Covid modellers believe third wave 'may not happen' as UK prepares to lift more restrictions

COVID modellers believe a third wave of the virus "may not happen" as the UK prepares to lift more lockdown restrictions.

Sage scientists had warned ministers that another wave of infections could kill up to 20,000 people this summer.

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However, Professor Adam Kucharski, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the effectiveness of the vaccine rollout had changed that.

He told the Telegraph: "There was considerable uncertainty about the impact of vaccines on infection and transmission earlier this year, but recent studies are landing at the more optimistic end of the scale – at least for the dominant B.1.1.7 variant.

"We could still see some increase in transmission as things reopen, but the resulting impact could be relatively low if the vaccine programme stays on track and we don't end up with variants that can partially evade immunity."

Professor Kucharski works on the virus modelling that is provided to Sage scientists.

A Public Health England study published last week revealed that vaccines had slashed "breakthrough transmission" by almost half after just one jab.

James Ward, a mathematician who models Covid data, said projections had been greatly impacted by the vaccine rollout.

He said: "If you look at where [the models] were in early April, compared to where they were in early February, they moved a huge distance.

"So actually, it's not very far for them to move now, from predicting an exit wave of 15,000 to 20,000 deaths to them predicting an exit wave of zero to 5,000, or maybe nothing at all."


It comes as the overseas travel ban is set to be lifted this month, and Brits will finally be able to meet indoors.

People meeting inside will still have to follow the rule of six or two household restrictions.

Indoor entertainment and attractions are also expected to open up on May 17, and punters will finally able to sit inside the pub.

Theatre and concert performances – along with sports events – will also start to allow spectators to attend.

Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to go ahead with 30 people.

Covid deaths in the UK have dropped by 78 per cent in the past week, with seven fatalities recorded yesterday.

Infections rose by 1,907 – bringing the total number of positive cases since the pandemic began to 4,418,530.

The death toll of seven has brought the total number of victims to 127,524.

Last Saturday, the figure was 32 – meaning a drop of almost 80 per cent.

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