An epidemiologist said people should take UK lockdown measures seriously as “we are now in the eye of a storm”.
Professor Peter Horby, chair of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag), told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, “I really hope people take this very seriously. It was bad in March, now it’s much worse.
“We have seen record numbers across the board, record numbers of cases, record numbers of hospitalizations, record numbers of deaths.
“We are now in the eye of a storm, so to speak, and people must take this extremely seriously.”
The number of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 is at a record high in England, while the official coronavirus death toll in the UK exceeded 80,000 on Saturday and laboratory-confirmed cases topped three million.
He said the current lockdown measures may need to be tightened further if they are found not to work against the virus.
“Now we are in a situation where everything that was risky in the past is now riskier. So we have to be very, very strict with the measures.”
“It remains to be seen whether the current restrictions are sufficient. It will be a week or two before it becomes clear. They may be enough, but we have to be very vigilant and, unfortunately, if there are signs that this is not the case, we have to be even stricter. “
He also said that the information so far about the success of vaccines against new variants is “very encouraging”.
“So far, the data we have is encouraging that the vaccines are still working just as well (against new variants).
“We need more data, but so far it’s very encouraging.”
He said people might need to get a coronavirus vaccine “every few years” if it needs to be updated against new variants, adding that the virus “won’t go away”.
He said, “This (virus) is not going to go away in my opinion. We’ll have to live with it, but that can change a lot.
“It could well become an endemic virus that is with us all the time and can cause seasonal pressures and some excessive deaths, but not the major disruption we see now.”