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Thursday, Sep 23, 2021

Pandemic almost over for UK as residents near herd immunity - expert

Pandemic almost over for UK as residents near herd immunity - expert

The pandemic is almost over for the UK with the population very close to herd immunity, a leading scientist has claimed.
Cases of Covid have been slowly declining over the last week, despite lockdown restrictions being almost completely lifted earlier this month.

Experts were puzzled by the drop and said school closures, the end of the Euros football tournament and the hot weather meaning more people socialise outdoors could be behind the figures.

However virologist Dr David Matthews from the University of Bristol insists it is likely to mean Britain is close to herd immunity.

He told the Telegraph: “In terms of herd immunity – by which we mean the virus has managed to reach everybody and therefore most people will have a level of immune memory – I suspect we’re very close to it.

“Assuming nothing truly spectacularly left field happens, then this pandemic is pretty much over for the UK. I suspect we will not see a major surge this winter, or any serious levels of fatalities.

“The more we close the gap on the last 10 per cent who haven’t had the vaccine, the better we will be. Everyone will eventually meet the virus and it is far better to do so vaccinated.”

According to ONS figures nearly 92 per cent of UK adults have Covid antibodies, either from being infected by the virus or taking the vaccine.

Public Health England epidemiologist Dr Meaghan Kall has said data indicates those aged 24 and over are “very close to herd immunity”.

Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, added that crowds mixing to watch the Euro 2020 football tournament could have helped in the road to herd immunity.

He said: "A lot of people might be disgusted by me saying this, but ultimately the Euros might turn out to be one of the things that make the rest of the summer less stressful, as we've effectively immunised a lot more younger people who wouldn't otherwise have come for or been available for a vaccine.

“But I would stress that I would never suggest that as a control strategy in advance.”

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