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PubMed; 2022.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-337393


England has experienced a heavy burden of COVID-19, with multiple waves of SARS-CoV-2 transmission since early 2020 and high infection levels following the emergence and spread of Omicron variants since late 2021. In response to rising Omicron cases, booster vaccinations were accelerated and offered to all adults in England. Using a model fitted to more than 2 years of epidemiological data, we project potential dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospital admissions and deaths in England to December 2022. We consider key uncertainties including future behavioural change and waning immunity, and assess the effectiveness of booster vaccinations in mitigating SARS-CoV-2 disease burden between October 2021 and December 2022. If no new variants emerge, SARS-CoV-2 transmission is expected to decline, with low levels remaining in the coming months. The extent to which projected SARS-CoV-2 transmission resurges later in 2022 depends largely on assumptions around waning immunity and to some extent, behaviour and seasonality.

Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326899


A new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron (B.1.1.529), has been identified based on genomic sequencing and epidemiological data in South Africa. Presumptive Omicron cases in South Africa have grown extremely rapidly, despite high prior exposure and moderate vaccination coverage. The available evidence suggests that Omicron spread is at least in part due to evasion of this immune protection, though Omicron may also exhibit higher intrinsic transmissibility. Using detailed laboratory and epidemiological data from South Africa, we estimate the constraints on these two characteristics of the new variant and their relationship. Our estimates and associated uncertainties provide essential information to inform projection and scenario modeling analyses, which are crucial planning tools for governments around the world.

Wellcome Open Research ; 5:213, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175761


Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown, contact clustering in social bubbles may allow extending contacts beyond the household at minimal additional risk and hence has been considered as part of modified lockdown policy or a gradual lockdown exit strategy. We estimated the impact of such strategies on epidemic and mortality risk using the UK as a case study.