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UK set to reach herd immunity ‘within days’ according to scientific modelling

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The UK is set to achieve Covid-19 herd immunity within days with more than 70% of Brits protected against the virus, according to scientific modelling. Modelling carried out by University College London (UCL) suggests the country should pass the threshold for herd immunity due to the number of people protected through vaccination or after recovering from the virus. UCL’s report, published on Sunday, states that by tomorrow 73.4% of the population should have antibodies – enough to consider the country has reached herd immunity. Experts said the threshold fluctuates depending on the transmission risk which they expect will fall during spring, while daily deaths are ‘predicted to fall to low levels’ by the end of May.

Prof Karl Friston, of UCL, told The Telegraph: ‘The herd immunity estimates surprised me. However, they are unremarkable when one considers that over 50% of adults have been vaccinated, around 42% of people have now been exposed to the virus and about 10% have pre-existing immunity.  ‘When factoring in the estimated efficacy of vaccination in terms of sterilising immunity, this – according to the model – means about 70% of the population are immune.

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‘Based upon contact rates at the beginning of the pandemic and estimated transmission risk, this is nearly at the herd immunity threshold.’ However, UCL’s report warns: ‘Much like long-term weather forecasts, the ensuing predictions should not be taken too seriously because there is an inherent (although quantified) uncertainty about underlying epidemiological and socio-behavioural variables.’ The university’s predictions are a stark contrast to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) most recent figures stating that around half of Britons now have antibodies.

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