UK deputy chief medical officer: People will choose to mask forever, get vaccine yearly
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January 18, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Warning that COVID-19 will be with us “for the foreseeable future,” U.K. deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam suggested that the public “will choose” to incorporate behaviors like social distancing and wearing a face mask into their day-to-day lives, as a change in mentality resulting from government guidelines.
Van-Tam said the “pandemic has changed a lot of things,” for instance “the way you and I approach hand hygiene.”
“We all carry hand sanitiser around now; we all expect in most of the places we go into that hand sanitiser is provided at the door,” he said in his interview with The Sun newspaper.
This kind of behavior, Van-Tam said, will be so ingrained in the national psyche, perhaps through a persistent fear of becoming ill, that “there are going to be people who make a personal decision to say, you know what, when I’m in a crowded place in the winter I’m going to put a face covering on. When I’m on a tube [subway train] I am going to put a face covering on.”
“I think individuals at different levels will choose to keep some of the infection precautionary behaviour that we have had to adopt as a matter of absolute necessity during COVID.”
Believing that the decision to mask up will be willful on the part of individuals and not a function of coercion, Van-Tam announced that he doesn’t “think the government has any intention that we should all walk around forever and a day distinguishing each other only by peering through a face covering.”
But it is not only face masks that Van-Tam predicts will be adopted as a cultural norm. The medical professor also stated that vaccination programs will likely drag on for some time: “I can’t tell you how long the vaccine protection is going to last for. We are very hopeful it is going to be in the region of a very high number of months, possibly a small number of years,” he said, adding that he “can’t say yet.”
“I think the virus is going to continue to change over time, as the disease has already shown signs of doing — and I think the virus is likely to be with us probably for the foreseeable future — probably in the same way that flu is,” Van-Tam warned.
“I don’t think we are ever going to take this virus away out of humankind,” meaning that, if “the virus is going to continue to change, there will come a point where we will have to reformulate the vaccines … just like we do for flu every winter.”
“We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever,” Bancel told the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday. Bancel later added a similar advisory on vaccine development as issued by Van-Tam: “Health officials will have to continuously watch for new variants of the virus, so scientists can produce vaccines to fight them.”
In answer to a question on when people might be able to return to normality, Van-Tam said “no vaccine is going to change and turn the ship around overnight. We are going to have a very difficult couple of months.”
“We don’t know if [the vaccines] are effective in preventing transmission,” Van-Tam cautiously stated, reinforcing that, “[a]lthough it’s a really hard thing for people who have been vaccinated to swallow, the rules still apply. They apply to the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.”
Van-Tam advised that “if people start relaxing now, they are going to give the vaccine a headwind to run into, and they are going to make it harder for us to get those effects we want to see so badly.”
He does not see a way of relaxing restrictions until “we have got tens of millions of people vaccinated,” which could mean waiting until “mid to late Spring.” The deputy chief medical officer fortified his position, declaring that the vaccine will take some months to display any effects, and that “until then, no one can relax.”
Van-Tam warned against dissent from strictly adhering to current government guidance and restrictions around COVID-19, saying “[we] are just not in a safe space at all. And people cannot afford to make up their own rules,” later adding that “all the rules apply all of the time.”
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