ITV’s Dr Hilary Jones says ‘everybody’ will get Omicron – even if vaccinated

Dr Hilary Jones has spoken of his concerns that 'everyone' will get Omicron eventually.

Dr Jones revealed his worries on Good Morning Britain as the UK hopes to go into a downward trend in cases across the country.

Plans to cut the self-isolation period from seven days to five for the fully vaccinated are in the works, with a negative test on days six and seven required to leave isolation early.

The plans come amid a shortage of staff in the NHS and in schools that needs to be addressed.

However, Dr Jones argued that putting these plans into motion would not be a good idea, saying it would only act as a temporary relief before the problem gets worse.

So what did he say and why shouldn't the UK cut the isolation period?

Shortening of the Covid isolation period

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Speaking to Susanna Reid, Dr Jones explained how shortening the isolation period would initially get more people back to work, but would increase the spread of Covid – resulting in even more staff shortages within weeks.

He said: "Well, if you shorten the period of isolation you will certainly get more people back to work that week. Two weeks later, you'll have less."

The doctor cited figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the department responsible for protecting people in the UK from infectious diseases.

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It said cuts to the isolation period would be "counterproductive" as between 10 and 30% of people will still be infectious by day six "depending on how soon after developing symptoms they received their PCR or lateral flow test result, and the result of their lateral flow test on that day".

Dr Jones went on: "It is as simple as that because you will have 30% of people still infectious after five days, passing the virus on to their working colleagues.

"After seven days it is 16%, it is a significant difference. You can't keep cutting self-isolation just because it is convenient, there is a reason for it. The scientists are saying keep it at seven days."

Why might 'everyone' get Omicron?

Dr Hilary also argued that, despite being milder, Omicron is still concerning because of how easily it can spread.

Omicron has been found by studies to be much faster-spreading than other variants, like the Delta variant. There are also now fears, based on early research, that reinfection could be possible.

There are other scientists who feel that it is too early to say if reinfection will be common.

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Dr Jones said: "You can't say just because it's milder, let's forget everything we are doing, and let it spread around the community so we've got herd immunity.

"We're still flattening the curve, trying to allow the NHS to cope. We want [fewer] people infected all at once.

"Ultimately, probably everybody will get omicron, vaccinated or not. But people will have it less severely if they are vaccinated with all three jabs and we'll have less people in hospital and the NHS will be able to cope."

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