Covid-19: Experts warn return to normal will take 2 yrs...

Dhaka, Sunday   25 October 2020

Covid-19: Experts warn return to normal will take 2 yrs

 International Desk daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 09:25 PM, 9 October 2020  

Covid-19: Experts warn return to normal will take 2 yrs

Covid-19: Experts warn return to normal will take 2 yrs

Experts have warned that it could take two years to bring coronavirus (Covid-19) under control and for life to return to normal even with a vaccine.

A prominent Spanish virologist has said the Covid-19 pandemic will be a "marathon" and people living in many parts of the world will likely be wearing masks for a couple of years.

Teams around the world are working on a vaccine, but it is thought that the first ones will not be rolled out for public use until the end of this year or in early 2021.

In the UK, life is to be further disrupted as early as Monday when new Covid-19 restrictions are announced for England amid a second wave of the virus.

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people living in coronavirus hotspots could be told to shield this winter under plans reportedly being considered by the Government as infections continue to soar.

Dr Margarita del Val, head of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) - Salud Global/Global Health, warned that the wearing of face masks will be necessary in some countries for at least a couple of years.

The expert told Market Watch said packages of measures and lifestyle changes will be required to keep the virus under control.

Dr del Val said: "We have to get used to wearing a mask and taking a couple of measures for a couple of years, and integrate them into our daily lives, forget about them, they will turn into something that is useful to you.

"We will get over this in some years, but we don’t have to expect this is going to be a hundred-metre run.

"It’s going to be a marathon.”

She urged people to wear wear face masks and practice social distancing when they leave their homes.

In the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration's top infectious disease expert, warned last week that public health measures would still be required even if 80 per cent of the population was vaccinated.

Restrictions are expected to be tightened next week as ministers are reportedly discussing plans for a new three-tier "traffic light" system for local lockdown rules in England.

Those most at risk if they contract Covid-19 could be told to shield at home for over the winter months.

A decision on shielding had not been finalised and may be delayed because of fears for the mental health of those told to avoid seeing other people, the Times reported.

Around 2.2 million people in England deemed "clinically extremely vulnerable" were asked to shield at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, before the scheme was "paused" in July.

The Government is being urged to take swift action to curb the spread of the virus after a further 17,540 lab-confirmed cases were reported on Thursday.

Skills minister Gillian Keegan said on BBC Question Time: "This is serious - it is getting out of control, and we have to do something to bring it back under control."

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said coronavirus was "holding a gun" to Boris Johnson's head over the restrictions being introduced, adding that the nation faces an anxious wait to see the full impact on the NHS.

He said: "In the north of England now, we are not that far away from the health service being stretched.

"Because even if we turn the epidemic around now, infections that occur today won't go to hospital for another week or two."

Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said the increase in cases should "serve as a warning to the Government to take further action without delay".

"It is clear that the consequences of not suppressing infections sufficiently over the summer may be severe if we cannot get on top of this increase," he said.

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Friday that evidence presented to MPs by England's chief medical officer showed 30% of coronavirus infections are coming through hospitality.

He told BBC Breakfast: "The evidence that Chris Whitty shared with my colleagues, northern MPs yesterday, does demonstrate that between restaurants, bars and cafes about 30% of the infections are coming through that hospitality, social interactions, if I can describe it as such.

"And it is only right that we take action with the local leadership, with public health local teams, because they know their area best."

DailyBangladesh/SA