Covid warning: UK faces three new waves this year amid surge in cases

Covid warning: UK faces three new waves this year amid surge in cases

WATCH NOW: GB News discuss coronavirus restrictions

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 15/01/2024

- 22:40

Britons could face a couple of Covid waves in 2024

Scientists have warned the UK could be hit by up to three more coronavirus waves after the current spike in cases drops.

Another winter wave at the end of 2024 is “almost certain” amid the highly-contagious spread of subvariant JN1.

JN1 accounted for 70 per cent of cases in the UK on January 6, up from three per cent at the start of November.

However the current beat appears to have been abated after new figures released by the UK Health Security Agency on Thursday suggest Covid infections fell by 25 per cent to 1.9 million in the two weeks after January 3.

People arrange boxes at a free Covid-19 rapid lateral flow test kit handout point on Hoe Street in Walthamstow

People arrange boxes at a free Covid-19 rapid lateral flow test kit handout point


However, the UKHSA said that figures over Christmas and New Year should be treated with caution “in the light of changes in patterns of healthcare use, social mixing and lagged reporting due to the holidays”.

Cases could rise after last fortnight’s brief fall as children go back to school and adults return to work.

Paul Hunter, professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, told i: “We will almost certainly see another wave next winter and probably one or more peaks between now and then.”

He argued waves will likely be smaller than the current one in terms of case numbers.

Positive covid test

Covid resurgence continue to hit Britain in 2024


The current wave peaked in December with more than four per cent of the population infected.

However, Professor Hunter added: “It is still possible that we get a new variant that would push up infections though I don’t think we would see much of an increase in severe disease.”

Covid is also a lot less potent than it was a year ago.

Immunity through prior infections and vaccinations appear to have provided a shield of protection to millions of Britons.

A doctor vaccinates a man with Comirnaty Pfizer BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Berlin

The Covid vaccine has helped boost immunity to the virus


Hunter, who is a member of the National Institute for Health Research’s Health Protection Research Unit, explained: “I suspect a greater proportion of these infections will be asymptomatic than we were seeing last time we measured that over a year ago.”

Steve Griffin, professor of Cancer Virology at Leeds University’s School of Medicine, added: “I’m afraid I see much the same pattern for 2024 as we did in 2023.

“Covid’s continued rapid and seemingly limitless evolutionary capacity means we have multiple waves every year.

“Thankfully, the number of people succumbing to acute infection has fallen to around half the 2022 level during 2023, which was approximately half of 2021.”

Professor Karl Friston, a virus modeller at University College London, also said: “The most likely trajectory will be a lull in the summer with prevalences of less than one per cent with a resurgence next winter of about half the number of cases of the current wave.”

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