Independent experts today said that Covid cases will plummet without the Government’s winter “Plan B” because the virus will run dry of people to infect. This was despite the fact that the Government has no winter ‘Plan B”.  

Scientists are optimistic that the combination of the booster vaccination rollout and rising natural immunity will result in a’substantial, rapid’ fall in deaths, hospitalisations, and cases. There won’t be any need for mandatory face masks, work from home, or vaccine passports. 

The epidemic’s trajectory this winter has caused a split in No10’s own scientific advisory panel SAGE. Many key members are publicly pushing for more restrictions to prevent the NHS becoming overwhelmed in the future.

But many of the scenarios forecasted by the group’s modelling teams have daily cases plunging over the coming weeks to as low as 5,000, even if the virus is allowed to spread unchecked. 

Ministers have been able to reject calls to revert back to Plan B because of the unusually optimistic modeling. 

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, supported the modeling, telling MailOnline that he expects a “substantial, rapid fall” in the epidemic over the next few weeks. 

He stated that booster vaccines will boost immunity by half the population, and added: “The boosters are working better than we thought they would.”

Dr Raghib Ali, a Cambridge University epidemiologist, says that children who were responsible for the recent surge in cases will have received significant natural and jab-induced protection.  

The half-term school holiday — which for many schools started today — will act as a mini firebreaker and bring down cases further, experts believe. 

Dr Ali and Professor Hunter do not believe that cases will drop to 5,000 per hour, due to the emergence a new transmissible strain of Delta. 

Yet other scientists have warned it is impossible to accurately predict how the outbreak will unfold and that Plan B measures — such as WFH guidance and face masks — should be brought back now to control rising infections just in case.  

Professor Martin McKee is a public health expert based in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He said he would be cautious about making any Christmas arrangements because of the ‘high number’ of cases and the emergence of AY.4.2, which appears’more transmissible then Delta’.  

The number of daily Covid cases in Britain last week exceeded 50,000, which is a three month high. There were more than 80.000 positive tests at the height of last winter’s second wave. However, infections fell yesterday for the first-time in almost three weeks, further complicating the debate about what’s next.

Ministers are following ‘Plan A,’ which focuses on boosters and jabbing 12- to 15-year olds with flu vaccine.

Boris Johnson last week rejected calls from the NHS and scientists to implement ‘Plan B’, which includes vaccine passports, masks and WFH. It is reserved for situations in which the health system is under ‘unsustainable’ stress. 

Ministers were also reported to have discussed a “Plan C” in the event of all else failing, which could include banning household mixing.  

LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE: These charts show the impact of returning to normal level of social mixing in three months (bottom) versus remaining cautious for a year - and the impact this would have on infections (left), admissions (middle) and deaths (right). The models show cases plummeting by November in both scenarios thanks to natural immunity but rising in spring (bottom) when vaccine protection is expected to wane

LONDON SCHOOLS OF HYGIENE & TROPICAL MEDICINE – These charts show the difference between returning to a normal level in social mixing (bottom) and remaining cautious for a year (right). The impact this would have on infections, admissions, and deaths (left), middle and right. The models show cases falling in both scenarios due to natural immunity and rising in spring (bottom), as vaccine protection is expected decrease.

Even in the most pessimistic scenarios, SAGE estimated that daily Covid hospital admissions would not rise above 1,500. More optimistic models had them peaking at below 1,000 in winter. The above charts are based on modelling by Warwick University and look at how quickly people go back to pre-pandemic social contacts. It was based on the booster doses giving 'sustained' immunity

SAGE estimates that daily Covid hospital visits will not rise above 1,500, even under the most pessimistic scenarios. These numbers would have a lower peak in winter if they were based on more optimistic models. The following charts are based upon modelling by Warwick University. They show how quickly people can return to pre-pandemic social contact. It was based on booster doses of’sustained immune system’.

Other SAGE modelling took into account 'repeated' waning from booster doses, and projected that hospital admissions could breach levels seen during the second wave in January under the worst-case projections

Other SAGE modelling also took into consideration’repeated’ waning from booster dosing and projected that hospitalizations could exceed levels seen in January’s second wave.


Covid Plan B required now to stop a ‘winter meltdown.

Social distancing and masks need to be reimposed now to avoid a ‘meltdown in the middle of winter’ and save Christmas , several Government scientists warned today.

Experts warned that the current infection rate is unacceptable and suggested that vaccines alone would not be enough to control Covid or protect the NHS during the colder months.

It is despite the fact that No10’s modellers are growing optimistic, stating that daily cases could drop to just 5,000 next months without any restrictions due natural immunity and booster jabs.

But Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of an influential subcommittee of SAGE , said enacting ‘Plan B’ now would be a ‘sensible’ safeguard that’s ‘not very disruptive’.

Professor Adam Finn, who advises Ministers on Covid jabs took it a step further by claiming that compulsory masks and other curbs are needed ‘to control things’.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, has promised a normal Christmas this year as long over-50s and vulnerable Britons receive their booster vaccines. He stated this in a series of interviews: “The facts right now show that we don’t believe the data requires us move to Plan B.”

