A poll by JL Partners for the Daily Mail newspaper in April found that 65% of respondents would back mostly lifting restrictions if the number of Covid deaths was the same as those from influenza. There were just under 4,000 fatalities in England in the 2018-19 flu season, according to official data. Covid also is both more infectious and more deadly.
There are also concerns over vaccine supplies. Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for the rollout, warned on June 11 that Pfizer-BioNTech shots would be “tight” over the next few weeks. Under-40s have been advised against taking AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns about very rare blood clots.
Some members of the governing Conservatives are pushing the government to move faster, regardless of how far the vaccination program has managed to get a grip on the virus.
Former minister Steve Baker warned that Britain would be “a hollow and haunted country after all the affected businesses have collapsed.” As House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg put it in a ConservativeHome podcast: “You can't run society just to stop the hospitals being full.”