SIR – I recently went downtown in Worcester for the first time in five weeks. It was an eerie experience, like being on the film set of 28 Days Later with dark closed shops, few people and a striking silence.

The crushing economic harm caused by lockdown is obvious. But there are invisible harms.

During the first lockdown hospital attendance for heart attacks and strokes fell by 50 per cent. Intervention here within hours is necessary to save life. Many of the people who stayed home must be dead.

Operations have been missed and cancer screening stopped or reduced. So thousands will die in the future.

They will be younger than most Covid fatalities, therefore many more life years will be lost.

Another harm we cannot see is loneliness. I count myself extremely fortunate that after living alone, which can be isolating, for much of my life I moved in with friends. It’s a large family with a two-year-old granddaughter who is a real sweetheart. Talk, smiles and laughter are great medicine.

But for anyone who is lonely or suffers from mental illness this must be a tough time when family visits, therapy and group contact sessions are unavailable. We know that addiction and suicide are sharply up.

Increasing evidence shows lockdown has no beneficial effect. At best it only delays, at worst by preventing immunity and cutting healthcare it leads to increased deaths.

The World Health Organisation opposes lockdowns, something our political leaders do not publicise. They stumble blindly on and we follow.

Francis Lankester