A large number of Covid cases could increase the risk of a virus mutation, an expert said.
Dr. Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick, a member of the Government Advisory Board on Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modeling (Spi-M), was asked about the lockdown on whether Covid cases matter when there are no hospital admissions increasing.
Dr. Tildesley said they were “significantly less important” but “it’s not like they don’t matter at all”.
He added, “The problem is when you have a large number of cases that this increases the risk of a virus mutation and there may be a variant that suddenly dodges the vaccines completely.”
When asked what he meant by a large number, he replied, “A great wave of infections that is gradually reaching the levels we saw in March or January.
“If we have a small spike where we might double the daily number of cases we see now, we might be less concerned about it.
“However, when we get a large wave of cases, the risk increases that new variants will emerge that are more dangerous.
“So it’s not that they don’t play a role at all. But if we find that hospital admissions are not rising, or only rising slightly, we will of course be less worried than in January.”