Why face masks might make a comeback across Lincolnshire
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With two new variants – EG.5 and BA.2.68 – currently on the rise throughout the UK, members of the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies have warned a new wave of infections might be imminent.
They noted the infection rate across the UK has jumped from a mere 3.3 people in every 100,000 to 7.2 in less than a month.
Prof Christina Pagel, of the independent SAGE group, concluded the potential wave is in its “very very early days”, but, the numerous mutations in the BA.2.68 strain make it particularly noteworthy.
There is no evidence to suggest these new strains are deadlier than any of their predecessors, especially as hospital admissions due to the virus in late July stood at just 1.97 per 100,000 people, in stark contrast to the 36 per 100,000 recorded in January 2021.
However, this development might reignite concerns among individuals battling the effects of long Covid, or those who mourned the loss of a loved one during the pandemic.
Although numbers may increase over time, Lincolnshire is in a relatively favourable position at the moment, with government data suggesting a case rate of just 10.4 people per 100,000 on August 12.
Andy Fox, assistant director of Public Health Lincolnshire acknowledged respiratory virus cases often spike during the latter months of the year.
He said: “New variants of Covid-19 are emerging regularly and there is currently no evidence to suggest new variants, such as EG.5 or BA.2.86 will cause more severe disease. We always expect more cases of respiratory viruses as we get into autumn and towards winter, and this is true for colds, flu and Covid as well.
“The best protection against flu and Covid is for those who are eligible to take up the offer of vaccination when available. Other than that, we can all take sensible precautions such as staying home if we have cold, flu or Covid symptoms.
“There is no requirement to wear a face covering in the UK anymore, but it could be sensible to wear one if you have a cough and have to go out, to reduce the risk of you passing it on.”