New infections, hospitalisations and deaths have surged over the past fortnight. Some health experts and opposition politicians have demanded the Government urgently reintroduce compulsory face coverings and work from home guidance as part of the Government’s “Plan B” in a bid to suppress the spread.
But it is thought modelling shared with the Government suggests the number of daily infections will plummet in the weeks leading up to Christmas, even without resorting to new Covid rules.
Over the past week there has been an average of 46,898 new cases a day, up 9.4 percent.
At the same time, in the past week there has been 949 new Covid deaths and 6,720 new hospital admissions.
There are now 8,238 patients in hospital who have tested positive for coronavirus.
The rise in hospitalisations has sparked concern the NHS could be overwhelmed.
In the face of the panic, Professor John Edmunds, a member Sage the sub-group SPI-M, said: “When we were doing the work about two weeks ago, the Health Secretary had made it very clear that the Government was not planning to introduce Plan B in the near future.
“Our model was projecting that cases would start to decline some time in the autumn.”
Speaking to The Telegraph, he added: “The model also suggests that cases may start to climb again in the spring, due to a combination of waning immunity and increased contacts.”
The publication reported other models share with the Government that have not been published pointed to a similar drop off in cases this winter.
Infections could even see close to a ten-fold drop to around 5,000 a day before Christmas.
The analysis will boost the Government’s bullishness about not resorting to its “Plan B” for dealing with the virus.
Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia said the modelling supported ministers’ actions.
He said: “What the modelling suggests is that even without Plan B, we should expect to see case numbers falling quite rapidly in the next few weeks.
“If correct, Christmas should see some of the lowest number of cases of Covid since late May/early June even without further restrictions.
“If it’s right, then this issue about whether we should be locking down is immaterial.
“We shouldn’t and the Government is doing the right thing.”
The Labour Party has led calls for fresh restrictions, with Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves suggesting the Government should “follow the science”.
Ms Reeves told the BBC Andrew Marr Show: “Some aspects of Plan B, like wearing masks on public transports and in shops, and also working from home more flexibly should be introduced.”
Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said “at the moment the data does not suggest that we should be immediately moving to Plan B”.
Speaking to Mr Marr, he added: “We’re looking at the data all the time, as you would expect us to.
“We’re monitoring everything, but at the moment the data does not suggest that we should be immediately moving to Plan B, but of course we will keep an eye on that and the plans are ready.”
He added that ministers had “modelled all scenarios” for the spread of the virus.
The Government is pushing for everybody eligible to get a jab to make sure they have done.
The booster programme to give a third injection to over 50s has been slow to get going. Only one in five 12-15 year olds have had the jab.