UK Govt’s Chief Scientific Adviser Warns Covid ‘Evolving Rapidly’ May Need To ‘Ramp Things Up Again’

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The British government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has issued a dire warning that Covid is “evolving rapidly,” and that measures must remain in place to be able to “ramp things up again” if needed.

Sir Patrick Vallance was speaking to the Science and Technology Committee earlier this week following a steep increase in reported covid cases. He also claimed there may also be long term problems with Covid infection

The Express reports: Quizzed on the Government’s “Living With Covid” plan, Sir Patrick was asked how important advice from SAGE was in the proposals. The expert confirmed that SAGE “clearly” played a big part, before adding his own remarks on the current situation.

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He said: “This virus has not gone away. It’s not going to go away. It’s going to be a circulating human virus for as long as we can see forward.

“And it hasn’t stopped evolving. It’s been quite an unstable period, so the virus is changing very rapidly, and it’s got quite a lot of space to evolve into.

“It’s not a foregone conclusion that evolution to increase growth and transmission — which is what the virus does, wants to do — necessarily is associated with reduced severity.”

Sir Vallance also noted that three things were essential to adopting a living-with-Covid approach: being able to monitor how it evolves; to protect the vulnerable both physically and through vaccines and antivirals; and having the capacity to be “able operationally to ramp things up again if you need to — [this] is crucially important.”

He added: “That in a sense, is also a lesson from the very beginning of the pandemic where the underfunding of Public Health England for many years had caused a diminution in capacity.”

However, the scientist added: “I think the numbers of infections are beginning to turn so we may be quite close to, or at the peak, and it may start coming down shortly.

“But I expect to see further hospitalizations because of the lag time and further deaths with this. So, that is the consequence of the high levels of infection rates. 

“We should also be aware that there may well be long term problems with COVID infection — long COVID is still being studied. It’s not a sort of a completely stable situation and it’s not a risk-free situation to run very high levels of infection.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, coronavirus cases have climbed by a million in the last week in the UK.

Test results have also shown that about one in every 16 people had the disease last week – with the BA.2 Omicron variant dominating cases.