| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

‘Pretty miserable winter’ ahead due to new respiratory viruses: UK scientists

“Fourth wave winter,” this is how  Professor Calum Semple of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) described next winter. “Children and the elderly, will be particularly vulnerable to endemic viruses by the end of the year, he told Times Radio.

“there`s a sting in the tail after every pandemic” because social distancing will have reduced people`s exposure to usual endemic respiratory viruses such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Meanwhile, Susan Hopkins, Public Health England`s director for COVID-19, warned “we may have to do further lockdowns this winter” depending on whether hospitals start to become overwhelmed.

“I think we will have alternative ways to manage this, through vaccination, through anti-virals, through drugs, through testing that we didn`t have last winter,” she told the BBC.

Scientists have indicated that the third wave of coronavirus infections is probably started in England due to the rapid spread of the Delta variety initially found in India, despite the fact that hospital admissions are unlikely to be as high as they were in January.

The recent data published by Public Health England showed the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 per cent effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant after two doses, and the Pfizer vaccine, 96 per cent effective.

According to the most recent official numbers, more than 42.6 million people have received the first dosage of the coronavirus vaccination, with more than 31 million receiving a second dose.

Experts have warned that coronavirus could mutate for years and that current vaccines could eventually fail to protect against transmission, illness, and perhaps death.