At The Spectator’s data hub, updated daily, we keep track of the situation here and around the world. There have been several milestones recently: antibody levels hitting 55 per cent amongst the general population and above 85 per cent for pensioner-aged (who account for the vast majority Covid deaths).
Vaccination is paying off: the below graph shows a breakdown by age group. The under-65s are in red.
The UK vaccine rollout has been in the world’s top five. And for all its recent troubles, AstraZeneca has shown in real-world tests to be every bit as effective as suggested in trials — as evidenced by antibody growth. This morning we added another table, seeing where Covid infections are relative to their peak. Britain is now 97 per cent below the peak hit before lockdown — the sharpest decline in the developed world. The below is a section of the G20 countries, but with fully-reopened Israel added in. As you can see, it's right on our tail.
Of course, under the Prime Minister’s roadmap, this won't change the date ending lockdown: 21 June. But this perhaps gives ground for the reopening of hairdressers next week. I'd personally advocate decriminalisation of all Covid rules at this point, downgrading the guidelines to 'advice' and trust people's judgment a bit more. If every rule was abolished on Monday, I suspect it would take a long time for people to regain the confidence to resume normal life.
Britain has had one of the worst Covid death tolls in the world: today's success in driving down cases should be seen in that context. But the severity of the spread in UK has left higher recovery immunity even in unvaccinated age groups (almost half of under-25s have antibodies, according to the ONS) which limits the size of any third wave. UCL argues that we'll hit herd immunity this week: we discuss this in the latest edition of The Spectator's Coffee House Shots podcast. In general, Covid is back down to (or below) summer levels and almost all of those at risk of fatal infection have been protected.