Further coronavirus surge inevitable and disease will be with us for years to come says Sheffield public health boss

A further wave of coronavirus is inevitable and the disease will be with us for years to come, Sheffield’s most senior public health official has said.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 2:28 pm

In his latest weekly ‘position statement’, the city’s director of public health Greg Fell said that while cases, hospitalisation and deaths were all heading in the right direction, worries about what might happen in the autumn and winter to come were still ‘a concern’.

But he said that because of the effective lockdown and the ‘spectacular’ success of the vaccination programme, the UK was now in a very strong position to open up cautiously in time for summer.

He said: “There will be a further surge - there are no two ways about that. The question is when and how severe.

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Director of Public Health in Sheffield, Greg Fell.

“The B117 variant will find non-vaccinated people and if you think it is all over look at what is happening in continental Europe right now.

"The majority of any further surge will happen in the non-vaccinated and it is impossible to predict how that will play out.”

However, Mr Fell added that in the longer term, the country would have to learn to live with the virus by changing our behaviour to minimise the risk of further outbreaks.

He said: “I think the virus will be circulating around the world for many years to come and forms of adaptation like the low-touch economy and vaccination will be with us for a long time.

“We will have to balance the clinical harm of the virus in a vaccinated population with the social harm (of contuned restrictions).”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.