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Public health policies can reduce inequalities as we come out of lockdown

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1977 (Published 18 May 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1977

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  1. Adam Briggs, associate clinical professor and honorary consultant in public health1,
  2. Harry Rutter, professor of global public health2
  1. 1University of Warwick, UK
  2. 2University of Bath, UK
  1. adambriggs{at}doctors.org.uk
  2. Follow Adam Briggs on Twitter @ADMBriggs
  3. Follow Harry Rutter on Twitter @harryrutter

Population level public health policies have an important part in supporting the transition out of lockdown

As the UK moves beyond the first wave peak, the national conversation surrounding covid-19 has shifted to how to lift the lockdown safely—when restrictions should be relaxed, who can go back to school or work first, which limits should stay in place, and how this can be done in a way that’s safe, transparent, data led, and adaptable as new evidence emerges.

Straightforward population level public health policies have an important part in supporting this transition, reducing the impact of covid-19 on inequalities and ensuring that the health and care system can provide for people when they need it.

We weren’t alone in writing about this topic earlier in the pandemic, but progress has been disappointing. We argued for lower speed limits after reports of terrifying driving, we suggested raising the legal age for buying tobacco and providing free nicotine replacement, and we proposed limiting the amount of alcohol that can be bought per transaction, alongside accelerating the introduction of …

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