A Checkpoint on the Roadmap
Our recent bulletin Modelling the Return of Freedoms summarised the modelling carried out by various modelling groups for SAGE, relating to the expected trajectory of cases, hospitalisations and deaths in England following an eventual move to Step 4.
The analysis by the Warwick group included a chart showing hospitalisations according to the assumed date of moving to Step 4 – reproduced below.
We have produced a chart to highlight the outcomes of two of the Warwick scenarios, the default scenario (black line - assuming we moved to Step 4 on 21 June) and the current scenario (orange line - assuming we move on 19 July). We have added in blue the current level of COVID-19 hospitalisations in England.
Each of the Warwick scenarios uses their default assumptions for key unknowns (such as transmission advantage of Delta against Alpha, vaccine rollout and vaccine efficacy).
Warwick’s modelling suggested that opening on 21 June could lead to an additional 17,100 deaths over the year to June 2022, with 8,500 deaths if opening on 26 July (their summary table didn’t include a figure for 19 July). Under their more optimistic assumptions on vaccine efficacy, earlier opening led to 6,320 deaths and opening on 26 July to 3,450 deaths.
It is clear that the current level of hospitalisation is significantly lower than that projected by the Warwick model. The increase in admissions was more gradual than the modelled scenario, although it has accelerated in recent days, as discussed here.
With hospital admissions currently running below the modelled scenarios, it is hoped that there will be fewer deaths than the scenarios described above. However, the modelled scenarios have hospital admissions stabilising in the coming days – we will continue to track the figures to see whether this proves to be the case.