Coronavirus still poses a “considerable hazard” to the UK over the coming months, according to England’s deputy chief medical officer.
Speaking to the Guardian Professor Jonathan Van-Tam used his signature metaphors to explain why people should not consider the pandemic over despite the success of the vaccine rollout.
Prof Van-Tam, 57, also urged the public to listen to scientists for medical advice rather than celebrities like US rapper Nicki Minaj.
We’re still in the pandemic period and I think the period of considerable hazard is going to last for several more months
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam
More than 78 million vaccinations have been delivered, meaning nearly nine in 10 adults have had their first dose, but the Prof Van-Tam used a train metaphor to illustrate why the pandemic is not over yet.
He said: “It’s as if there was this big express train that came down the east coast mainline, but, actually, the final destination is the last stop in Scotland somewhere.
“Of course, as you go down that rail journey, the line speeds decrease, they get a bit more twisty and turny, there are more stops, and false endings.
“We’re still in the pandemic period and I think the period of considerable hazard is going to last for several more months.”
Prof Van-Tam also took aim at celebrities spreading disinformation about Covid-19.
Prof Van-Tam compared taking a singer’s advice on coronavirus to asking a plumber to fix a computer.
He said: “If your gaming PC develops a fault, don’t take it to a plumber and ask them to fix it.”
The professor also told the Guardian the pandemic period had been “very challenging” for him and his colleagues, describing it as “nothing that any of us signed up for”.