EXPERTS believe that coronavirus could be as mild as the common cold within months – as cases begin to slow.
Dr Mike Tildesley claims that the world will soon be able to function normally again and will no longer be crippled by new variants of the killer virus.
The University of Warwick expert also feeds information into SAGE, and previously questioned the need for curbs.
He raised hopes that cases are starting to slow in Covid hot-spot London despite the UK reporting nearly 180,000 new cases on Friday.
The claims come after it was revealed that Omicron could be 99 per cent less deadly than other Covid variants as daily cases fall for a third day in a row
A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
Speaking to Times Radio, Dr Tildesley said: “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 Dr Tildesley does believe that the North East and North West of England are seeing the most “concerning” rates of the Omicron variant.
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.”
On Friday, the UK reported 178,250 daily coronavirus cases and another 229 deaths.
Government figures show that there are 18,454 people in hospital with coronavirus as of the last count.
But 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.”
His comments come after ministers have found themselves under mounting pressure to cut the self-isolation period because of the devastating knock on effect it is having on the health service
Before Christmas, Health Secretary Sajid Javid cut the number of isolation days from 10 to seven – provided people test negative on days six and seven.
Workers across the country have been stuck at home for a week due to the isolation measures, but experts are calling for it to be slashed again to help release pressure.
Half of the schools in England have already turned to supply teachers to get the cover they need because of staff absences.