May 18, 2020
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Coronavirus Will Not Just Go Away And May Be Here For Years, Top Medic Warns
The world may have to live with Coronavirus “for several years”, the deputy chief medical officer has warned.
Jonathan Van-Tam echoed previous warnings that a vaccine may never be developed for Covid-19.
That is despite the fact the government on Sunday said the UK would be first in line for 30m doses of Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine by September if it passes trials.
Van-Tam told the Downing Street daily briefing: “Maybe people are just hoping and praying that this virus will just go away, as indeed I hope and pray it will.
“But the reality is that, certainly until we get a vaccine, and only if we get a vaccine that is really capable of suppressing disease levels, will we ever be what you could call ‘out of this’.
“And so from that perspective we may have to live and learn to live with this virus in the long term, and certainly for many months to come, if not several years.
“A vaccine may change that but we can’t be sure we will get a vaccine.”Van-Tam spoke as Dominic Raab said it was “not sustainable” to keep the lockdown in place “permanently” but that the government was monitoring the impact of the easing of restrictions.
The foreign secretary said: “It is true to say that making any changes inherently comes with some risk of spreading the virus compared with simply staying at home.
“But it is also true that staying in permanent lockdown is itself not sustainable on health grounds or economic grounds.
“That is why we have only eased measures where it can be done with the lowest risk possible.
“That’s also why we are watching the impact of every change we make very closely.”
Van-Tam said the country had to prepare in case Covid-19 came back in the autumn and winter.
“One of the things that’s very clear with flu viruses is that they come in our cold winters and the levels of transmission and circulation decline over the summer months,” he said.
“The data we have on other coronaviruses we have looked at very carefully, and it’s not clear that these coronaviruses are as seasonal as influenza.
“But there may be an element of seasonality and it may well be that the autumn and winter conditions provide a better environment for the virus to then do its work again.”
Meanwhile, Van-Tam played down the importance the NHS track and trace app currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight and looks like it will be delayed.
He suggested that human contact tracers may play a more important role on the test, trace and isolate strategy the government wants to introduce to combat the spread of Covid-19. 
“The app is one part of the test and trace system, the rest is much more of the tried and tested methodology used by Public Health England for this and many other diseases,” he said.
Van-Tam also stressed that the the current testing programme needs to be “bigger and faster”.
“We are sending a clear message as scientists that it needs to be fast and we need to work as hard as we can to improve the timeliness of the testing system as we go along,” he said.Related... UK Records 160 More Coronavirus Deaths In 24 Hours As Latest Care Home Data Released These Symptoms Have Been Linked To Positive Coronavirus Tests – But Aren't Officially Listed Grant Shapps Hints At 'Air Bridges' Between UK And Low-Risk Nations
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Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

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