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Lockdown exit: Boris urged to ease restrictions as Covid deaths continue to sharply fall

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The original model suggested that deaths would not fall below 200 deaths a day until mid-March, yet that point was reached on February 25. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has promised that the easing of lockdown restrictions will be guided by “data, not dates.”

The most recent modelling projections by Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (SPI-M) were crucial in the production of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of the pandemic.

Mark Woolhouse, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told The Telegraph: “If the phrase ‘data-driven not date-driven’ has any meaning, then it must allow for the schedule for relaxing restrictions to be brought forward if the data are better than expected and not just putting the schedule back if the data are worse than expected.

“It remains the case that if we unlock too far, too quickly, we risk a resurgence.”

Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, Professor Carl Heneghan said we should wait until schools go back next week to ensure that numbers continue to fall.

He told The Telegraph “We all have to hit the pause button until then.

“But if, after schools go back, there isn’t a big uptick then we’re in a very different position and can think about opening up sooner rather than later.”

Modelling may be running behind real-world data because it failed to estimate the effectiveness of the British vaccination programme.

SPI-M estimated that the vaccines would reduce risk of infection between 24 and 48 per cent after the first dose.

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