UK Is Over Worst, Says Ferguson – But Politicians Mustn't Just Forget Virus
The Guardian|January 24, 2022
The UK is past the worst of the Covid pandemic but should be braced for some “possible bumps on the road”, according to the scientist who helped shape Britain’s lockdown strategy.
Nicola Davis

Prof Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London , said things were looking up as the country passed the peak of yet another wave of coronavirus infections.

“ I am optimistic that the bulk of the pandemic, in terms of deaths and hospitalisations, is behind us. Though we should still be prepared for some possible bumps on the road,” he said, add ing that any new variants – which were highly likely to arise – may have a less dramatic impact than Omicron.

“ The very high level of immunity in the UK population – acquired via both vaccination and infection – means that the risk of a new variant causing unmanageable levels of healthcare demand is much reduced,” he said. “An additional positive is that if any new variant arises from Omicron – not a certainty – there is a fair chance it will retain the reduced severity of that strain.”

Ferguson said a key development was Covid vaccines, in particular those based on mRNA technology, while important lessons had also been learned, such as the need for data to make informed decisions. “Compared with now, in March 2020 we were basically blundering around in the dark in terms of our real knowledge of how much infection was in the country.”

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