Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, social distancing and face-covering measures have not only limited the spread ofthe coronavirus, but also many other seasonal infections that would have usually been contaminating the population.
New wave of epidemics
However, now that life has been returning back to pre-pandemic standards, scientists fear that Britain will be facing a new wave of epidemics and they’re predicting that cases of norovirus—a winter vomiting bug that is currently on the rise in the UK—may explode from September.
The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group, stated in a published paper dated 14 July:
SPI-M-O is concerned that September and October 2021 will be a particularly risky point.
During the past 18 months, diseases such as influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and norovirus, have been circulating much less in the population than in previous years.
Their transmission dynamics have changed due to the measures to control COVID-19 and, as a result, there may be a period of unpredictable epidemics of these diseases before their normal seasonal patterns return.
Combination of viruses
What they’re even more worried about is the possibility that the viruses could interact with each other, ‘both in combination and in competition. They wrote:
It is also possible there will be interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and other infections, both in combination and in competition. Any such effects are as yet unknown.
Another concern is that the rising flu and norovirus cases will make it even more difficult to track and monitor COVID cases, especially if both virus transmissions peak at the same time.
Experts from SAGE and various other health officers have warned that the coming autumn and winter seasons are going to be particularly difficult for the NHS. Professor Chris Whitty said during a Downing Street press conference: The winter is inevitably going to be tricky and the NHS is likely to have both Covid and some resurgence of other respiratory viruses that were suppressed by the degree of lockdown last time round.
So I think we should be realistic and this coming winter may be very difficult for the NHS.