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As the vaccination programme in the UK continues to speed up and immunise swathes of the population many have wondered if there will be another wave of Covid-19. Research shows that there will most likely be another wave in the autumn of 2021. Part of the problem, according to the head of the Office for National Statistics, is that there is significant regional disparity in the level of antibodies among the population. Chris Whitty recently noted that while in London 30% of people have antibodies, the figure is only 16% in South Wales. The vaccine rollout has been impressive and an example for the rest of the world to follow but there is still much more work to be done.
Chris Whitty has also advised against speeding up the process of coming out of lockdown. Politically, the Conservative back benches are pushing for a speedier return to normal life but so far the return has been kept gradual. By mid-May six people from different households will be able to meet indoors and it is this measure which Whitty says has high risk. In the UK, as of the 2nd May, 34 million people have had their first dose and a further 15 million have had both of their doses. The expected next wave is expected to impact those who have not yet had vaccines and those whose vaccines have not worked.
Boris Johnson announced that despite the success of the vaccine programme the surges of cases in the rest of the world are cause for concern. In India, there were 2,771 deaths in 24 hours last week and Turkey has announced another full lockdown. It is not the time to be complacent in the UK, despite over half the population being vaccinated at least once the remaining millions can still be hospitalised or worse. Another worry is that the virus may continue to mutate as cases rise around the world.
The last thing that anyone wants is another extended lockdown and the economic and mental toll that causes for all of us. However, it’s important to be aware of the consequences of quickly lifting restrictions and returning to normal. Would it not be better to return to normal slowly and achieve it for the long term then rush into things and soon be back in lockdown while another wave causes cases to rise around the country? From the available evidence it looks like there will be another wave in autumn or winter, the most important things that we can do are to look after each other and follow medical advice. The vaccination programme has provided the country with hope, lets not get complacent now.