The idea that Covid variants can be prevented from entering the country is “not realistic”, and Covid ultimately has to be managed Chris Whitty said

At a webinar for the Royal Society of Medicine, England’s chief medical officer said that easing Covid restrictions would likely cause the R-number to rise above 1 and increase the risk of variants gaining a foothold and spreading

The more cases imported, the faster this will happen. As a result, Whitty said, border policy is focused on countries with more cases or more cases of certain variants than the UK

“The UK is a net exporter of [the Kent] B117 variant so other countries are understandably using their border measures against us to slow this down. We are a net importer of other variants which are a little more worrying from a vaccine standpoint. That really is it which drives a lot of politics when it is rational, with the exception that border politics is not always completely rational, ”he said

R or the “effective reproductive number” is a method of assessing the ability of a disease to spread. This is the average number of people to whom an infected person passes the virus.If R is greater than 1, an epidemic grows exponentially to anything below 1 and an outbreak will – at some point – get out of hand

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the estimated R for coronavirus was between 2 and 3 – higher than the value for seasonal flu, but lower than for measles, meaning that each person passes it on to two to three people on average, before it recovers or dies, and for each of those people to pass it on to two to three other people, making the total number of cases snowballs over time

However, the reproduction number is not fixed It depends on the biology of the virus; People’s behavior, such as social distancing; and the immunity of a population. A country may experience regional variations in its R-number depending on local factors such as population density and transport patterns

Whitty said the majority of experts believed that Covid would not go away and that eventually it would need to be treated in a similar way to the flu. In a bad year, the flu can be 20000 to 25Killing 000 people “It’s not the flu, it’s a completely different disease, but the point I am making is that it is a seasonal, very dangerous disease that kills thousands of people every year and unites society has chosen certain path, “he said

While Whitty noted that factors like variants and population density are important, he cautioned against explaining how Covid had affected different countries by focusing on just one or two factors, noting that Germany, despite its previous one Situation was now in a difficult position The success in fighting Covid is largely due to his diagnostic skills

“It’s usually a great combination of factors, some of which are under our control, but many of which are not, and more of it is a coincidence than I think people are willing to accept,” he said,

Whitty said new vaccine technologies are making it easier and faster to optimize vaccines, which will be important in combating new variants of Covid, and he said a broad portfolio of vaccines would likely be available in two years

He said that the main business effort right now is to improve vaccine supplies and that there is less capacity to respond to new variants, while it is unclear whether current vaccines provide an “adequate level” of protection They provide serious illness and death even if they don’t generate high levels of neutralizing antibodies

“What we have to do is find a balance that actually keeps [Covid] down, minimizing deaths as much as possible, but in a way that the population will tolerate and as much of the serious as possible Lifting can do through medical countermeasures, ”he said

Chris Whitty

World news – GB – Chris Whitty: Society must learn to live with Covid in a similar way to living with the flu