The UK could see a surge in Covid infections over the summer months, a scientist has warned.
Professor Adam Finn from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was right in saying that the UK will see a further wave of coronavirus cases, as the nation is likely to see a “summer surge” of infections.
Prof Finn told BBC Breakfast: “I’m afraid he is right, yes. The models that we’ve seen on JCVI clearly point to a summer surge in cases as the lockdown is relaxed, because there are still many people in the adult population who’ve not been immunised and who will therefore start to transmit the infection between each other.”
However, the scientist said there was “quite a wide range of uncertainty” over how big the next Covid wave will be, as this “depends on how quickly the vaccine rollout continues forward, the supplies of vaccine and so on, and how many people come forward to receive vaccination, and also it depends on how people behave as the lockdown is gradually relaxed.”
Prof Finn added that if people move “too far forward” when lockdown restrictions begin to ease, “we’ll see things start to come up earlier.”
“The sense that the problem is all over, I’m afraid.. is a flawed one, we’re still in a vulnerable situation, and there are still significant numbers of people who potentially could be harmed by this infection if this happens,” he added.
In regards to whether the next changes planned by the Government for England from 17 May might need to be adjusted, Prof Finn said: “This is a balancing act, isn’t it? People want to have some kind of certainty and businesses want to know how to plan, but on the other hand I think it’s always been presented as a provisional timetable, based on what actually happens.”
Prof Finn added that if the Government does start to see significant rises in Covid cases in some areas of the country, then “they may need to adjust back those dates in order to avoid the situation coming into effect.”
“It’s a bit hard to be definite about this because by definition it’s uncertain,” he said.