According to SAGE, it would have “dire consequences” for the NHS if the boys could return to normal while shielding the elderly.
In leaked documents handed to ministers last week, the advisory panel suggested that unpacking bars and nightclubs was “not feasible” as it creates a huge burden of hospital stays, deaths and deaths from non-Covid-19 sufferers would all ages.
They said it was impossible to prevent age-group contact because even “small leaks” in infection would lead to “many diseases”.
Leading epidemiologists also opposed calls for the UK to pursue a herd immunity strategy, warning that an “unrestrained epidemic” among young people would seriously affect health services.
They pointed out that a quarter of all hospital stays in the first wave were under 60 and that “shielding strategies” in nursing homes had still resulted in more than 20,000 deaths to support their arguments.
The scientists remained at odds, however. Nearly 11,000 medical and public health scientists supported the Barrington Declaration, which urged ministers to evade lockdown restrictions and pursue a “herd immunity” strategy.
The statement said it was better to “allow those with minimal risk of death to live normal lives in order to build immunity to the virus through natural infections while better protecting the most vulnerable”.
A study by King’s College London found that one in ten people under the age of 50 could be affected by “long covid,” who suffers from chest pain, breathing problems and chronic fatigue when infected with the virus.
The October 15 documents, viewed by The Times, said in SAGE: “Such a strategy (segmenting by age groups) would not be practical as it would not be possible to prevent the virus from spreading from younger to older people .
“A very large part of the population has to withdraw from everyday life for many months, which would have profound consequences for the NHS and unknown long-term effects on those infected.”
It added, “We don’t know if SARS-CoV-2 infection will result in long-term immunity. Even if high levels of immunity could be achieved within the younger age group, it is almost certain that another wave of epidemics would occur in the elderly after segmentation was completed. ‘
The top scientists also rejected the possibility of segmenting the population in July, according to minutes of the meeting released by the government last week.
They said any attempt to divide the population by age “is likely to fail” after modeling revealed high levels of contact in younger groups between those over 45.
But it also showed that people over 70 mingled with their own age group far more than with anyone else.
“The policy of segmenting the population by age, easing restrictions on younger groups, and restricting restrictions on older groups is likely to fail,” they advised the government.
“The great mix between age groups would make it extremely difficult to prevent transmission between segmented age groups, regardless of ethical and practical issues.
“Furthermore, any age segmentation policy is sure to raise significant social, ethical, and practical issues that are not considered here, in addition to the cost of greater wellbeing.”
The July protocol released last month also advised against any plans to shield anyone over 45. Around two thirds of people in the UK live in a household, including at least one person in this age group.
They note: “Data shows that people tend to have more contact with other people their age, but also a significant number of contacts with people who are 20 to 30 years older and younger than themselves (probably mainly contacts between parents and Children). .
“There is also significant contact between grandparents and children.”
The ability to segment the population despite being briefly flirted by the government has gained support from some Conservative backbench MPs.
Steve Baker has called it a “credible Plan B” while Chris Green argued there was “a better alternative to the government approach” after resigning as minister for junior education in response to mounting restrictions.
Scientists still disagree on whether “herd immunity” can be achieved against Covid-19, and some reject this as “wishful thinking”.
Studies have shown that levels of antibodies to the virus, which are believed to indicate immunity, have decreased over time in those who have had them.
However, it still needs to be thoroughly investigated whether T cells against the virus remain in the blood.
These remember how to build antibodies to SARS-CoV-19 and could be the key to immunity as they go back into production when the virus bounces back into the body.
There have been reports of people infected with Covid-19 who caught it a second time, but scientists have warned that this is a rare occurrence.