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Covid herd immunity could be reached ‘within days’ in the UK

The UK is on course to achieve herd immunity to Covid-19 within days, according to scientific modelling.

With more than 70% of Brits protected against the virus as the vaccine rollout continues at a staggering speed, the UK is set to pass the threshold for herd immunity.

Dynamic casual modelling carried out by University College London (UCL), published on Sunday, states that 73.4% of the population should have anti-bodies – enough to consider as herd immunity.

The threshold fluctuates depending on transmission risk which experts expect to fall during spring along with daily deaths “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.

“Based upon contact rates at the beginning of the pandemic and estimated transmission risk, this is nearly at the herd immunity threshold.”

The 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 most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are in stark contrast stating that around half of Brits now have antibodies.

Blood samples taken at random in the week ending March 14 showed more than 54% of people in England had antibodies, compared with around 50% in Wales, more than 42% in Scotland and about 49% in Northern Ireland.

The report comes as more than 31.5 million people have received their first vaccine jab with more than 5.5 million having received their second dose.

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