Vallance: UK still quite early in the epidemic

Special Report: Johnson listened to his scientists about ...

The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has been giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee.

He told the meeting that we are still "quite early" in the epidemic.

Although most countries are getting on top of the first peak in some ways it doesn't mean the whole thing's gone away," he said.

Sir Patrick also said:

  • The R number - the reproduction rate of the virus - needed to be below one as this means the epidemic is reducing. It is currently between 0.6 and 0.9, with "a little bit of regional variation"
  • R is thought to be lower in the community than in care homes and hospitals but it is hard to tell due to three routes of infection making it hard to tell the source
  • On immunity, the evidence suggests the vast majority of people who have had the infection have "some form of antibody response" but that we do not know what degree of protection that gives

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