'Ray of light' as Covid could soon be very similar to the common cold says expert

By Mya Bollan & Sam Elliott-Gibbs

Covid may soon resemble a common cold as Omicron could end the pandemic, according to a medical expert.

The University of Warwick's Dr Mike Tidesley believes that the mild symptoms often related to the new, dominant strain could mean the world returning to 'normal' again soon.

Previously, Dr Tidesley questioned the need for restrictions as he raised hopes of a slowing rate of infection.

A member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modeling group - which feeds into SAGE - the medic has been encouraged by the flatlining of cases and hospital admissions in the UK's capital city.

He urged that things are beginning to turn around despite huge daily case numbers continuing, reports The Mirror.

Omicron often leaves those infected with mild symptoms. (Getty)

He told Times Radio : "The thing that might happen in the future is you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and ultimately, in the long term, what happens is Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version.

"It's very similar to the common cold that we've lived with for many years.

"We're not quite there yet but possibly Omicron is the first ray of light there that suggests that may happen in the longer term - it is, of course, much more transmissible than Delta was, which is concerning, but much less severe.

"Hopefully, as we move more towards the spring and we see the back of Omicron, we can get more inter-relationship of living with Covid as an endemic disease and protecting the vulnerable."

But he did state that the North East and North West of England are seeing the most "concerning" rates of the Omicron variant.

However, he added: "It doesn't sound all doom and gloom, what we are seeing from hospital admissions is that stays in hospital do appear to be on average shorter, which is good news, symptoms appear to be a little bit milder, so this what we are seeing consistently with the Omicron variant."

His comments come after the Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference this week that England had a chance to "ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country".

On Friday, the UK reported 178,250 daily coronavirus cases and another 229 deaths.

The government say there are 18,454 people in hospital with coronavirus as of the last count. Of those, 868 of whom are in ventilation beds.

The R rate has increased and is now estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.5, according to the latest figures.

Just over 35 million people have now had the third vaccine in the UK, stats show.

Scotland recorded 14,486 new cases of coronavirus yesterday with 1,323 people in hospital confirmed to have Covid-19 while 48 are being treated in intensive care.

Tragically, 15 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded in Scotland on Friday.

It comes as figures revealed that 60 per cent of those in Scottish hospitals with Covid were admitted because of the virus.

The latest daily vaccination statistics show 4,388,543 people have received their first dose with 4,037,434 having their second dose of a vaccine and 3,063,000 who have received a third dose or booster jab.

However, health secretary Sajid Javid says the NHS is facing a "rocky few weeks ahead" as it contends with a wave of Omicron cases.

He said: "The best thing people can do is get their booster jab.

"We know now that Omicron is less severe… and we certainly know that once you get boosted that your chance of hospitalisation, our latest analysis shows, is almost 90% less than it was with Delta."

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