As the UK is currently facing the highest figure for daily reported deaths since 9 March, a new variant identified in July 2021, a descendant of the Delta variant, could have an impact this winter. Experts are currently investigating what some called “Delta Plus” but don’t expect it to be as concerning as Alpha and Delta were.
Professor Francois Balloux of University College London said in a statement: “It is potentially a marginally more infectious strain.
“It’s nothing compared with what we saw with Alpha and Delta, which were something like 50 to 60 percent more transmissible.
“So we are talking about something quite subtle here and that is currently under investigation.
“It is likely to be up to 10 percent more transmissible.
“It’s good that we are aware. It’s excellent that we have the facilities and infrastructure in place to see anything that might be a bit suspicious.
“At this stage, I would say wait and see, don’t panic.
“It might be slightly, subtly more transmissible but it is not something absolutely disastrous like we saw previously.”
However, winter could be “slightly more difficult” according to Dr Jeffrey Barrett of the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
The Prime Minister told his Cabinet that he believes the government’s current coronavirus plan is keeping the virus under control.
But he reiterated that ministers “must put all our energies into our vaccination programmes.”
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The most important message for the public to understand is the vital importance of the booster programme and indeed for those children who are eligible to come forward and get our jab.
“We’re seeing some groups come forward slightly more slowly than they did, perhaps when they were getting their first or second vaccination.
“It’s important that the public understand that getting your booster jab is just as important as getting your first and second dose, and we need individuals to come forward because it is a huge benefit to them and wider society.”
Tuesday’s new daily death toll brought the UK total to 138,629 since the beginning of the pandemic.