Covid-19 will “always be a problem”, the chief medical officer has warned, but that the pandemic situation is expected to improve every six months.
The comments come as England records a new record of daily Covid-19 cases, with 88,367 new infections recorded in the last 24 hours.
The latest record surpassed Wednesday’s previous record by around 10,000 cases.
“Each six months will be better than the last six months,” chief medical officer Chris Whitty told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee today.
“I think what will happen is the risks will gradually decrease over time. It’s incremental, it’s not a sudden thing.”
Anti-viral drugs and vaccines will do “almost all of the heavy lifting”, Whitty added, explaining that the UK will likely have a “much wider range” of medicines to combat the virus.
The latest Omicron variant, which now makes up more than 60 per cent of total cases in London, has triggered the most recent spike in cases.
It is thought that those infected with the new strain, first found in South Africa, are passing it on to between three and five others on average, according to the UK Health Security Agency’s chief medical adviser, Dr Susan Hopkins.
While the current R rate for the Delta strain is around 1.1 and 1.2.