The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that Covid is “evolving rapidly,” adding that measures should remain in place indefinitely to be able to “ramp things up again” if needed. The Express has more.
Sir Patrick was speaking to the Science and Technology Committee this morning following a steep rise in Covid cases. 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.
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 hospitalisations 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.”
Hasn’t SAGE been stepped down? When will they leave us alone?
I wonder if the Government has considered finding a less alarmist Chief Scientist.
Worth reading in full.