COVID-19: What Scientists Say As England Moves Towards Easier Jul 19 Lockdown | News from the UK
The government’s scientific advisors and modeling groups have warned that the COVID-19 epidemic is “clearly significant and rising” and that maintaining low case numbers would help the UK deal with potential future problems.
It comes after that Boris Johnson announced his Coronavirus regulations intended bonfire later this month – in which he tries to wrest England from the “government dictate” and to take responsibility for itself.
One of the steps being considered is the end of the legal COVID Requirements for wearing face coverings.
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The men who flanked the Prime Minister at a press conference on Downing Street – England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance – painted a gloomy picture of the Coronavirus Situation in Great Britain.
Models by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and other experts also urged caution with regard to the next phase of the pandemic in England.
Sir Patrick said that “while vaccines have weakened the link between cases and hospital stays,” it is not “a totally broken link – and we will still see an increase in hospital stays”.
For the same reason, a further increase in deaths is to be expected.
The chief scientific adviser said the number of cases in the UK doubles every nine days – with young people most likely to be affected and that around a quarter of a million people are currently estimated to have the coronavirus in the UK.
However, the doubling time for hospital stays is “slower than for cases”.
Professor Whitty said, “The number of cases that come in [to hospital] a day is currently relatively small compared to previous waves – around 300.
“But if you double and then double and then double … you get and actually in a surprisingly small number of doubles, you get really pretty high numbers.”
He stressed that the modeling showed that the “peak” of the epidemic will be reached before the NHS sees the same pressure as it did last winter.
Prof. Whitty also said he would continue to “wear a mask”. under three situationsand I would do so, especially at this point when the epidemic is clearly significant and increasing “.
A newly published SAGE document, entitled “Considerations in Implementing Long-Term Baseline Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions,” was reviewed by the group on April 22nd.
It stated that maintaining low case numbers could have several benefits – including making Test Trace and Isolate more effective, faster identification of Concerning Variants such as the Delta Strain, reduced risk of Concerning Variants occurring, and also allowing the NHS more capacity for routine care.
A higher risk of infection and lower vaccination rates in groups from “lower socio-economic positions and ethnic minorities” could also lead to an increase in health inequalities.
The paper adds, “There is a significant risk of increasing prevalence even if hospital stays and deaths from vaccination are kept low. If it were necessary to reduce the prevalence to a low level again (z affected), then restrictive measures would be necessary for much longer. “
One of the first expert reactions to Boris Johnson’s announcement came from Professor Devi Sridhar of the University of Edinburgh, who said England was now in “uncertain territory”.
“This is a massive experiment and the world is watching what happens when a new variant is dominant,” the global health expert told Sky News.
“They have a pretty good vaccine uptake among the groups, but at the same time there are increasing cases, hospital admissions and then all interruptions are being taken out of a system.
“So right now we are in uncertain territory and it is difficult to imagine that this is irreversible [in] the way they paint it, given all the pauses that have been removed rather than careful steps to unlock it. “
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