Research by Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College has shown that the best way to prepare for infection is to stay in shape and keep healthy.
Professor Ferguson is a leading adviser to the government on epidemiology.
He spoke to the Sunday Times about how Britons can best prepare for the virus.
He said: ‘It is always better to stay fit and healthy.
‘We need to assess our risks from a personal perspective, including getting fit and losing weight.’
New data showed that up to 10 percent Britons will be infected by the end of may.
That reflects up to seven million people contracting coronavirus by the start of summer.
Statistics from the NHS show that 38 per cent of people who have been admitted to intensive care for coronavirus are obese, and 55 per cent of those patients die.
For obese people aged over 60, the death rate is even higher.
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Fredrik Karpe, professor of metabolic medicine at Oxford University, echoed Ferguson’s thoughts on weight loss.
He said: “If you have a big belly, then when you lie down the weight of it pushes your diaphragm upwards, reducing lung volume.
“This virus is all about lung function.”
He also said that the best way to start exercising is by walking.
“You should feel comfortable but like you have had some action.
“It’s quicker than people think to build this up.
“In two weeks you will have an improved capacity.”
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Ferguson concluded by issuing a plea to people to follow the rules on the lockdown in the hope that it could then be relaxed in few weeks’ time.
“It’s very difficult, but the more people adhere to the government’s instructions right now, the bigger the effect will be on transmission, the faster case numbers will decline and the faster we will be able to move to at least a slightly more relaxed regime.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends breathing in through the nose for several seconds with mouth closed, then exhaling through pursed lips for 4-6 seconds.
“This can help to relieve the feeling of breathlessness.”
Currently the UK has seen 84,279 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 5,288 new cases between Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday’s death toll saw 737 people die from the virus, for a total of 10,612.
Under the UK’s current lockdown rules, the Prime Minister has said people can go out to exercise just once a day.
A Government spokesman said: “Every citizen must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“The police already have an array of powers available to them to maintain public order, and will be granted additional powers to enforce social distancing and protect the public.”
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