‘Some point we will get a surge in virus’ Whitty states

‘All the modelling suggests there is going to be a further surge and that will find the people who either have not been vaccinated or where the vaccine has not worked,’ says England’s chief medical officer.

Another surge in coronavirus cases is inevitable and could be recorded as soon as late summer, despite the success of the UK’s ongoing vaccine rollout, MPs have been told.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said that even under the most optimistic set of assumptions, a further 30,000 lives could be lost to Covid-19, as he warned against the dangers of lifting restrictions too quickly.

He told the Science and Technology Committee that the modelling suggests “that at some point we will get a surge in virus”.


This is because not everyone in the UK will have been vaccinated as restrictions are eased, or won’t have acquired full protection from the jabs, therefore allowing the virus to continue circulating among susceptible pockets of the population.

The 12 April measures are “a very big block” Witty says, with shops and outdoor hospitality due to open.

And 17 May “is a very significant block with a lot of stuff that is indoors for the first time, that is the point when we are really going to start to see some very significant risks accumulating, potentially”, he says.

In his view the five-week gap between the steps is the “minimum” to see what impact greater contact is having on transmission of the virus.

Prof Whitty warned that in early March last year there had been two deaths and two weeks later we were in lockdown. It’s a reminder how quickly cases can bounce back and the vaccine is not “a get out of jail card”, as he put it.

The vast majority of under 50s won’t have had the vaccine by Easter – yet they are the people most likely to transmit the virus.

So delaying indoor contact until more people have been protected is critical, in his view.

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