A CARLISLE-BASED academic says new research could change our complete outlook on how we approach coronavirus.

Dr John Campbell, who lives in the Lowry Hill area of the city, is a retired nurse teacher and A&E nurse who now creates educational videos which are watched by millions every month.

The academic - who has studied diseases all his life - was speaking after the Prime Minister's announcement of new coronavirus restrictions that will come into force on Monday aimed at tackling the rising number of cases.

The law on the legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 to six. It will apply both indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.

Gatherings of more than six will be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where the gathering is for work or education. Exemptions will apply for weddings, funerals and Covid-secure organised team sports, with a full list yet to be published.

Dr Campbell believes the changes will be enough to help slow the rate of transmission but they are only part of the jigsaw.

“It needs to be done in combination with everything like wearing face masks, washing hands and keeping distance,” he explained.

“We have previously thought that wearing masks reduces the viral load, that wearing marks stop the infected person letting out the virus, but isn’t going to stop me from catching it.”

However, Dr Campbell points to research by infectious disease doctor and Professor of Infectious Diseases at University of California Monica Gandhi, that suggests that wearing a mask could reduce the number of particles that come into contact with your nose and month, and that less particles result in a less serious disease.

She says that a mask may not prevent you from becoming infected but that it could be the difference between having mild symptoms or no symptoms at all and being hospitalised with the virus.

Dr Campbell is also urging people to think about ventilation.

“What is not happening anywhere enough is ventilation,” he explained. “The message about masks indoors, about washing hands and about social distancing is fine, but the message hasn’t got out there about ventilation. Areas with a breeze blowing through dilute the viral load.”

In other words, the concentration of coronavirus particles in the air is lower when there is a breeze to dilute it.

“We need ventilation in restaurants, pubs and shops,” continued Dr Campbell.

Meanwhile, ambitious mass testing plans would cost as much as £100 billion, according to reports.

Leaked documents seen by the BMJ suggest the "Operation Moonshot" project - which would see millions of UK-wide daily tests - could have a price tag close to the £114 billion budget given to NHS England in 2018/19.