Life WON’T return to normal by June despite lockdown easing, Sage says

LIFE for Brits won't return to normal by June despite the lifting of lockdown measures still going ahead, Sage experts have stated today.

Data released by the government scientific advisory board today stated that vaccines "aren't enough" to squash the Covid-19 virus once and for all.

Prime Minster Boris Johnson this evening confirmed during a Downing Street press conference that the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown would continue.

This means that from April 12 gyms can reopen for people training on their own, non-essential shops can reopen and hospitality can serve customers as long as they have an outdoor area to do so.

Despite Mr Johnson pushing forward, data from Sage shows there could be a "small resurgence" in late spring and early summer.

The graph above shows where hospital bed occupancy could be after all four steps of the roadmap out of lockdown have been completeted.

It also shows that transmission reaches a peak in September, before falling again in Spring 2022.

It casts doubts on certainty from No 10 that all activities will be able to resume by July.

The graph below is also based on modelling and looks at hospital occupancy from February 21 to June 22.

Upper modelling shows that up to 20,000 beds could be occupied if the R rate is at 2.2.

If the central assumption of R at 2.5 is kept then around 10,000 beds could be occupied.

The modelling above is based on certain infection levels which are currently not seen across the UK.

At present the R rate in England is 0.8 to 1.

This is updated every Friday and on the last update, Government officials failed to agree on the figure for across the UK because case numbers are so low.

Last week the R rate for the UK was estimated to be between 0.7 and 0.9 and 0.8 and 1.0 in England.

And it has remained relatively constant and below 1 since February 5, having peaked on January 15 at between 1.2 and 1.3. 

On the Good Friday update, the Department of Health wrote: "No UK estimates for R and growth rate have been agreed by SAGE this week.

"Given the increasingly localised approach to managing the epidemic, particularly between nations, UK-level estimates are less meaningful than previously and may not accurately reflect the current picture of the epidemic."

The R rate reflects the outbreak with a slight lag, as it takes up to three weeks for changes in the spread of the disease to be clear.

Commenting on the papers released today said: "Unsurprisingly, lower levels of control lead to higher growth rates and larger subsequent epidemic waves.

"As expected, peak hospital admissions occur earlier than peak hospital occupancy, with peak deaths occurring later."

It stated: "The modelling presented here does not account for waning immunity nor the future emergence of immune- or vaccine-escape variants."

Mr Johnson tonight said "there is nothing in the data I have seen today that would cause us to deviate from the roadmap".

 

Data from Warwickshire University for Sage also states that squashing the peak of the virus during the summer months will not lead to a large outbreak later in the year.

The report states that this is due to a high degree of vaccine immunity derived in the population.

So far in the UK over 31.5 million Brits have received either a Oxford/AstraZeneca jab or a Pfizer/BionTech vaccine – with over 5.3 million having had a second.

Prof Chris Whitty this evening said that everyone called for a second booster dose needed to go and get it as the jabs don't protect anyone 100 per cent from the virus.

The Sage papers stated: "By November England is likely to be close to herd immunity.

"In addition, the August trough in transmission is well-placed to suppress this relaxation wave."

 

Sage states that there was "considerable uncertainty" about the level of control in each of the relaxation steps.

They stated that lower than expected vaccine efficacy and rollout could lead to a "surge" in cases.

Sage stated: "Although we expect the growth rate to remain relatively small after Step 2, larger growth rates will not be readily contained simply through the action of vaccination and more stringent methods may be required.

"Growth rates above 0.03 may necessitate a significant delay before other steps can proceed."

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