Journalists asked for comment on the comments made by Prof Karol Sikora on BBC Politics Live about whether the virus has changed/mutated, and whether or not the virus might ‘fizzle out’.
Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton, said:
“It would be very dangerous to promote the idea that the virus is ‘fizzling out’. The pandemic is accelerating globally. In the most recent WHO situation report, there were 1.8 million confirmed new COVID-19 cases, an increase in the number of new cases from the week before, and bringing the total number of cases over the last six months to >25 million. There is also the emerging evidence base around ‘long COVID’, with health consequences in even relatively mild cases.
“We are a long way from being anywhere near the concept of being able to say that COVID-19 is ‘fizzling out’.”
Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, said:
“The notion that SARS-CoV2 has somehow changed to become less pathogenic is flawed. Whilst the virus genome drifts gradually in sequence and some changes have become widespread, there is no evidence to suggest that the virus is in any way attenuated.
“Whilst the number of deaths and hospitalisations has lessened in the UK, this is proportionate to case numbers and heavily influenced by the changes to patient demographics.
“Worldwide, the pandemic continues to cause devastation and human suffering, disproportionately affecting those least well off. Overall, the rise and fall in cases correlates with non-pharmaceutical interventions, falling when they are implemented and potentially rising again when they are relaxed unless community transmission is halted. This is NOT fizzling out in any sense. Minimising the seriousness of this disease risks resurgence on a troubling scale.”
Skip to 16:14 here for the original interview: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000m7p7/politics-live-01092020
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