The legal rules and restrictions around COVID-19 are nearly entirely phased out across the UK. We are now in the new stage of the virus, learning how to live with it and continuing to be more careful with spreading germs.
This does not mean the pandemic is miraculously over, in fact, some science experts have voiced their opinion that the government are relaxing the rules a little too prematurely.Here are 4 things we should watch closely in the months and years ahead of us
The UK has seen multiple variants of Coronavirus since it arrived in the country in 2020, therefore we can only expect to see a further series of mutations in the future. We do have a new significant wall of immunity as well as the vaccinations we have been receiving. This constant change of the virus structure could mean that the new mutation reacts differently, becomes a lot more deadly and easier to spread.
It is clear to see that immunity wanes over the course of time, proven by the number of people who have caught covid more than once and those who are triple vaccinated catching the virus. The protection against catching the virus is wavering quickly, but the protection against dying remains. The best way to control this is to constantly monitor the protection that we have against COVID. Therefore, determine those who will get further vaccine doses and when
Antiviral drug resistance
Drugs that kill the virus are now being used to keep people out of hospital, but there is a risk the virus could evolve and subsequently make the drugs ineffective. The more you use antivirals the larger the risk of resistance, which means they will need to be used carefully in the people with the most to gain from them. This could lead to difficult decisions around treating a patient today and preserving them for the patients of the future. One solution is using several antivirals in combination, which greatly reduces the risk of the virus becoming resistant.
Long Covid has become a prevalent side effect from the virus, more than one in 50 people in the UK have been reported to have Long Covid and more than 500,000 people have persisting symptoms that have lasted over a year! Not everyone can recover from infection and therefore are living with the awful side effects of persistent fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath and muscle/joint ache. It is still unclear whether Long Covid will fade in time as our immunity improves – scientists have suggested that vaccination reduces long covid, but it is not yet entirely eliminated.