High Covid cases and deaths 'very worrying' given it's not even winter yet, warns top scientist

HIGH Covid cases and deaths are "very worrying", an expert has warned.

Professor Peter Openshaw said the large numbers are even more concerning given it's not winter yet – when things are expected to get worse.

He said "we just don't really know what's going to happen" as winter approaches.

Yesterday it was reported another 111 people died, the Government said, while there were 33,904 new lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

Prof Openshaw told Times Radio: "I think it's very worrying. This is a very large number.

"If you think, 34,000 people, that's a lot of people testing positive, and to be seeing over 100 deaths a day at this stage, you know before schools have gone back, while the weather is still relatively good, we're not back into winter yet.

"I think we're all really anxious about what's going to happen once we return to normality."

He added: "We're going into the winter with really very high levels of infection out there in the community and we just don't really know what's going to happen."

Asked if some restrictions might have to be brought back in for winter, he said: "I think the Government is going to be very loath to do that. There seems to be an increasing political polarisation."

It comes as a decision could be made today on who gets Covid booster jabs by Government advisers.

Experts will discuss the age groups in need of a third shot this morning, with cases still high and winter on the horizon.

But Prof Openshaw, also a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) which advises the Government, said more evidence is needed on the benefits that booster jabs might bring.

 

He said: "In terms of boosters, we need more evidence really about what benefits those boosters will bring, because we can't just look at the antibody levels and think that that equates to levels of protection.

"It still seems that you get a lot of protection from these vaccines, even if the antibody levels have drifted down to some sort of stable level."

Sajid Javid confirmed last week he expected the rollout to begin in September – to protect the vulnerable ahead of winter.

He said the plan is for the flu jab to be offered, especially to over 50s, at the same time as their Covid booster jab.

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