A THIRD wave of Covid-19 targeting young people could be the start of a “new pandemic”, one expert has warned.
Vaccines are currently being rolled out across the globe and in the UK, the elderly and the most vulnerable have been at the top of the list – meaning they have high levels of protection against the virus.
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Experts such as Professor Chris Whitty have previously said that the virus will start to infect those who have not yet caught it – as well as people who have not yet received the jab.
He previously said that modelling suggests that there could be another surge in infections “that will find the people who either have not been vaccinated, or the vaccine has not worked”.
Prof Whitty previously told MPs: “Some of them will end up in hospital, and sadly some of them will die. And that’s just the reality of where we are with the current vaccination”.
So far in the UK over 31.5 million Brits have received a first dose of the vaccine with 5.3 having had a second.
But one expert has warned that the Kent variant, named B117, is spreading rapidly amongst young people and could therefore result in a third wave of the virus taking hold.
Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm said: “I believe that, in some ways, we’re almost in a new pandemic.
“The only good news is that the current vaccines are effective against this particular variant, B117.”
The spread of the Kent variant in the UK led to a third lockdown in the UK after tier restrictions were unable to contain the spread of the virus.
The variant is now present in cases across the globe including in the US.
Prof Osterholm, who is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota told NBC that young people are playing a “huge role” in the transmission of the variant.
He explained: “We are just at the beginning of this surge, we haven’t even really begun to see it yet.
“We are now seeing increasing number of severe illnesses [and] ICU hospitalisations in individuals 30 to 50 years of age who have not been vaccinated.”
Across both the UK and in some states in the US, students have gradually been returning to school.
In the UK kids have to be tested twice a week and school staff have to take two tests a week at home.
Prof Osterholm said that unlike previous strains of the virus, kids under the age of 14 hadn’t been getting very ill – and were not being infected often.
He added: “Kids are playing a huge role in the transmission of this.”
This he said is partly due to increased face to face learning, as well as the fact that the virus is continuously evolving.
He said: “There isn’t a country in the world right now that has seen a big increase of this B117 that is not locking down. We’re the exception.
“And so the bottom line message from all of these countries is, we could not control this virus until we did lockdown.
“We have to do a better job of helping the public understand that this is short term. All we’re trying to do is get through this surge of cases that are going to occur over the next six to eight to 10 weeks because of this B117 variant.
Another expert added that there had been an increase in infections in some states due to the fact that younger generations had not yet received a vaccine.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Sunday said that it’s “unlikely” there will be another wave because of infections in younger generations.
Data from the Office for National Statistics in the UK shows that the number of people testing positive for the virus across all age groups has remained stable in the last month.
It stated that the percentage of people testing positive in England decreased in those aged 50 to 69 years in the week ending 27 March 2021.
The most recent reported stated: “Trends are uncertain in all other age groups. Caution should be taken in over-interpreting small movements in the latest trend.”