COVID-19 projections are still unpredictable with ‘complex interplay of COVID variants, vaccination and natural immunity’

Dr Duncan Robertson of Loughborough Business School has suggested that predicting COVID-19 trends has become more difficult now than compared to early 2020, due to the interplay of multiple factors.

Projections of COVID-19 were designed during the pandemic to understand the severity and the spread of the virus, featuring the predicted number of COVID cases and the likely effect on the population. However, Dr Robertson has indicated that this process has become more challenging now with the influence of COVID variants, vaccination, and natural immunity.

These projections utilised data generated from the main variant of COVID and the original strain of the virus, yet this approach could be seen as rather simplistic three years on from the beginning of the pandemic. Instead, the scientific community must now find ways around new obstacles, accounting for more variants, vaccination, and natural immunity, ultimately resulting in COVID-19 projections becoming more unpredictable, as Dr Robertson claims.

The estimated number of infections held out around one in 80 people in England throughout 2022, while the number of people self-reporting long COVID symptoms in the UK is around one in 30 people.

These estimations demonstrate that the virus continues to affect society, as “COVID is very much still with us, and people are being infected time and time again”, Dr Robertson suggests.

Dr Robertson continues to highlight the challenge of combatting COVID, stating:

“The UK’s health system is under huge pressure, with very high pre-COVID waiting times having been exacerbated during the pandemic.”