The measures announced yesterday in a bid to slow the spread of omicron are in line with “scientifically sensible” actions, a Sage adviser has suggested.
Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool, would not be drawn on the political response to the virus – but signalled his support for a strategy that gives more time for researchers to learn specific details about omicron.
“With what we know of the biology of this virus it would be scientifically sensible to take steps to give time for our booster campaign to get ahead of the virus and to better understand the virus,” he told Sky News.
“We don’t want people to panic because the vaccine boosters we have are so good at raising antibody levels. We can be optimistic that people that have been vaccinated and have been boosted will be protected from severe disease.”
Prof Semple noted the “expectation” was that the omicron variant will displace the delta variant, which is currently dominant globally, but predicted Christmas would be “much better” than last year’s.
Asked whether masks make enough of a difference, he alluded to “definitive research” in the British Medical Journal this week showing that “it absolutely does reduce transmission” of Covid. He added that a combination of “hands, face, space absolutely works… I do welcome the news we’ll be wearing face masks in England”.