He added: ‘For all those people like me that are hoping and planning for a normal Christmas – which I do by the way, I think that’s where we’ll be, we’ll have a normal Christmas… Let’s just keep playing our part.’

Ministers have taken heart from SAGE modelling which was unusually optimistic and predicted that the epidemic will shrink or remain well below previous waves this year even without the Government’s Plan A of vaccine passports, facemasks, and WFH. Experts predict that cases could fall to 5,000 per day during this festive period, as well as other models not yet published.

Last night, there were more hopes that Britain could avoid another winter crisis. Data from Israel suggests that booster jabs can dramatically reduce hospitalisations and cases.

The country, which has been a leader in vaccinations and boosters, started offering boosters after immunity began to wane in the heat. Nearly half of the country’s population has received a third shot, and hospitalisations have dropped by half in the last week.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM), has shown that SAGE cases could fall to 5,000 per person over Christmas if the virus is not spread by younger people who are driving the current high number of cases.

Professor Hunter, although he was not involved in the projections, agreed with them. He stated: “Over the next couple of weeks we should begin to see a substantial drop in cases followed by ten days to two week hospitalisations. A further fortnight later, I expect a drop in deaths.

It’s because immunity. We are seeing a significant number of cases in children at the moment, which is very concerning. This cannot continue. The virus is outpacing non-immune individuals to infect.

He said, “The other thing is that over 93% of adults have antibodies.” [according to ONS estimates]While antibodies aren’t the only factor that influences immunity, they can be used as a marker.

Professor Hunter said that he didn’t expect cases falling as fast as those estimates. The modelling did not include AY4.2, which is more infectious than its predecessor and has evidence suggesting it to be up to 15% more dangerous. It now accounts for almost 10 percent of all infections in England. 

He said, “Even though the fall isn’t as rapid as that of the LSHTM model it still raises questions about the purpose of having more restrictions.”

‘Plan B measures are effective to certain extent — mask wearing for example we predict can reduce transmission by 10 to 20 per cent. They delay. Delaying was crucial last year to give us more time to develop better treatments.

‘If we believe that the LSHTM model is correct, and by Christmas we have very little Covid around, then what’s all the point? Why would we want to increase restrictions on Covid?

MailOnline was informed by Dr Raghib Ali, an epidemiologist at Cambridge University. He also said that he expects the three Covid measurements will begin to drop next month.

He stated that he was confident that all three would fall, but he wasn’t certain that cases will drop to 5,000 per hour. [as suggested by LSHTM’s model].

‘This is due to a combination of several factors – firstly, we’ve seen as cases rise, people change their behaviour. It was evident in July [after the Euro 2020 surge]As with previous waves of the epidemic, people begin to take better care and wear masks more. This is especially true if you are older and at greater risk.

“Then you have the combination vaccine programme for teenagers and natural immunity build-up in primary and second-grade school-aged children.” 

Last month saw the rollout of one dose of the Pfizer jab for 12-15-year-olds. However, only about two in ten have been administered in England.

Dr Ali spoke about the power and effectiveness of natural immunity. He said that London has the lowest rates for vaccinations in the country. However, it also has one of the lowest rates for Covid.

“It’s hard for me to think of any other explanation than high levels of immunity from previous pandemics.

‘The third factor is obviously booster doses, data in Israel and the UAE shows they are very effective at bringing down all three things – hospitalisations, deaths and cases.’

England has already distributed 5.2million boosters, but there are concerns about the slow rollout.

However, there were hopes that Britain could avoid another winter-related health crisis. Data from Israel suggests that booster jabs can significantly decrease hospitalisations and cases. 

Dr Ali dismissed calls by the Government to return to Plan B and added: “If respectable teams.” [like the LSHTM]Are now predicting cases falling next month. Then there are no restrictions.

“I’m not encouraging people to not wear masks, I wear one myself, but it doesn’t need to be mandated. I encourage everyone to take care, wear a mask – particularly around high-risk people.

“But I don’t believe it’s necessary.” [Plan B]It would make a big difference. We all want to see a decrease in hospitalizations and deaths. I’m not sure masks will do it, but boosters might. 

Only 4.5million (green) of the 9.3million eligible English citizens have received the crucial third dose. Ministers urge people to come forward to get their inoculations.


Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline he expects a 'substantial fall' in cases over the coming weeks, followed by hospitalisations and deaths.

