Yesterday saw new daily cases fall again across the UK with 9,834 recorded, down 10 percent from last week. As a result of the figures, an epidemiologist claimed herd immunity is behind the falling cases in the UK.
Speaking anonymously after being abused for their views on lockdowns, the epidemiologist said they believe more than half of the country have some protection from coronavirus.
Saturday saw another 334,679 received their first dose of a vaccine, with 10,263 receiving their second.
In total, 17,582,121 Brits have received their first shot of a coronavirus vaccine and 615,148 have received their second.
The Office of National Statistics also said in a report released February 16 nearly one in five English adults, equivalent to 8.3 million people, had antibodies from coronavirus.
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The epidemiologist told the MailOnline the UK could have developed herd immunity from the vaccine roll out, although no data yet confirms this.
They said: “It’s a strong possibility that we could already have it (herd immunity), not just in the UK.
“It is possible that is what is having an impact. With the vaccine, we do not have the data yet, apart from some data from AstraZeneca, to show if it stops transmission.
“The vaccine, at the moment it seems, is protecting people from going to hospital and that’s what you need.”
England went into its third coronavirus lockdown January 4, which the epidemiologist admitted could have also driven down cases.
They said: “I could create a model which shows that this is down to lockdown or I can create one which says it is down to herd immunity.
“The likelihood is it is could be down to both.
“But the Government is continuing its messaging which is to stay in lockdown, which causes other problems and could impact on herd immunity.”
While they admitted herd immunity would not stop coronavirus, they suggested it would keep the virus at manageable levels within the community and added: “That’s the destination.
“If we can get to a place where there are no deaths and we are living with COVID-19, which is what we do with other diseases and with other coronavirus forms which people have not heard of – for exactly that reason.”
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It comes as the Prime Minister will speak today on the “roadmap” out of lockdown, emphasising a “cautious but irreversible” approach.
Mr Johnson stressed data will be used at “every step” of the Government’s planned exit from lockdown, with four conditions required before more rules can be lifted.
The four tests are:
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
- There is evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admission
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.
March 8 will see all schools expected to reopen in England, outdoor sports and activities allowed and two people allowed to meet in public spaces with social distancing.
Matt Hancock, health secretary, also shared yesterday one in three people over 16 years old have now been given at least one vaccine dose.
He also confirmed every UK adult will be offered at least one vaccine by the end of July, and every over-50 will receive an offer by April 15.
Yesterday saw another 9,834 cases and 215 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
In total, the UK has recorded 4,115,509 cases and 120,580 deaths.
Weekend statistics are lower on average due to delays in case data being reported to health officials.