Scientists warn of the premature abandonment of the English plan B Covid

Scientists warn of the premature abandonment of the English plan B Covid

Government scientific advisers and health leaders have warned that the restrictions on English Plan B for working at home and wearing masks should not be lifted too soon, despite signs that infections and pressures in hospitals caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant have reached their peak.

Ministers are not expected to renew Plan B laws in England when they expire on January 26, encouraged by growing evidence that the Omicron wave is receding. The decentralized administrations in Scotland and Wales are also ready to remove the stricter restrictions they have imposed in response to the variant, including capacity limits for next week’s major events.

A senior Whitehall official told the FT that the latest data suggested that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had made the “right call” to resist the imposition of draconian, legal restrictions on social interference in England, but warned: “We are not out of the woods yet.”

The latest minutes from a January 7 meeting of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergency Situations, released on Friday, warn that the wave “still has the potential to continue to grow nationally”, adding that the effect of returning to schools and jobs is still it is not known ”.

It warns that canceling Plan B before the peak could lead to behavioral changes and “increase the overall impact of this wave on hospitalizations.”

Covid hospital admissions are stable or declining in all UK countries and regions, with London, Wales and Northern Ireland declining by at least 20 per cent from a recent peak, according to the latest regional official figures released on Friday.

Across the United Kingdom, an average of 2,243 Covid patients have been admitted in the last seven days, down slightly from 2,287 in the week to 4 January. In London, the daily average number received from Covid fell by 25 per cent from a peak of 416 in December. 31.

In the north-east of England and Yorkshire, the area with the highest growth in recent times, there have been signs of a slowdown in enrollment growth. The number of patients with Covid in the hospital rose by less than 1 percent in the last 24 hours to 2,857, a significant drop from a 5 percent daily increase earlier this week.

Meanwhile, separate data show that an increasing proportion of children admitted to the hospital with Covid are from the youngest age group.

In the three weeks to January 6, 42 percent of Covid’s pediatric income was under one year, a significant increase of about 30 percent during previous waves, according to a Isaric / Co-CIN study presented to Sage. Children from the most endangered origins are most affected. However, the researchers stressed that infants “are not particularly sick” and that the average length of stay was about a third shorter than in the first wave

Sage warned that hospital pressures would “remain high for some time” due to stubbornly high transmission and an increase in infections in the elderly and unvaccinated groups.

Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and a government adviser, called for “careful mitigation” of the remaining measures. “I would prefer to keep the measures in place and be careful in terms of full opening,” Openshaw said.

David Spiegelhalter, chairman of the Winton Center for Communication with Risk and Evidence at Cambridge University, said the government’s decision to chart a different path to other home nations was “definitely a gamble”, adding that it got out, probably because most people acted on in a very responsible way ”.

But Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford, disagreed. “It was clear that this would be fine: you just had to look at the South African data and you could see the disease coming at a tremendous rate before it disappeared just as quickly – and in the meantime no one ended up in intensive care units. ”

He added: “It’s really hard to say if what Scotland and Wales have done really makes any difference.”

At 6.9 per cent, a higher proportion of England’s population is infected than in other parts of the UK in the week ending 6 January. This compared to 5.7 per cent in Scotland, 5.6 per cent in Wales and 5.4 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The pattern is repeated in hospital admissions data, which show that England has 35 daily admissions per 100,000 people, ahead of Scotland 28, Northern Ireland 16 and Wales 14.

A record 4.3 million Britons were infected with coronavirus in the first week of this year, the Office for National Statistics announced on Friday, compared to 3.7 million infected in the week to 31 December.

Scientists warn of the premature abandonment of the English plan B Covid

“There is a clear view that we would have seen significantly higher infection rates if we had not had measures and messages related to Plan B,” said Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers. risk.

Modeling by Sage University of Warwick suggests that a “gradual decline in precautionary behavior over four months” from the Plan B completion date could result in a spring wave leading to 1,000 and 2,000 daily hospitalizations.

“The precise time and magnitude of this output wave largely depend on both the behavior of the population and the scale of the current wave,” the researchers added.

Scientists warn of the premature abandonment of the English plan B Covid

Mortality from covids continued to rise across the UK, however, reaching a daily average of 207 between 3 and 9 January, equivalent to 16 per cent of last winter’s peak, after remaining below 10 per cent throughout December.

Thomas House, a professor of mathematical sciences at the University of Manchester and a member of the SPI-M modeling group, warned that “it is not clear” whether Omicron “turned a corner” in the oldest age groups.

“I don’t think people should feel like this is going to go on and on, but we shouldn’t think it’s just going to explode and then disappear,” House said.

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