A top doctor has warned against the dangers of relying on herd immunity to stop coronavirus.

ITV's resident doctor Dr Hilary Jones appeared on Good Morning Britain alongside Ben Shepherd and Susannah Reid to discuss the latest Covid-19 headlines.

This week there have been calls from experts to implement a herd immunity strategy, which would allow the young and fit to live normally while the elderly and those at high risk would be encouraged to shield.

But Dr Hilary has criticised the idea of the new lockdown measures being brought in.

It comes after Professor Sridhar outlined the three significant reasons why the herd immunity approach would not be successful on yesterday's show.

This Is Local London: Good Morning Britain's Dr Hilary JonesGood Morning Britain's Dr Hilary Jones

On today's GMB, Dr Hilary said herd immunity could be "very dangerous" and a "gamble with people's lives."

He said: "This is really interesting, and far more experts and scientists are saying don't rely on herd immunity than those saying let's rely on it.

"If you torture data and statistics ruthlessly enough, you can make it confess to anything.

"I suspect what they looked at is, 'oh we've just assumed if that had happened this would happen'.

"They are assuming also herd immunity, we don't know if people become immune and if they do for how long after Covid-19.

"They make no reference to long Covid, there are government ministers saying right now we will put millions of pounds aside to try to treat the symptoms of long Covid in the tens of thousands of people, who down the line might be suffering from the long term effects of Covid."


He added: "It's so difficult, you can interpret data in different ways and I just think we have to be really cautious.

"If we rely on herd immunity it is a massive gamble, a massive gamble with people's lives.

"I think until we can be sure of whether we can control this virus, we can't just say 'open everything up, let everybody get the virus and hope for the best' because that could be very dangerous."

Top scientists this week called for a herd immunity approach to the coronavirus pandemic by allowing people who are less vulnerable to the effects of the disease to return to normal life.

The so-called Great Barrington declaration, signed by leading experts from the universities of Oxford, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Cambridge, Sussex and York, suggests herd immunity as a way forward.

The declaration states: "The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to coronavirus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.

"We call this focused protection."

This Is Local London: (PA Graphics)(PA Graphics)

It says current lockdown policies are having "devastating effects on short and long-term public health".

The negative impact of lockdowns listed include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health - which the declaration claims will lead to greater excess mortality in years to come, hitting working class people and young people the most.

But other scientists have described the idea of "focused protection" as "wishful thinking".

Dr Rupert Beale, group leader of the cell biology of infection laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute, says herd immunity is "very unlikely" before a COVID-19 vaccine is found.

He said: "This declaration prioritises just one aspect of a sensible strategy - protecting the vulnerable - and suggests we can safely build up 'herd immunity' in the rest of the population.

"This is wishful thinking. It is not possible to fully identify vulnerable individuals, and it is not possible to fully isolate them.

"Furthermore, we know that immunity to coronaviruses wanes over time, and re-infection is possible - so lasting protection of vulnerable individuals by establishing 'herd immunity' is very unlikely to be achieved in the absence of a vaccine."