Disruptive Covid fears and expert warns of a new wave hitting the UK

One expert has claimed that the UK could see a new and worsening wave of Covid in January due to the variant emerging from the Omicron strain. He said this, along with the low uptake of booster doses and cases which had already risen in England earlier this month, was cause for concern. Since the end of October, about one in 45 people have been infected with the virus in some areas. Dr Stephen Griffin, an expert from Leeds University Medical School, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about how infection rates will continue to rise in the new year.

Although it is no longer mandatory to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus, current NHS guidance advises people to stay at home and avoid contact until symptoms have cleared.

But according to Dr. Griffin, that may not be enough to stem the potential wave. He told Express.co.uk the emerging variant would pose a challenge to health authorities, and warned that more should be done to encourage uptake of the vaccine.

He said: “I don’t see any reason why the next wave won’t continue to increase. We don’t have reasonable mitigations that allow us to react in a safer way. We’re left with a culture based on self-assessment of individual risk, which cannot be an informed assessment given the lack of testing, the lack of Community or infrastructure improvements or investments as is happening in other countries.”

He warned that most of the public’s antibody levels are likely to drop due to the long gap between vaccines, making it more difficult to treat the emerging variant.

He explained: “The new omicron sub-variants are becoming increasingly dominant and are better able to evade antibody responses than even BA.4/5 over the summer. This is important because many of us will not have a vaccine for some time now, which means antibody levels will In the blood has decreased naturally.

“The booster program targeting the elderly and clinically frail has unfortunately faltered for the under-70 age group in particular – only about half of people aged 50-59 have accepted this offer.

“The government should not be surprised by this; if you spend most of the time saying that the disease is nothing to worry about, it means that people will be less inclined to understand the need for booster vaccinations.

“The fact that so many adults and children in particular are still not protected with vaccines, supply has been withdrawn from five-year-olds since September, and MHRA-approved vaccines for children under five still have to be reviewed speaks to the UK again. Being okay with the pace of vaccine coverage. As a result, the level of re-infection and spread among young people is shocking.”

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And while levels of immunity remain relatively high in the UK, Dr Griffin argued that “only very recently might recently boosted people be expected to avoid infection” from the new sub-variants, warning that the virus remains a “very real threat”.

He said: “People should remember that despite the rhetorical and ludicrous comparisons, SARS-CoV2 still poses a very real threat to health in the short and long term. Furthermore, as we see increasing prevalence, less common outcomes such as severe illness in children will only increase where is the absolute value.

“We have a good level of immunity in this country, but it has come at a price as much of it has resulted from poorly controlled infection levels… Our death toll remains unjustified, plus COVID has been ignored for too long when it comes to the need for prevention.” from infection – this can happen in all age groups, including children, and vaccines provide only limited protection from superinfection.

“The elusive immune variants we see mean that people who have only recently been boosted can be expected to avoid infection or reinfection. While post-vaccine infections offer better protection in some cases, infection alone does not give perfect immunity, plus faulty reasoning.” In allowing an infection to generate immunity to the same agent is nothing short of bewildering.”

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It comes as the NHS is already under enormous pressure, with strikes being staged by nurses and ambulance staff over complaints about wages, onerous hours and staff shortages.

If another wave of infections breaks out across Britain, it is expected to put health workers under even greater pressure, and we have seen in previous waves how much pressure the health services have been under.

Dr Griffin said: “It is true that our immunity at the moment is collectively balancing against the virulence of this virus so that the link between infection and severity weakens – we are certainly not at 2020 levels.

“But this scenario is dynamic, and anyone who doubts how important vaccines will be in terms of our current situation should compare the waves of BA.2 in the UK with the waves in Hong Kong in the spring. That alone requires support from NPIs if we intend to avoid hospitalizations, and COVID for a while.” Long, and actually more virus diversity. Living with COVID successfully certainly involves living with as little of it as possible?”

The government has been contacted for comment.

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