A leading virologist from Imperial College London has warned the UK the new JN.1 Covid wave could “be bigger than any before.”
Professor Peter Openshaw is warning people across the UK to prepare for a “major surge” in cases and there could be a return to wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the new JN.1 variant.
Professor Openshaw said that the JN.1 variant accounts for two thirds of cases in the UK, and he warned of “quite a major surge” to hit in the coming weeks, adding that cases have not yet peaked.
Professor Openshaw told The Sun, “We’re going to see quite a major surge in infections over the coming weeks – the wave could be bigger than anything we’ve seen before.
“To help stop the spread, those who haven’t had the Covid booster should consider wearing face masks in public places, like on trains, when shopping and at large events.”
Professor Christina Pagel of University College London (UCL), added, “Unfortunately, it is likely that this JN.1 wave has not yet peaked and will peak mid-January, either next week or the week after.
“I am sure this wave will rival the first two Omicron waves in 2022 and might even exceed them,” she previously told i news.
Professor Jonathan Bell, a virologist from the University of Nottingham and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said the rise in JN.1 cases is a “sign of things to come.”
“New variants will continue to evolve, replace pre-existing variants causing major outbreaks of infection.”
He added, “I don’t think this [particular] rise is too concerning. We know that in the majority of people vaccines continue to protect against serious disease, that’s why it’s important for vulnerable people to ensure that they’ve had their latest vaccine booster jab.”