Government scientists said that a few weeks after almost all restrictions were lifted in the UK on July 19, Covid-19 was hospitalized in the UK for 1,000 to 2,000 people a day and died 100 times a day. Expected to increase to ~ 200 people.
However, in their latest document, they emphasized that the predictions are more uncertain than at any point in the pandemic and that the results can be worse.
Sage, the government’s scientific advisory group, reviewed the results of three academic modeling teams at the University of Warwick. Imperial College London; London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine — to create a consensus view submitted to ministers prior to the unlocking statement last Monday.
All scenarios show what the Sage document calls “a period of very high infection rates that lasts at least until the end of August,” especially as young people resume social contact.
Minister of Health Sajid Javid Earlier, he said that the number of new Covid cases, which has increased 15-fold since the beginning of May and exceeds 30,000 per day, could surge to over 100,000 per day during August. It was. However, scientists point out that the number of positive tests confirmed can be limited by the uptake of tests and limited capacity.
Therefore, new daily cases are expected to peak well above the 60,000 reached in early January, but “the magnitude of the next wave of hospitalization is very uncertain,” Sage’s Spi-M modeling group said. Stated.
“Although the peak of most modeled scenarios is lower than in January 2021, hospitalizations of this magnitude have revived. [4,000 a day] It cannot be excluded. ” “Because of the predominance of delta variants, the peak mortality is almost certain to be well below the levels seen in January.”
Infection with the Sars-Cov-2 virus is about a quarter more likely to lead to hospitalization with Covid-19 than before the UK launched its vaccination campaign in December, but the risk of death has been reduced to about one. I am. One tenth of the previous level.
One of the greatest uncertainties faced by scientists trying to predict the future of the outbreak in the United Kingdom is how quickly people will return to pre-pandemic behavior after the blockade is over. After the last relaxation of restrictions on the government roadmap came into effect on May 17, social mixing increased less than some behavioral experts expected. “Freedom Day” on July 19th It can have a greater impact.
The Netherlands has warned how quickly Covid infections can spread when the blockade ends. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized on Monday for quickly lifting most of the remaining restrictions. The number of new incidents surged 20-fold in less than two weeks, reaching 10,000 people a day. In response to the, The country has re-imposed curbs on bars, restaurants and nightclubs on Friday.
The other two important variables are vaccine efficacy and intake. “We know exactly how many people have been vaccinated, but not the number of people who have not been vaccinated,” Sage scientists pointed out. The UK population level is uncertain and the 2021 census results have not yet been fully processed.
Small changes to these assumptions can have a significant impact on the number of Covid cases, for example, if vaccine intake is 92% instead of 96%.
Sage pointed out to the minister that modeling is trying to predict only one of the four major risks associated with high infection numbers: increased hospitalization and mortality.
It is even more difficult to quantify the other three (long Covid, absence of workforce, risk of new more dangerous variants emerging).
After the current wave peaks, perhaps in late August or September, many modeling scenarios will have more Covid waves in the fall and winter, but hospitalization rates are all expected to be below last winter. I am. The modeled winter waves are larger the smaller the summer waves. This is because fewer people acquire immunity through natural infections and vaccinations.
Looking at the most optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, Imperial College modelers found that by June 2022, additional Covid-19 deaths would increase from 9,400 to 115,000.
“As we saw at some point in the pandemic, factors such as hospitalization and death can increase exponentially, which means that they double over a certain number of days. The new wave can quickly cause relatively big problems, says Thomas House, a statistician at the University of Manchester and a Spi-M member who was not directly involved in any of the three modeling exercises. ..
“Therefore, it’s likely a good idea to plan for such contingencies, hoping that it won’t happen,” House added.
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