Sage fears strain is 50% more infectious
THE Indian variant of Covid-19 is up to 50 per cent more infectious than the Kent strain and is likely to cause a devastating third wave, Government scientists believe.
Sage, the Government’s scientific advisory group, concluded that returning to normal on June 21 risks a peak that is ‘double that seen in January 2021’ because of the variant.
In a bleak document published last night, Sage said evidence suggests it is ‘a realistic possibility that the strain is as much as 50 per cent more transmissible’. The group said that the significant lifting of restrictions on June 21 risks overwhelming the NHS and the third wave of cases, likely in July and August, would be ‘similar to, or larger than, previous peaks’.
This is because most young adults are yet to be vaccinated and the vaccine is not 100 per cent effective at preventing infection, meaning the virus would spread rapidly through millions who lack immunity, causing a surge in infections, hospital cases and deaths.
The Kent variant which drove the second wave is itself is around 50 per cent more infectious than the original strain of Covid-19 from Wuhan in China .