Covid pandemic in UK largely over by late September, says Neil Ferguson

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Covid-19pandemic in Britain will largely be over within three months, a leading epidemiologist predicted on Tuesday.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, believes cases are now “plateauing”. He is still urging “caution” as there could be a new peak after lockdown laws were scrapped last Monday.

But he stressed vaccines had “fundamentally changed” the equation in combating the disease.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The effect of vaccines has been huge in reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death and I’m positive that by late September, October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic.

“We will still have Covid with us, we will still have people dying from Covid but we will (have) put the bulk of the pandemic behind us.”

Prof Ferguson, whose work was key to the first lockdown in March 2020, recently predicted that Covid infections could reach 100,000 a day, possibly even 200,000 though he stressed that was unlikely.

On Monday just under 25,000 cases were reported but he said it was still too early to say whether the 100,000 mark would be reached.

Meanwhile, official figures revealed confirmed Covid-19 cases have plummeted nearly 57 per cent in London in just six days.

They show daily announced infections dropping from a recent peak of 7,086 on July 20 to 3,056 on Monday.

The startling fall may be because the third wave in the capital has peaked.

However, other factors could also be tens of thousands of pupil no longer doing lateral flow tests as part of school checks for the virus during term time, people having left the city for holidays, and individuals disengaging from the testing system in the wake of the “pingdemic”.

Earlier rises were fuelled by people getting together to watch the Euro 2020 football tournament, allowing the virus to spread, and earlier easing of restrictions, according to health experts.

Ministers will be watching carefully to see if coronavirus hospitalisations start to fall in coming days in England, as has happened in Scotland, as this would be firm evidence that the disease is on the wane.

Latest figures show there were 957 Covid-19 patients in the capital’s hospitals, as of yesterday, a figure which has more than doubled from 467 on July 11, with 161 so ill that they are on ventilators.

On Saturday, 134 coronavirus patients were admitted to the city’s hospitals, the latest available figures.

Two more deaths, within 28 days of the individuals testing positive, were announced for London on Monday.

The number of Covid deaths in the capital has not risen above seven a day during the third wave.

Health chiefs are still urging more people to get jabbed and No10 braced the nation yesterday for a further rise in cases following the ending of lockdown laws last week.

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