Third wave

Could the third wave be running out of steam?

Will we get to 100,000 new Covid infections a day, as Sajid Javid has suggested, or even to 200,000 a day as Professor Neil Ferguson has floated? Until Saturday, new cases were galloping upwards at such a rate that such an outcome seemed assured. But in the last couple of days there has been a dramatic falling off in new cases: from 54,674 reported on Saturday, to 48,161 on Sunday and 39,950 on Monday. Those are for the UK – for England the corresponding figures are 50,955, 44,777 and 34,657. Each of these figures were higher than the same day the week before. And of course, we also have to be wary of

Ministers need to start bracing Britain for the third wave

The third wave of Covid-19 may now be no more deadly than a typical wave of influenza (thanks to vaccines) but be in no doubt: the rise in cases is real, likely to continue for some time and may dwarf the second wave. It may still be safe to unlock against this backdrop, but this (very different) scenario would need properly explained, with self-isolation rules rewritten. The facts have changed, but the argument has not (yet) changed. We’ve been tracking the emergence of the India/Delta variant on The Spectator’s data hub. The below is a summary of the likely direction of travel. It has taken the UK from having the lowest Covid case levels in Europe to

How serious is Britain’s third wave?

The link between Covid cases and hospitalisations has been broken, we keep being told – vaccination having reduced the severity of infections, especially among more vulnerable older groups. It is a point reinforced this morning by Public Health England which reveals that the number of cases of the delta (formerly Indian) variant have increased from 12,431 to 42,323 in a week, but without a corresponding rise in hospitalisations. But how true is it that what looks like a third wave in new infections will not be accompanied by a large wave of hospitalisations? Previous experience with Covid – using PHE data – suggests there is not a very long lag between

Are we at risk of another Covid wave?

Could we really see another peak in Covid-19 hospitalisations as bad as January once society reopens in June? That was the story widely reported this morning, based on the latest modelling from SPI-M, the government’s advisory committee on modelling for scientific emergencies. The study caught attention not least because back in January very few people had received a vaccine: now, 56 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated. By July, on current forecasts, every adult in Britain will have been offered at least a first vaccine dose. How, if vaccines actually work — and there is a lot of evidence to suggest they do — could we end

How worried should we be about a third wave?

At the beginning of the year, Boris Johnson and his advisers were at pains to tell us that by spring we would be in a vastly better situation with Covid. Well, spring is here, the number of new infections and deaths is falling by around 30 per cent week on week, deaths are back to where they were last October and new infections last September. The vaccine programme is running on time, and take-up has been high. Why, then, was the chief medical officer Chris Whitty so downbeat when he addressed the House of Commons science and technology committee this morning? He told MPs that he was expecting a further