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‘No doubt’ there will be further wave of Covid-19, warns statistics chief

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The UK’s national statistician said he has “no doubt” that there will be a further wave of Covid-19 infections in the autumn.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also said there is a lot of regional variation in terms of how many people have antibodies.

His comments come after England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said there were still risks to reopening society and the UK will experience another surge of cases at some point, potentially in late summer or through the autumn and winter.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK / PA Graphics

Sir Ian said people need to understand how the data is moving forward and look at the impact of the “wonderful” vaccine rollout.

“But having said that, we need also to recognise that this is a virus that isn’t going to go away,” he told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One.

“And I have no doubt that in the autumn there will be a further wave of infections.”

Asked if it is too early to know how much of the fall in infections across the UK is down to the vaccine rollout, he said there are a number of moving parts such as vaccines and restrictions.

Sir Ian told the programme: “I mean I would say though that this has been an incredibly impressive vaccine rollout, and we’ve been looking at antibodies in the population, and we’ve been scaling up our survey in order to be able to take many more blood tests so that we can look at the impact.

“And what we’re seeing is quite remarkable increases in the level of antibodies in the over-80s, and increasingly in the over-70s. So I’m very, very confident that the vaccine rollout is really starting to provide some real protection.

“At the other side we see very relatively high levels amongst young people which just shows how much of young people have been affected by the virus.

“I’d finally just say on this that there is a lot of regional variation, so we find 30 per cent of London have antibodies whereas only 16 per cent in the South West, so we need to recognise that as well.”

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