English medic hopes vaccines limit damage of any third COVID wave

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Virtual news conference at 9 Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Progress with Britain's vaccine rollout should limit the damage from any third wave of COVID-19 infections, one of England's top doctors said on Wednesday, adding that there would likely still be bumps in the road in the coming year.

England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said that the "modelling consensus is clear that we will have what is called a third wave."

"I am personally hopeful that if the vaccine programme continues at pace, and continues to be as successful as it's been, the third wave, so to speak, might just be a third upsurge and much less significant, because of the de-linking of cases to hospitalizations and deaths," he said at a news conference.

"But I think it's inconceivable to think that we will go from a period of relative calm... with no further bumps in the road in terms of upswings in activity between now and this time next year," he added, saying he expected more cases, likely in the in the autumn or winter, but it was hard to know for sure.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Alistair Smout. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)