UK may be nearing end of pandemic with vaccination goal in sight, epidemiologist says

Neil Ferguson, epidemiologist and professor at Imperial College London, said he was 'positive that by late September or October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic'

England could be coming up on the end of its coronavirus pandemic after vaccinations resulted in a dramatic decline of risk for virus-blamed hospitalization and death, an epidemiologist said, according to a report.

 "We're not completely out of the woods, but the equation has fundamentally changed," Neil Ferguson, epidemiologist and professor at Imperial College London, told the BBC.

"The effect of vaccines is hugely reducing the risk of hospitalisations and death," Ferguson said. "And I'm positive that by late September or October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic."

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The comments come as England logged the highest number of hospitalized patients and deaths since March (5,918 and 131, respectively) though potential lags in reporting may have had an impact, Reuters reported. The outlet noted cases have been declining within the last seven days, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged against jumping to conclusions: "It is very, very important that we don't allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about (lower case numbers)," Johnson said, per Reuters.

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Johnson eased most of the country’s coronavirus-related restrictions on July 19 in phase four of the country’s roadmap to reopening, though, in a news release, the government warned "The pandemic is not over. Cases are increasing rapidly and a third wave is underway."

"While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious," the release reads. "We will continue to manage the virus and provide guidance over the coming months."

As of July 26, government data indicates over 39 million people in England have received an initial dose, with 31.3 million of the country's 68.2 million people now fully vaccinated.