The lockdown measures currently in place in England are likely to bring the number of coronavirus R to below one, but the return to the previous tiered system will cause infections to revert to levels seen in early November, they said. government scientists.
In a series of new papers released Friday by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), experts said that if the four-week lockdown measures are well followed, the number of hospitalizations and deaths is expected to decrease to at least the second. week of December.
But they added that a long-term outlook will depend both on the nature of non-pharmaceutical interventions implemented after December 2, when the blocking measures are expected to be lifted, and on policies during the holiday period.
A document, dated November 4, said: “If England reverts to the same tiering system application in place before November 5, the broadcast will return at the same rate of increase as today.”
On October 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would be placed on “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels – or Tier 1, 2 and 3 – which included varying restrictions aimed at addressing the virus. But as the number of coronavirus infections continued to rise, a four-week lockdown was introduced on November 5.
The number of new cases per day across the UK is currently estimated at between 55,000 and 81,000. Experts believe that R, which represents the number of people a COVID-19 positive person continues to infect, is less than one in some places, particularly in the North West of England.
Meanwhile, another Sage document suggests that the nationwide epidemic is still in a “high and controlled” phase. If this remains the case, or if the epidemic returns to current levels after the lockdown, Sage advised that there is “little or no scope for loosening social distancing rules during Christmas”.
But if the prevalence is “low and controlled” and R is “well below one” for some time, experts say there may be “greater potential for loosening social distancing rules for a limited period of time during the holiday period “.
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Government scientists have said that if R is reduced to 1.1 or lower for some time, there may be a “limited build-up of population immunity”. This, they say, will begin to reduce the population’s average susceptibility to the virus and slow transmission.
“When R is 1.1, only 9 percent of the remaining susceptible (ie, previously uninfected) population needs to be infected for R to drop to one, solely as a result of the natural dynamics of the outbreak,” Sage said. “At this point, in a certain sense, the immunity of the population caused the epidemic plateau.”
However, they added that population immunity is “very different from a classic ‘herd immunity’ scenario, where an epidemic swept through a population with limited impact of control measures.”
Experts said that in a population immunity scenario, there will be “very limited room for relaxing interventions, as the absolute level of population immunity achieved will likely still be low.”
How can I protect myself from the coronavirus while shopping?
You will have seen signs in your local supermarket advising you to stay two meters from the others as you move around the store. This is the key to reducing the chances of contracting the virus while shopping.
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets that leave our mouth and nose when we cough, sneeze or sometimes even talk. Droplets sprayed by an infected person will contain the virus, which could then enter your body through the mouth, nose, or eyes (this is why you shouldn’t touch your face).
Respiratory droplets usually don’t travel more than one meter, so keeping two meters away from others will reduce the likelihood of being in the line of fire. To make it easier to keep your distance, try shopping during off-peak hours, choose a store that limits the number of people who can be inside at any one time, and use automatic checkout if you can.
Keeping your hands clean is the other main thing you can do. If possible, clean the trolley or basket handles with a disinfectant wipe when you arrive at the store. When you get home, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before and after unpacking your bags.
A US study found that the coronavirus can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on hard, shiny surfaces like plastic, so cleaning your purchases with a disinfectant spray or soapy cloth before putting them away is a ‘ another good habit to get into.