Covid warning: Pandemic ‘closer to the beginning than end’ amid new variant fears

Delta variant: Expert on vaccines’ impact on transmissibility

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Dr Brilliant issued the stark warning and stressed the need for booster shots for elderly people. “I think we’re closer to the beginning than we are to the end [of the pandemic], and that’s not because the variant that we’re looking at right now is going to last that long,” Dr Brilliant told news channel CNBC.

“Unless we vaccinate everyone in 200-plus countries, there will still be new variants.”

The disease expert noted around 100 countries have vaccinated just five percent of their populations.

He predicted Covid will become a “forever virus” like the influenza virus – commonly known as the flu.

A recent study by Imperial College London found that people who have both doses of the Covid vaccine are about 49 percent less at risk of being infected with the virus compared to those who are unvaccinated.

READ MORE: Britain to buy 35million doses of the Pfizer vaccine

This comes amid reports indicating the majority of hospitalisations and deaths in the US are among the unvaccinated, with cases per day reaching a six-month high.

The Delta variant, originating from India, is the driving force behind infections.

According to recent data, the Delta variant is 40-60 percent more transmissible than Alpha and nearly two times more transmissible than the original strain.

Dr Brilliant said that the Delta variant “may be the most contagious virus” ever.

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The epidemiologist warned of the possibility of many more variants emerging in the future.

“I do caution people that this is the Delta variant and we have not run out of Greek letters so there may be more to come,” Dr Brilliant told CNBC.

“And that means get everyone vaccinated — not just in your neighbourhood, not just in your family, not just in your country, but all over the world.”

With autumn approaching, the conversation about booster shots has been relevant.

Dr Brilliant said that people aged 65 years and over should be given the booster shot “right away – as quickly as moving the vaccines to those countries that haven’t had a very high chance to buy them or have access to them”.

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