Jonathan Van-Tam claims Britain’s Covid crisis is going to be “lot calmer” after Easter… But a dour scientist warns that we need to prepare for eight more years of misery

  • The deputy chief medical officer of England gave a upbeat diagnosis today
  • He said that this would depend on how the booster program is implemented.
  • Professor Tim Spector however stated that Covid outbreaks could last as long as eight years. 

Britain’s Covid crisis is set to become ‘a lot calmer’ after Easter, Jonathan Van-Tam predicted today — but other scientists warned it could drag on another eight years.

England’s deputy chief physician officer for medicine warned of unforeseen bumps in the road, and said that things were becoming more difficult to predict.

He said this at a medical conference: “I believe, generally speaking,” the waters would be calmer after Easter.

Professor Van-Tam cautioned that this would depend on the success of the rollout of booster doses which are now being offered to everyone over 50.

He spoke in direct contradiction to Professor Tim Spector (eminent epidemiologist), who said that the seasonal flu could be difficult to manage and take years.

‘We need to be thinking in terms of time scales — it is not in months, it is not by next Christmas, it is a question as to whether it will be three years or eight years,’ he said. 

It came as Britain’s daily coronavirus cases rose for the first time in over a week today but hospital and death rates continued to fall.

According to Covid Dashboard, there were 42,408 infections that occurred in the last 24 hours. This is a 14% increase over the previous week.

Cases had been in freefall since late October — believed to be due to growing immunity in children — except for one blip on November 1, when they rose by around 9 per cent.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the Covid pandemic would likely be 'a lot calmer' by Easter

But Professor Tim Spector who runs a Covid symptom study said it could take eight years before the virus finally fades into the background

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam left said that the Covid pandemic will likely be “a lot quieter” by Easter. However, Professor Tim Spector (right), who oversees a Covid symptoms study, said that it may take up to eight years for the virus to fade into the background.

Speaking at an annual Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicines conference, Professor Van-Tam said that he was asked hundreds of times each week about when the Covid crisis might come to an end.

He added: ‘My answer to that is I think we have to be very cautious at the moment. 

According to Spector, every Brit should receive a third Covid jab.

Professor Tim Spector, today stating that every Brit should get a booster shot of the Covid vaccination, has stated that.

At the moment, top-up jabs will be offered to those over 50 who received their first jab no later than six months ago.

But the top epidemiologist — who runs a study monitoring Covid — said the third dose should also be given to younger age groups once they have waited as long. 

He stated to the Royal Society of Medicines’ Covid Series: “We should expand the vaccination program so that it includes three shots.”

“We are aware that they only last for three to four months before starting to fade.

‘But once they’ve got that third shot — and we see it in Israel — their immunity is better.’

He asked the Government to change the way they refer to third-dose boosters as “completing the course”.

“Finishing the course” was his message.

“The epidemiology [Covid situation]The future is not certain, but it can turn in the right direction or the wrong.

‘And even if it turns for the better in the next couple of weeks, that’s a different question to will it stay for the better between now and the spring.’

He added: ‘I think we can expect some bumps and twists and turns, but I think right now it is hard to predict them.

“It is very dependent on the continuation of the vaccination rollout and especially the booster programme as to how important those twists, turns and worrying points are. 

“We have already seen very encouraging data about Israel from their booster programme.”

Professor Van Tam also cautioned that if a new variant of the virus emerges, it could cause vaccine-triggered immune deficiency. This would lead to a major setback and delay in the timeline. 

Speaking today at a Royal Society of Medicines conference earlier in the day, Professor Spector was also asked when the pandemic might be over.

This assessment was more negative and drew comparisons to Spanish flu pandemic. 

‘We need to be thinking in terms of time scales — it is not in months, it is not by next Christmas, it is a question as to whether it will be three years or eight years.

“We all hope it will continue to evolve to become more transmissible, but milder.

“Hopefully it will fade out, and it won’t be all that bad the next five- to seven years.”

He stated, “It’ll be exactly like having a permanent flu epidemic that we must deal with.”

Globally, the Spanish flu claimed 50 million lives. Covid was responsible for 5 million deaths. 

Britain’s Covid cases have been trending downwards since the week before half-term — when scientists said enough immunity may have built up to curb transmission of the virus.