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HOPEFUL Covid hospital data suggests we should come out of lockdown on June 21.

Hospitals are nowhere near as full with Covid patients as what scientists had modelled earlier in the year.

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4This graph shows how many people are in hospital right now compared to what scientists at Imperial and Warwick estimated under two different unlocking scenarios.
The Govt chose a roadmap schedule that sat between the two scenarios, but hospital occupancy has not reached levels near either

Models given to Sage - the Govt scientific advisory group - date back to February, when ministers were considering how and when to exit the crippling lockdown.

Data shows that the number of patients in beds across England is currently ten times lower than worst-case predictions.

It bodes well for the Prime Minister’s considerations for lifting lockdown on June 21, of which the main one will be pressure on the NHS.

Boris Johnson will be looking at hospital data to see if vaccines have succesfully prevented severe disease, case rates and the threat of new variants.

But the Sage models have since been updated to reflect the new Covid variant (Delta), showing to cause more severe disease, has become dominant.

This week Prof Neil Ferguson said updated models given to ministers painted a bleak picture of a “substantial third wave” on the way.

But if February’s versions are anything to go by, it suggests the models are not always correct.

Prof Ferguson - whose previous work was instrumental in forcing the first national lockdown - said there were always large uncertainties with modelling.

He said scientists could not pin down how high hospital admissions could get in the summer as a result of rising Delta cases.

What does real data show?

The Government dashboard shows there were 876 people in England’s hospital as of June 8.

This has very slowly been rising since a low of 742 on May 27, due to the Delta variant.

However, NHS chiefs say most people in hospital are much younger than previous waves, and so aren’t as sick.

4There are less than 900 people in England's hospitals currently with Covid

What did modelling say?

Modelling from Warwick University, given to Sage in February, said hospital admissions could be between 1,000 and 2,000 right now.

Imperial College London warned it could be between 7,000 and 11,000.

The severity of the situation was based on different lockdown lifting plans.

The lower numbers were based on what would happen if all step 3 (indoor hospitality) happened on May 1, followed by all restrictions lifted on May 31.

Meanwhile, the worser numbers were based on step 3 occurring on June 7, with a lifting of lockdown on July 5.

In reality, the Govt chose to plan for somewhere in the middle, with step 3 on May 17 and “Freedom Day” no earlier than June 21.

But models can only be created based on data available at the time and do not age well, the past year has shown. 

Even scientists have called them "pessimistic".

4All scenarios considered by University of Warwick in its original model. The Govt chose a lockdown easing plan between scenario 2 and 3, with "Tier 1" on May 17 and “Freedom Day” no earlier than June 21 Updated models

Both the models were based on what would happen if the Alpha (Kent) variant remained dominant, which it has not.

The Delta variant, first seen in India, has rampaged across the UK, overthrowing Alpha due to being 60 per cent more transmissible.

A newer model from Warwick had looked at what would happen if there was a more easily spread variant - before Delta was discovered.

The paper, considered on May 5, said: “A variant that is 30-40 per cent more transmissible than B.1.1.7 [Kent] is projected to generate more total hospital admissions than the first wave.”

4What Warwick University said could happen if just May 17 went ahead

Scientists said that going ahead with lifting lockdown on June 21 could see daily hospitalisations reach 10,000 by the mid-July.

With only step 3, on May 17, they said daily hospital admissions reach 5,500 by the end of July. 

Currently around 110 are being admitted to hospital each day in England.

The models have been further updated since the discovery that Delta is both more fast spreading and able to weaken vaccines, too.

Prof Ferguson said work by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) is basically “saying there is a risk of a substantial third wave”.

“We cannot be definitive about the scale of that, it could be substantially lower than the second wave, or it could be of the same order of magnitude”, he said.

The significance of another wave “critically depends on how effective the vaccines still are at protecting people against hospitalisation and death against the Delta variant”, Prof Ferguson said.

Although hospitalisations are only at 110 now, Prof Ferguson said they will inevitably go upwards. 

But it was "hard to pin down" a figure in the models given to Government last week.

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The updated models from scientists reporting to Sage - the Government scientific advisory group - are bound to be considered as the PM decides whether to go ahead with the June 21 unlocking.

Hospital admissions across England and the UK are largely flat.

There have been significant increases in some hotspot areas, but an NHS chief said it was mostly young people being admitted and so hospitals were coping.

ZOE Covid app epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector says the Delta or Indian variant his hitting the young and unvaccinated

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Dramatically More Infectious: Medical Expert Dr. David Agus Warns Of Risks Of Delta Variant

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The coronavirus has become a truly moving target with the Delta variant being the current threat. CBS News Medical Expert Dr. David Agus, CEO of the Ellison Institute of Transformative Medicine, says it is a major threat.

“The Delta Variant is a subset of the COVID-19 virus that was originated in India and seems to be dramatically more infectious. You know, a week or two ago in the United States it was 6% or 7% of cases. Today it’s, you know 32% of cases and over the next two, three weeks, it’ll be 89% of cases in the United States because of its infectivity.”

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Dr. Agus says the good news is the current vaccines work on the Delta Variant.

“If you had two shots of Pfizer or Moderna, what we know is you’re protected from symptoms from the Delta Variant. 90% of people will have no symptoms at all, 10% have very, very mild symptoms. With one shot of Pfizer or Moderna, and you’re not really protected. Prior COVID-19 infection, you’re not really protected.”

And he says the jury is still out on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As for the unvaccinated, Dr. Agus says the Delta Variant is a more significant threat.

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“No question about it. If you’re an adult who is unvaccinated and you practice certain behaviors, until now, they may have protected you from getting the virus. But it’s all changed with this Delta Variant. It is much easier to spread. And then once you get it, you get much higher levels of virus because it goes from cell to cell much easier.”

And the unvaccinated who need to be concerned are also children, he says.

“Oh, no question about it. I mean, it’s just, it’s easier to spread. So before the kids could play in a playground, and there wasn’t enough interaction to spread the virus. Now there may be with this new variant. So we have to be really concerned and keep up our guard with our children who were not vaccinated, that means, wearing masks distancing which we don’t want to hear, but we have to do until they are protected. The virus can cause issues in children and they’re also a significant vehicle for continued spread of the virus in this country.”

Bottom line, Dr. Agus says we need to keep our kids protected, “Anywhere where they can have interactions with individuals at close distances they need to wear masks.”

That does not mean keeping them out of summer camps, which Dr. Agus says are doing a good job of testing and protecting.

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“It can be a very safe experience. And camps are starting to do a right they’re keeping all the kids in one bus together and not allowing it to go others because if there’s one case, they don’t want it to spread in the whole camp. And they’re being very strategic. So if you trust what your camp is doing and how they do it, it makes all the sense in the world to give children the socialization the athletic activities the outdoor activities in camp. It was good for all of us growing up.”

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