get football going again until we’re sure it’s safe, there seems to be at least some growing cause for optimism that it might be acceptable to do so sooner than initially expected.