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Autumn Covid numbers peak at decrease ranges – however flu circumstances are on the up | Coronavirus


The UK’s present wave of Covid-19 circumstances seems to be peaking to a lesser extent than earlier outbreaks of the Omicron variant of the illness, researchers have revealed. revealed.

The information is encouraging – though scientists have additionally warned that one other wave of the illness might sweep the nation earlier than the tip of the yr. Professor Mark Woolhouse of the College of Edinburgh stated: “We must be vigilant and monitor information rigorously, on a regular basis.

In accordance with the ONS survey final week, the variety of Covid circumstances has decreased or is falling in 5 of 9 areas of England, in addition to in Northern Eire and Scotland. On the similar time, kids now have the bottom incidence of the illness for various weeks.

And whereas circumstances are nonetheless growing between the ages of fifty and 69, the speed of circumstances over the age of 70 has dropped. Woolhouse added: “Hopefully that may quickly be mirrored by a discount in hospital admissions.

But when the short-term outlook of avoiding a brand new wave of Covid-19 circumstances appears somewhat promising, the longer-term forecasts are much less reassuring due to the uncertainties concerned. “The issue is that we presently have about 300 variants of Covid-19 in existence,” stated Professor Andrew Lee, College of Sheffield. “On the similar time, totally different populations have totally different ranges of immunity to Covid-19. That makes it actually troublesome to foretell how future waves will play out.”

Scientists have additionally warned that the nation faces the prospect of a parallel flu epidemic this winter, one which might be fueled by low ranges of immunity in a misplaced inhabitants safety throughout Covid pandemic restrictions. This was introduced up final week when it was reported that flu circumstances had elevated within the UK – albeit to a comparatively low degree general.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, takes his Covid-19 boost
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, obtained a booster shot of Covid-19 after getting a flu shot earlier this month. Picture: Kirsty O’Connor / PA

Nonetheless, these considerations have been quashed by professor Francois Balloux, of College School London. “The excellent news is that the flu vaccine presently being given seems to be actually appropriate for strains which have already began circulating within the inhabitants. Meaning it should present good safety and restrict hospitalizations. “

Predictions of future outbreaks of diseases similar to Covid or the flu must be handled with care, Woolhouse provides. “This time final yr, once we had pretty excessive ranges of the Delta variant of Covid-19, one knowledgeable after one other predicted actually huge outbreaks of illness that will sweep throughout the UK within the autumn. . And it by no means occurred.”

As an alternative, the nation was hit by a wholly new variant, Omicron, which affected unprecedented numbers of individuals final winter. New sub-variants of Omicron have since emerged and they’re being circulated with one, Omicron BA 2.75.2, which is seen as a doubtlessly severe risk. “Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless comparatively uncommon within the UK,” added Woolhouse.

Nonetheless, scientists settle for that the chance of a wholly new variant, one with severe pathogenic results, can come up at any time. Lee added: “So long as Covid stays delicate for most individuals and doesn’t overwhelm well being techniques, governments ought to have the ability to climate this wave. “But when we get a extra extreme, extra pathogenic variant then that will result in a really totally different response. And that is nonetheless a danger, little question. “

Balloux stated the prospect of a lethal new variant rising stays the largest worry of Covid scientists and would require fixed monitoring by well being authorities and medical doctors, he instructed the Observer. . “Nonetheless, except one thing horrible occurs and a lethal new variant emerges, I believe by way of Covid issues might be higher than final winter and the winter earlier than that,” he stated. .


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