Normal life could return by April next year as Covid-19 weakens to become just "another cause of the common cold" a leading health expert has predicted as he called for self-isolation rules to be "scaled back" around Easter.
Professor Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, made the shocking but welcomed announcement on BBC Breakfast this morning, which followed the news that no new restrictions will come into force for England before the new year, and perhaps not even then.
Speaking about NHS staff shortages due to workers having to isolate, Hunter said that while Covid is "not going away", it is "just one virus" that won't be a cause for concern by April 2022, adding that Covid-19 "will become effectively just another cause of the common cold".
He said: "This is a disease that’s not going away, the infection is not going away, although we’re not going to see as severe disease for much longer.
"Ultimately, we’re going to have to let people who are positive with Covid go about their normal lives as they would do with any other cold. And so, at some point, we’ve got to relax this."
While Omicron is far more contagious than Delta, the newer mutant strain is milder, and with the risk of hospitalisation 50-70% lower than Delta so far Omicron is clogging up the health system less. However, self-isolation rules have caused chaos for the NHS, with 18,829 medics off work due to Covid up to December 19.
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Self-isolation rules and Covid restrictions have also wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry, which has just received another government bailout to cover the washout that was this year's festive season.
The Professor said: "If the self-isolation rules are what’s making the pain associated with Covid, then we need to do that perhaps sooner rather than later. Maybe not quite just yet.
"Once we’re past Easter, perhaps, then maybe we should start to look at scaling back, depending on, of course, what the disease is at that time."
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