After Boris Johnson's announcement that social distancing would become optional as of next Monday, 17 May, The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has said that another COVID-19 wave for the UK is inevitable.
A new wave is sure to hit
With the loosening of coronavirus safety measures comes yet another wave that will see an increase in infection and death rates but experts confirm it will be nowhere near as bad as it was in the spring and winter of 2020.
In fact, a resurgence in the virus is more than expected to happen but SAGE scientists believe that it will not put insurmountable pressure on hospitals in light of the 'better-than-expected' vaccine rollout program and warmer weather fast approaching:
Any resurgence in hospital admissions and deaths following Step 3 of the Roadmap alone is highly unlikely to put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
This is primarily due to recent evidence that vaccines significantly reduce onwards transmission from people who have been vaccinated but nevertheless become infected then symptomatic.
This suggests that if baseline policies to reduce transmission are kept in place at the end of the Roadmap, behaviour does not return to pre-pandemic levels, and vaccine roll out progresses, there is an opportunity to keep the next resurgence very small.
Boris Johnson reassures the public
PM Boris Johnson has also acknowledged the very real possibility of another wave hitting the UK following the easing of restrictions but is optimistic that mass vaccination has provided sufficient shielding.
He explains that, just like other influenza variants, deaths will unfortunately occur but will remain very low compared to what was observed at the height of the pandemic:
Whenever we ease the lockdown – whether it’s today or in six or nine months – we’ve got to be realistic and accept that there will be more infections, more hospitalisations and therefore, sadly, more deaths, just as there are every year with flu.