Deputy Chief Medical Officer Predicts Brits ‘Choosing’ to Mask Forever, Regular Vaccines

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Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam has predicted people may “choose” to mask up forever, as well as regular rounds of vaccination, as the coronavirus “is likely to be with us probably for the foreseeable future”.

“The pandemic has changed a lot of things,” the technocrat said in response to a question put to him by The Sun newspaper.

“We all carry hand sanitiser around now, we all expect in most of the places we go into that hand sanitiser is provided at the door,” he said by way of example.

“I think there are going to be people who make a personal decision to say, you know what, when I’m in a crowded place in the winter I’m going to put a face covering on. When I’m on a tube [subway train] I am going to put a face covering on,” he added.

Van-Tam stressed that he did not “think” that “the government has any intention that we should all walk around forever and a day distinguishing each other only by peering through a face covering” — but said he believed some Britons “choose” to “keep some of the infection precautionary behaviour that we have had to adopt as a matter of absolute necessity during Covid” such as masks.

Van-Tam also sounded a note of pessimism on whether there was any real end in sight to the pandemic, even after mass vaccination, saying: “I don’t think we are ever going to take this virus away out of humankind.”

Asked why there was “talk of restrictions next winter” if Boris Johnson’s government intends to have most everyone vaccinated by autumn, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer explained.

“I think the virus is going to continue to change over time, as the disease has already shown signs of doing — and I think the virus is likely to be with us probably for the foreseeable future — probably in the same way that flu is,” he added, before raising the prospect of a possibly endless cycle of vaccinations.

“I can’t tell you how long the vaccine protection is going to last for. We are very hopeful it is going to be in the region of a very high number of months, possibly a small number of years. But we can’t say yet,” he said.

“If the virus is going to continue to change there will come a point where we will have to reformulate the vaccines.”

Van-Tam also confirmed that it is “a flat no” to people asking if they can resume their lives as normal after being vaccinated, and that they must continue avoiding close contact with relatives etc. because “We don’t know if [the vaccines] are effective in preventing transmission”.

“[T]he rules still apply. They apply to the vaccinated and the unvaccinated,” he said.

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