There will ‘definitely’ be another surge in Covid infections, Professor Chris Whitty warns

23 March 2021, 15:52 | Updated: 23 March 2021, 20:22

Chris Whitty says the Covid-19 crisis will cause a "long rain shadow".
Chris Whitty says the Covid-19 crisis will cause a "long rain shadow". Picture: PA

By Harriet Whitehead

"There will definitely be another surge at some point," England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned, as the UK marked the first anniversary of lockdown.

Whitty was addressing the Public Health Conference 2021, organised by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH).

He said that the Covid-19 crisis will cause a "long rain shadow" but said the "path from here on in does look better" as the UK looks to recover from the pandemic.

Prof Whitty said: "The path from here on in does look better than the last year."

He added: "There will definitely be another surge at some point whether it's before winter or next winter, we don't know.”

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Prof Whitty also warned that variants and “stockout of vaccines” will cause problems.

He said: “Variants are going to cause problems, there will be stockouts of vaccines and no doubt there will be multiple problems at a national level but also at a local level - school outbreaks, prison outbreaks, all those things that people are dealing with on a day-to-day basis."

The chief medical officer told delegates “there's going to be a long rain shadow to COVID” as “there will be many people who were close to deprivation who will now have been shoved further into it by the effects of lockdown and all of the things we've had to do,”.

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He added: “So there is going to be a very big job of work to do in terms of recovery and these are going to hit, in particular, people in their early working lives.

"These effects could, if we're not very careful, be lifelong and that'll be exacerbated by reductions in face-to-face learning in school and indeed in college, further education and universities, which are one of the most powerful engines for reducing deprivation over generations.”

Whitty also added that there will likely be long-term problems arising lockdown, such as people having missed health screenings, “this may well have a significant effect on cancers being detected later," he said.

READ MORE: Royals lead tributes as UK marks one year since first coronavirus lockdown

With the official death toll passing 126,172, Boris Johnson has warned a third wave of Covid-19 cases being seen in France and Italy could "wash up on our shores as well".

Yet Johnson has confirmed Covid-19 restrictions are being eased "once and for all" as the UK marks the anniversary of the first lockdown.

The Prime Minister offered his "sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones" and praised the "great spirit" displayed ahead of the nation pausing in remembrance on Tuesday.