• New Covid strain, Pirola, could overwhelm NHS
• UKHSA advisers admit new strain is a concern
• MPs call for sense of calm & to not run down “rabbit holes of fear”
Experts from Independent SAGE have called for everyone to be eligible for Covid booster shots due to fears of a new strain, Pirola, which could overwhelm the NHS. Pharmacies have already run out of Covid tests and health officials have urged Britons to stay alert to the new strain. The authorities are taking the strain more seriously and have announced that Covid testing and community surveillance will be scaled up ahead of winter.
Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh, an Oxford professor and member of Independent SAGE, has suggested everyone should be eligible for a jab. There is no evidence that Pirola is any more of a threat than other strains, but scientists have urged for increased pandemic mitigation measures, including mask wearing and increased ventilation.
MP Craig Mackinlay has urged caution and advised against running down “rabbit holes of fear and hyperbole”. He believes that Covid should just be treated as another form of flu and that the country cannot afford further lockdowns or for the NHS to grind to a halt.
Here we go again. According to the Mail, “experts” (from Independent SAGE, naturally) have called for everyone to be eligible for another Covid booster amid fears the new “concerning” Pirola Covid variant could overwhelm the NHS.
Some pharmacies have also already run out of Covid tests, as health officials urged Brits to stay alert to the new strain.
It comes less than 24 hours after health officials U-turned again on the autumn Covid and flu jab drive start date, bringing it forwards from October to September 11th.
And in another sign the authorities are taking the heavily mutated strain, Pirola, known scientifically as BA.2.86, more seriously, officials also confirmed Covid testing and community surveillance would be “scaled up” ahead of this winter.
But MPs today called for calm and warned against “running down any rabbit holes of fear”.
There is currently no evidence that Pirola is any more of a threat than the dozens of strains that have come before it.
But scientists have called for a return of pandemic mitigation measures, including mask wearing, and increased ventilation because of the virus’ resurgence.
Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh, an internationally-renowned expert in primary care [and noted Covid alarmist], based at the University of Oxford, also suggested everyone should be made eligible for a jab.
The professor, who is also a member of Independent SAGE, a group of academics that called for No. 10 to adopt an Australian-style Covid elimination strategy early on in the pandemic, tweeted: “Might be a good idea to vaccinate everyone.”
Others have instead urged Ministers to re-consider vaccine eligibility criteria, after the Government ditched plans earlier this month to offer the jabs to under-65s this winter.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, told MailOnline: “It stresses the need to keep an eye on Covid infections as we enter the autumn and winter.
“With people returning to work and schools reopening after the summer break, we need to raise awareness of the risks of infection particularly for the most vulnerable.
“The Government should expedite the autumn vaccination campaign and extend this to people below the age of 65.
“There should also be more public information alerting folk to the fact that Covid has not gone away and that other mitigations — face masks, increased ventilation — will be necessary over the coming months.”
Health officials are spooked by Covid strain, Pirola, that is quickly spreading globally due to its catalogue of mutations.
BA.2.86 carries an array of more than 30 mutations on its spike protein, which is the part of the virus that vaccines were designed to target.
Several have unknown functions but others are thought to help the virus evade the immune system.
Earlier this month, UKHSA advisers admitted the variant was a concern and revealed its “rapid appearance” suggested “established international transmission”.
Just to make sure we get the point, the Mail kindly embeds a clip of Sir Jeremy Farrar from the Covid Inquiry telling us we’re living in a “pandemic age”. With Farrar now Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation – the international body with the sole power to declare a pandemic – one suspects this may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Give it a rest, will you.
Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, attempted to maintain some sense of calm. He told MailOnline:
New Covid fears on the back of a new potential variant are already becoming over-inflated.
With the Covid Inquiry not likely to report for some years the best we can do is look at countries like Sweden and some U.S. states that didn’t have such an extreme response to the Covid period.
I certainly hope we won’t be running down any rabbit holes of fear and hyperbole this time. We need to treat Covid in whatever new form it takes as just another form of flu.
The country cannot afford further lockdowns or for the NHS to grind to a halt.
Probably not worth reading in full.