The Government’s favoured modellers appear to have settled on a figure for the greater infectiousness of the Delta (Indian) variant: a spanking 60%. Reuters reports.
Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London told reporters that estimates of Delta’s transmission edge over Alpha had narrowed, and “we think 60% is probably the best estimate”.
Ferguson said that modelling suggested any third wave of infections could rival Britain’s second wave in the winter – which was fuelled by the Alpha variant first identified in Kent, south east England.
But it was unclear how any spike in hospitalisations would translate into a rise in deaths, as more detail was needed on how well the vaccine protects against serious illness from Delta.
“It’s well within possibility that we could see another third wave at least comparable in terms of hospitalisations,” he said.
“I think deaths probably would be lower, the vaccines are having a highly protective effect… still it could be quite worrying. But there is a lot of uncertainty.”
Ferguson isn’t the only one making such doom-laden predictions. The usually more sanguine Philip Thomas of Bristol University is also predicting an “enormous” third wave in the summer. It will be “far bigger than the second”, he says, because of the Delta variant. “There is no hiding place. Either you’ve had the virus or been vaccinated, or you are pretty likely to get Covid this summer.” Ah, so another model that doesn’t factor in prior immunity or T-cells. Professor Thomas writes: