When in conversation with BBC Breakfast, Andrew Hayward—a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said that he believed the third wave has started in the UK.
The driving force behind the surge might be the new ‘variant of concern’ that has been on everyone’s radar, the Indian variant. Hayward, who is also a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London, expressed concern over the rate at which this variant has been able to spread within households and other parts of the community. He said:
This strain can circulate very effectively... I don't really see why it wouldn't continue to spread in other parts of the country.
Wales Online reported that when he was asked about whether or not the UK is at the start of a new wave, Hayward replied saying, 'I think so.'
Surge in cases
On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the number of cases linked to the Indian variant had jumped by 28%. Now, nearly 3000 cases have been reported in the country. This increase has prompted the government to amp up their surge testing and vaccination. Hancock stated:
What this means in practice is we are putting in place more testing and more testing sites.
On vaccinations, we are making more vaccinations available to everyone who is eligible.
The good news is that initial research has found that vaccines have been proving to behighly effectiveagainst this COVID strain. But caution is still required, especially given that experts believe this variant to be more transmissible than others. Hayward told BBC:
Obviously we're doing everything we can to contain the spread of that but it's likely that more generalised measures may start to be needed to control it.