England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said Covid-19 “has not thrown its last surprise'

Speaking at the NHS Confed Conference, he said he is anticipating that case rates will continue to go up in the next few weeks due to the Delta variant being “significantly more transmissible” than the Alpha variant.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 3:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 3:45 pm

“In terms of the medium term, my expectation is that we will get a further winter surge, late autumn/winter surge, and that is because we know that winter and autumn favour respiratory viruses, and therefore it’d be very surprising if this particular highly transmissible respiratory virus was not also favoured,” he said.

Prof Whitty said most people think there will be “further problems over the winter”, adding: “How big they’ll be I think is uncertain, and that partly depends on do we get new variants which can evade vaccines better, and partly depends on how the current wave passes through the UK.

“Then in terms of the medium to longer term, if I look five years out, I would expect us to have polyvalent vaccines which will hold the line to a very large degree against even new variants as they come in and an ability to respond with vaccination to new variants.

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Professor Chris Whitty, during a media briefing in Downing Street

“But the period over the next two or three years, I think, new variants may well lead to us having to revaccinate or consider boosting vaccination as they come through.

“So, I think we have to just be aware that Covid has not thrown its last surprise at us and there will be several more over the next period.”