SCOTLAND is yet to face the “big numbers” in the Omicron wave of coronavirus – despite hitting record-high cases in recent days.
Professor Jason Leitch warned it could be at least another month before we reach the peak of the latest pandemic wave.
However, the National Clinical Director added that a longer wave would allow more people to get vaccinated, as he stressed “every day counts” in the race to get people jabbed.
His comments come as record-high virus case numbers were recorded in Scotland over the recent festive period – with provisional figures totalling nearly 30,000 between Christmas Day and December 27.
Those numbers show Scotland recorded 8,252 cases on December 25, 11,030 cases on December 26 and 10,562 cases on December 27.
Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Prof Leitch said: “The modelling suggests that the peak of the Omicron wave in the United Kingdom will be somewhere around mid to late January, maybe even pushing into February.
“That will depend quite a lot on human behaviour, it will depend on what we do now.
“We may not want the peak earlier remember, because if this is an enormous wave we may want it to draw out over a longer period because you might then get more people vaccinated.
“If you can vaccinate 75,000 people a day, every day counts here.
“So, if you can make it last a bit longer it will not be as severe for the population.
“The modelling suggests that we won’t see the big numbers and that seems terrifying having nine to 10 and 11,000, you won’t see the big numbers for two to three weeks yet.”
He later told the programme that Scotland’s restrictions could change before the next official review.
Prof Leitch warned that although there is a legal review every three weeks following the new measures introduced across the country, “that doesn’t mean things can’t go up or down in the middle weeks.”
Nicola Sturgeon will tomorrow address recalled MSPs in the Scottish Parliament to give an update on the state of the pandemic – ahead of a formal review of restrictions on January 11.
However, speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Prof Leitch warned that the spread of the Omicron variant “remains a danger”, adding officials should “act very cautiously if you decide to remove restrictions”.