Covid variant: Expert says UK is becoming 'too obsessed'
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Virologist Professor Lawrence Young urged the UK to calm down about new coronavirus variants emerging as it is commonplace to see new mutations pop up regularly considering the UK is one of the best countries in sequencing COVID-19. He added he now calls them “scariants” due to the hysteria that accompanies them and explained people needed to get over variant news. It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed during a Downing Street press conference that 75 percent of all new Covid cases could be the Indian variant.
Speaking to Iain Dale on LBC, the virologist was asked if he had any concerns over whether the new variants could disrupt the June 21 reopening date.
He told the programme: “I think it’s a bit of a knife-edge at the moment.
“I think we’d have to see a much more significant rise in cases, obviously we are working from a very low base.
“The important thing is the vaccine has done a lot of the heavy lifting in breaking the connection between infections and serious disease.
JUST IN: ‘Prize numpty’ Cummings on ‘wrong side of history’ as presenter rages against ex-aide
“And the other thing is this Indian variant is everywhere, it’s already in Europe anyway so I think what we’ve learned about this virus is once it’s out there, it’s out there and it spreads very easily.”
Professor Young was then asked whether the new normal situation was to see new variants replace old ones over time.
He replied: “It’s difficult for me to say this, but I think we get a bit too obsessed with variants – It’s inevitable.
“We need to make sure that our test, trace and isolate system is working properly anyway.
Boris Johnson says vaccine appears effective against all variants
“The good news is that the two doses of vaccination – with any of the currently available approved vaccines – give you really good protection of all the current known variants.
“I’m calling these ‘scariants’ now because every other day there’s a new one that is reported.
“And you know, it’s a product but let’s be honest the fact is in this country we’re really good at sequencing this virus much better than anywhere else in the world.
“So we’re going to find more variants because we’re looking harder for variants.”
Public Health England revealed the number of Indian variant cases has nearly doubled in a week jumping from 3,535 to 6,959.
However, Mr Hancock explained those cases were in isolated regions and were not widespread across the country.
Ten deaths were recorded on Thursday as the Government is still confident the country can reopen on June 21.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson did say the UK may “have to wait” for the country to reopen but added there was nothing in the data yet which showed it would come to pass.
Former scientific advisor Professor Neil Ferguson predicts the country may have to wait three more weeks before reopening.
An LBC report found 110 flights from India came into the UK in the three weeks following its addition to the travel red list.
They estimated around 4,000 passengers may have arrived in the UK from India.
The Government faced widespread criticisms for not adding India to the travel red list sooner as variants and cases began to surge in the east.
Ministers have defended their decisions stating they did not know cases were rising in the way they were at the time.
Source: Read Full Article