The public should be able to dispose of face masks over the summer as vaccines do the heavy lifting in controlling Covid-19, according to government scientific advisors.
Step 4 of the government’s roadmap for England currently states that all legal restrictions on social contact will not be lifted until June 21st, although restrictions on major events such as festivals are also expected to ease.
Scientists advising the government say there is currently nothing in the data to suggest people cannot enjoy a relatively normal summer, although coronavirus cases could well increase in the fall.
When asked about wearing masks for the coming months, a source said vaccines work so well and vaccine uptake in public is so good that things will return to normal life in the summer months with cases very low in May sunk.
However, masks and possibly other measures might be needed next fall and winter as cases rise, they said.
Still, the general view among scientific advisors is that the increase in cases in winter will be less than in the past due to high immunity and vaccination.
The source said what happens depends on people’s behavior, as well as measures like increased indoor ventilation, good hand hygiene, and whether people isolate themselves when they show symptoms – seen as critical to controlling the spread.
They said the UK needs to give up its “presenterism” culture and go to work when they feel unwell instead of staying home when they get sick.
The source said there should be easing of measures soon in all age groups, including those who have received two vaccines, so that they can meet more freely.
Regarding border controls to keep out worrying variants, the source said that despite extremely draconian border measures, there are only delays in importing cases.
Even so, delay is still seen as a valuable tool as it allows experts to figure out how to deal with variants and get more information.
According to the source, there are currently no variants that completely elude the effectiveness of the vaccine, and people’s immune response to vaccines is likely enough to have a significant impact on most variants.
Documents released Friday by the Scientific Emergency Advisory Group (Sage) say that in adults, the majority of contacts (to whom the virus could be passed) are work-related.
“The course of the epidemic in the coming months is therefore likely to depend to a large extent on the extent of the increase in workplace contacts,” the April 8 document said.
The publications also point out that while rodents are a possible animal reservoir for Covid, the likelihood that a worrying variant will currently occur in rodents as a result of the adaptation is low.
Sage also took into account data suggesting that the length of hospital stays for Covid-19 patients may have decreased slightly.
“The reasons for this are not clear, but may be related to vaccination and / or differences in the severity of the cases,” Sage said.
Other documents released by the government show that the Health and Safety Executive inspected 17 acute hospitals in 13 NHS trusts in England between November and January as part of a sampling program.
This covered compliance with rules to minimize the risk of Covid, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, hygiene and cleaning, ventilation and handling of suspected cases.
The data showed that five of the 17 (29%) hospitals were in compliance, four received verbal advice to help improve improvement (24%), and eight formal letters required corrective action (47%).
New data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that in the week leading up to April 16, about one in 610 people in private households in England had Covid-19 – up from one in 480 the previous week.
An estimated 90,000 people in the parish population in England had Covid-19, according to the ONS. This is the first time since the week ending September 10, 2020, when the estimate was 59,800, which is roughly one in 900 people, below 100,000.