The UK vaccination program offers a “false sense of security” amid a rising third wave of infections, government advisers who have called for UK unlocks to be delayed next month, said government advisors.
Professor Ravi Gupta, member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag), said ministers should consider rolling back their target of scrapping all Covid measures in the face of an “early” third wave of Covid-19 infections in the UK on June 21 “for a few weeks”.
The University of Cambridge academic said there has been “exponential growth” in case numbers fueled by the more easily transmissible Indian variant, but that the “explosive” effects it could have are currently being obscured by the high vaccination rate.
More than 39 million people have received a first vaccination and another 25.3 million have received both doses.
It comes as NHS chiefs warned that the backlog in treatment for diseases other than Covid caused by the lockdown means that even a small spike in coronavirus patients could cause hospitals to become overburdened again.
When asked about the possibility of delaying freedom from restrictions, Environment Secretary George Eustice said nothing could be ruled out.
With both deaths and cases increasing significantly over the past week, experts urge the Prime Minister to stick to his “data rather than data” approach to ease the lockdown.
Between May 24 and May 30, 60 deaths were reported within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, a 42.9% increase compared to the previous seven days.
There were also an additional 3,240 laboratory-confirmed cases in the UK on Sunday, with the number of cases between May 24 and May 30 – 22,474 – 26.8% higher than in the previous seven days.
Professor Gupta told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “It will probably take longer than previous waves to surface as we have a fairly high vaccination rate among the population, which can create a false sense of security for some time. and that is our concern.
“I think the problem is that we’re not that far from getting the kind of vaccination that would help us contain the virus, and I think people aren’t saying we’re going to be during the 21st week.” we can collect more information and see the trajectory more clearly.
“When you look at the costs and benefits of failure, I think it speaks volumes for delays.”
Leading Scientific Advisor Professor Adam Finn said a clearer picture of the impact of easements introduced this month is needed before further easing takes place.
May, two households or a maximum of six people from several households may meet indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.
Prof Finn, member of the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee, said that while encouraging data on Covid hospital admissions in the UK had surfaced in the past few weeks, the impact of May easing restrictions on admissions was only “about” known about June 21st or shortly before ”.
“I think it’s unfortunate that everyone has this particular date in mind because what we really need to do is understand how things are going and adapt accordingly,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“This time we should be careful, see what happens and then release everyone if you wish, as soon as we are sure it is safe and we can do this without another round of bans and so on. ”
Cabinet Minister Eustice said the government wants to monitor the data before making a final decision on whether to end their plans on Jan.
When asked if companies should prepare to delay the unblocking, Mr Eustice replied, “I have been saying all along, like Matt Hancock and the Prime Minister, that we cannot rule anything out because we know this is a difficult pandemic was a dynamic situation.
“We have to make this judgment a few weeks in advance.
“Only until then will we see the full effects of the last easements that we made on May 17th. So I know that everyone wants to know what is going to happen, but we can only make this judgment when we see the effects. “
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS providers, said even a small spike in severe cases is likely to hit the health care system as it recovers from the winter through spring lockdown.
He told Times Radio, “The concern is that this is a much more transferable variant. We still have to vaccinate a lot of people. And absolutely hospitals are very busy.
“We talk to people who say, ‘We have a bed occupancy rate of 96-97%, this is not the kind of bed occupancy we would normally expect at this time of the year’.
“We are trying to go into full swing to make up for these maintenance residues.
“So when you have these patient numbers, even small numbers of Covid-19 patients significantly increase the pressure.”