As war, famine, and political in-fighting dominate the discourse of public conversation, there is one thing some suggest many are beginning to forg
As war, famine, and political in-fighting dominate the discourse of public conversation, there is one thing some suggest many are beginning to forget, COVID-19. Although the war in Ukraine, cost-of-living crisis, and actions of the government are currently on the tips of many a tongue, Covid continues to exist, spread, and take the lives of Britons every day. In recent weeks, the number has fallen to less than 100, a positive step away from the peaks seen in the winter months. However, amid growing concerns around the spread of Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, there is a high likelihood Covid will return to the fore soon.
So too will its impact on everyday life.
While there are currently no restrictions in the UK, there are fears BA.4 and BA.5 could change that.
As well as these sub-variants potentially causing the return of restrictions, there are worries coronavirus could be changing the behaviour of other viruses.
Doctors in the United States have started to notice a change in how the flu virus is acting.
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Flu is normally a seasonal virus in that it tends to peak in the winter months.
However, doctors in the United States have started to notice more people catching a cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses in the spring and summer.
Infection control expert Professor Thomas Murray said: “That’s not typical for any time of year and certainly not typical in May and June.”
As a result, doctors and scientists are rethinking their timelines, particularly regarding the promotion of flu vaccines.
The University Health in San Antonio’s Theresa Barton said the new shift had made her rethink her protocols and increase the promotion of the flu vaccines in March and April.
Meanwhile, Epidemiologist at eMed Michael Mina described the changes as “a massive natural experiment”, one that could be explained by society’s comparative lack of exposure to these viruses in recent years.
As well as case numbers rising, Professor Murray added the intensity of the illnesses is changing too: “When people are getting colds, they do seem to be a little worse.”
While this may sound concerning, Professor Murray said the changes were for the most part anecdotal.
Amid these changes, there are fears the public could be concerned about how their bodies will cope with the change in the viral calendar.
Fortunately, there is little to worry about says Mina as the body’s immune system has “enough memory to make it more like a good hearty booster rather than a bad infection”.
In reality, the flu season moving further into spring will be easy for the body to adapt to and learn from.
Should this change be seen worldwide, it could have detrimental consequences for health services under strain.
Services such as the NHS normally see their peaks during the winter months.
If the respiratory illness season moves further into each new year, the peak too will be extended.
As a result, it is crucial that said health services receive the funding they require to be braced against the wave of that peak.
The NHS has been under immense strain since 2010, one campaigners say has to be eased by increased spending and reform.