England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam has warned on Wednesday that Christmas could potentially be problematic.
Speaking to the BBC Van Tam was asked how we can prevent another winter lockdown, he said, “I think the things that are really going to determine this are, first of all, human behaviours and caution over the winter months, but particularly in the next couple of months if you’re talking about Christmas, so it’s how cautious we are.
“The next one is how well the vaccination programmes go.”
Professor Van Tam was then asked if we are at “half-time in the game”, he responded, “I would say we’re kind of half-time in extra time, and I think the final whistle in terms of – I can’t predict it – but my personal view is that we’ve got a few more months to run, and I think we’ll be in a much calmer set of waters by spring.
“But I think, until then – caution, be very careful, this is not quite over and vaccines, boosters, really important.”
He said that the pandemic is not over and he personally feels that there are some hard months to come over the winter.
The Professor said, “Too many people believe that this pandemic is now over.
“I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it is not over.
“The caution that people take or don’t take in terms of interacting with each other: That is going to be a big determinant in what happens between now and the darkest months of the winter.”
He warned that cases in the UK are “still very high at the moment” and we are “running quite hot.”
He told BBC Radio 5 Live, “They are higher than in most of Europe.
“And we are running quite hot, I think that’s the right expression.
“And, of course, it’s of concern to scientists that we are running this hot this early in the autumn season.
“And so, from that perspective, I’m afraid it’s caution, followed by caution, and we need to watch these data very carefully indeed over the next days and weeks.”
Professor Van Tam then warned that deaths are now increasing which is “penetrating older age groups.”
He added, “Deaths are increasing – there might be some artefacts in the very latest figure – but essentially deaths are increasing,” he told BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live
“If you then look at hospital admissions, those have plateaued in the last four days. And if you look at the total number of patients in hospital with COVID, those have gone down in the last two or three days, but only a small bit.
“So what that tells me is that we have to just wait and see a bit longer – this could be a pause before things go up, it could be the very first signs that things are beginning to stabilise but at a high rate.”