England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, has warned that there is a “high chance” that a new Covid variant worse than Omicron will emerge in the next 2 years.
He stated that there is still a “long way to go” because the virus will “throw surprises.” He also stated that the virus, which now poses a similar death threat as flu, will be with us “for the rest of our lives,” according to the Daily Mail.
Whitty stated that the strain could cause “worse problems” than Omicron, that the challenges posed by the current strain are “far from trivial,” and that its emergence could “significantly change our balance of risk.”
He dismissed the notion that Covid has become endemic, saying it is incorrect to assume the virus has reached a “stable state” around the world, despite many countries relaxing restrictions.
“And there’s a high chance that we will all be discussing, and I will be discussing with my colleagues, a new variant at some point in the next two years that actually significantly changes our balance of risk,” he said.
“We could well end up with a new variant that produces worse problems than we’ve got with Omicron and the Omicron problems are by no means trivial,” he added.
SAGE advisors in the UK have warned of a “realistic possibility” of a more lethal variant emerging that kills one in every three people, similar to previous coronaviruses such as MERS.
This is due to the fact that Omicron evolved from a different branch of the virus’s lineage, and there is no guarantee that the next strain will evolve directly from Omicron.
Meanwhile, after a brief lull, Covid cases and deaths are on the rise in the United Kingdom.
However, covid deaths increased by a quarter compared to a week ago, with 250 recorded, according to the report.
Hospital admissions increased 17% in a week, with 1,879 admissions recorded on March 18.
Experts attribute the increase to BA.2, which is now dominant in the country. The strain, however, is not thought to be any more dangerous than the original Omicron variant.
Whitty stated that the BA.2 Omicron variant is responsible for a “significant portion” of the current high rates that are increasing “in virtually all parts of England.”
He said the strain, which is thought to be as contagious as chickenpox, isn’t causing an increase in deaths or intensive care admissions, but “that doesn’t mean it’s not having any impact at all.”