Dr Raghib Ali told MailOnline he also expected Covid measurements to drop as people change their behaviour in response to rising infections, the vaccine programme and the build up of natural immunity

MailOnline spoke with Professor Paul Hunter (left), an University of East Anglia professor of epidemiology. He said he expects to see a’substantial drop’ in cases in the coming weeks. This will be followed by hospitalisations or deaths. And Cambridge University epidemiologist Dr Raghib Ali (right) told MailOnline he also expected Covid measurements to drop as people change their behaviour in response to rising infections, the vaccine programme and the build up of natural immunity

Public health expert Professor Martin McKee told MailOnline he would be 'very cautious about making firm arrangements for Christmas' amid 'a very high level' of cases and new variant AY.4.2 'that seems to be more transmissible than Delta'

Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the independent Scientific Pandemic Insights group SPI-B, told MailOnline it is difficult to predict how high cases will get, so measures such as working from home and limiting contacts should be brought back now to control rising infections

Professor Martin McKee, a public health expert, told MailOnline that he would be cautious about making arrangements for Christmas due to the’very high’ number of cases and new variant AY.4.2 which he believes is more transmissible than Delta. Professor Stephen Reicher (right), a member in the Independent Scientific Pandemic Insights group SPI-B told MailOnline that it is difficult to predict how many cases would occur. Therefore, it is important to take measures like working from home, limiting contacts, and working from home to reduce the risk of getting infected.

The above graph shows the proportion of cases down to different variants in England over time. It reveals AY.4.2 (yellow) is beginning to make up a higher proportion of cases. But Delta (light green) remains the dominant Covid strain. Alpha (purple) was dominant last winter, after it replaced the old virus (pink and dark green)

The graph above shows the percentage of cases that have been affected by different variants of English over time. It is evident that AY.4.2 (yellow), has begun to make up a larger proportion of cases. Delta (lightest green) is still the dominant Covid virus strain. After replacing the old virus, which was pink and dark green, Alpha (purple), was dominant last winter.

“And I think there is danger that if they feel that all these restrictions will be coming in, then they might not feel the need to get booster doses. So the emphasis should be on boosters.

Dr Ali demanded half a billion doses of booster vaccinations to be administered each day and that the gap between second- and third doses be reduced to six to five years.

He stated, “I want all nine priority cohorts to be vaccinated with a booster vaccine by the Christmas holidays.” 

Sajid Javid suggests that 100,000 NHS staff may be FIRED. He admits that he is ‘leaning towards making Covid jabs compulsory to medics.

Under new plans being considered, the Government will tell NHS staff not vaccinated to get their Covid jabs. 

Some 100,000 healthcare workers — or seven per cent — are still yet to show up for their first dose in England.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid said bringing in compulsory jabs was the ‘clear direction of travel’ despite fears staff could quit the health service at a critical time.

Sky News asked Mr Javid if he could confirm that plans could be made this winter. He replied: “I’m leaning towards it.”

He stated that those who failed to get the jab were putting serious ill patients at risk. 

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, said that forcing vaccinations on medics was a mistake and warned it could lead to staff shortages among doctors. 

The ‘no jabs, no jobs’ policy is already in place in care homes. Staff working in elderly residences should be reminded of it by November 11. 

Care bosses warn that many homes will have to close due to insufficient vaccinated workers. 

While vaccines have been shown to significantly reduce the chance of someone dying or being hospitalized for Covid, they are not as effective in stopping transmission. 

MailOnline was told by Professor McKee of LSHTM that while SAGE models provide ‘high-quality estimates of what might happen,’ there are still’many unknowns’ about winter, including how people adapt to it.  

He stated that he saw it when the (Immensa Health Clinic laboratory scandal) infected South West residents were falsely told they were not. So they didn’t take precautions and the cases soared.

Plan B must be implemented to avoid another lockdown. “Dithering and delay” on imposing less-stringent limitations makes a lockdown more probable, he stated.

Professor McKee said: “The most recent estimates [of 5,000 cases a day by LSHTM]They may prove to be right, but given the consequences if they’re wrong, I would be cautious.

“It’s difficult to predict what could happen by Christmas, not to mention that we now have a new variant which seems to be more transmissible then Delta.

He said, “But, infections are already very high, far higher than when other countries impose greater restrictions.” It’s obvious that the decisions regarding restrictions in England are based on political rather than scientific grounds. 

“I would be very cautious about making any firm arrangements for Christmas.

MailOnline was informed by Stephen Reicher, a member the Independent Scientific Pandemic Insights Group SPI-B, that making predictions about infection levels is an ‘inexact pastime’. 

He said that efforts should be focused on what can actually be done to reduce the cases.

Professor Reicher said the key ways of reducing infections are behavioural — increasing vaccine uptake, limiting contacts, including by working from home, increasing ventilation and ensuring infected people self-isolate. 

He stated that it is necessary to communicate clearly and consistently about the need to reduce infections and how to do this. 

‘Now the messaging is all over the place, often inaccurate, and even suggesting that infections don’t matter… at which point why do anything,’ he said.

Also, the frame of the discussion must be changed. If “all Covid measures sound bad”, then “you put people off the sensible interventions that protect them and increase our choice.”

He stated that the level of hospitalisations, deaths, and infections is up to everyone. 

‘But all of us must include the Government, which provides the information and protections we need to do the right things. They aren’t.