COVID-19: People can enjoy Christmas if they are “sensitive” with masks and social distancing this month – first member of JCVI

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COVID-19: People can enjoy Christmas if they are “sensitive” with masks and social distancing this month – first member of JCVI


One of Britain’s leading COVID experts told Sky News that if people are “sensitive” to wearing masks and social distancing in the coming weeks, they should all be able to enjoy Christmas.

But Professor Anthony Harnden, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) also warned that this might not be possible if the new Omicron COVID-19[feminine[feminine variant “takes a real turn for the worse” and “we are not going to find out for a few weeks”.

Currently, 32 cases of the variant have been found in the UK and experts predict that figure will increase.

In the middle of the detection of Omicron, the government recently tightened the rules for PCR testing for travelers returning to the UK and introduced quarantine rules for people from high-risk countries, as well as the return of face coverings to shops and on public transport in England.

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People wearing COVID face masks walk along Regent Street in London. Photo: AP

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Speaking in a question-and-answer session on Sky News, Mr Harnden, professor of primary care at the University of Oxford, said he felt “more positive” than at the same time l last year, because vaccines can “go to great lengths”.

“These vaccines are very good. If people escalate in terms of vulnerability, get the booster shot, and are reasonable with their precautions – it’s social distancing and mask-wearing… then I see no reason why we can’t all benefit. Christmas again. “

JCVI is an independent group of experts who advise the government on vaccinations and the prevention of infectious diseases.

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More data on Omicron “in a few days”

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it had seen reports of symptoms of Omicron cases ranging from mild to severe illness.

“There are indications that some of the patients have mild illness“WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove told reporters.

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No-proof-for-all boosters offer better protection

The organization said earlier this week that preliminary evidence raised the possibility that the COVID The variant has mutations that could help it evade an immune system response and increase its ability to spread from person to person.

But, Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology, said people “shouldn’t be too worried” about the new variant and “don’t panic about it.”

He thinks it’s probably more transmissible than Delta, but not likely to lead to more serious illness than the previous variant.

Professor Tim Spector
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Professor Tim Spector said people “shouldn’t be too worried” about the new variant and “don’t panic about it”

He told Sky News he doesn’t think something ‘is likely to suddenly start over the next three weeks’ in the UK, but warned that if people aren’t as careful and cautious as they should being, there will be a “pickup” in COVID cases in the New Year.

“It will depend on whether Delta collapses because it infected most of the population or whether the new variant is going to take over or infect people who no longer have immunity because they were infected.” by a different virus or a declining vaccine. “

Professor Spector, who co-founded an app that tracks the spread of COVID, added: “I’m more worried about January than December and I hope we don’t have lockdowns. There isn’t a lot of public appetite for it. “

The scientist, who is a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said data collection on Omicron was still in its infancy.

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He added: “In terms of severity, whether it’s more likely that you end up in the hospital or not, everything doesn’t seem to be more serious. It will either be the same or slightly softer than the Delta variant. We are relying on very small amounts of information.

“People who are concerned that this is a really deadly and fatal variant that is spread wildly, there is no evidence that this is the case at all, so people shouldn’t be too worried about it and not panic. on this subject. “

Professor Robert West, who advises SAGE on behavioral health psychology, pointed out that the UK still had around 1,000 deaths per week from COVID without the new variant and ‘there is no sign that we are observing any decrease in that ”.

He warned: ‘The situation, in the absence of the variant, is still quite serious and the NHS has real problems. We all need to do what we need to do to keep infection rates as low as possible indefinitely. “

And on Christmas, he said he won’t be making plans involving gatherings that can’t be changed.

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