This is my forecast of UK COVID-19 deaths based on the England lockdown relaxation timetable. It’s more difficult to forecast now with impact of vaccines and new variants introducing more uncertainty.
The outcome is highly dependent on the success of vaccine rollout, but it’s looking positive. If vaccines are effective at reducing transmission then R doesn’t go much above 1 and deaths stay low.
I’ve also modelled a scenario where vaccines are poor at preventing transmission, where deaths increase as restrictions are removed. Early evidence doesn’t support this outcome, but new variants could reduce effectiveness.
Below is an explanation of R rates I’ve used in my UK COVID-19 modelling. The lockdown relaxation timetable looks to be a pragmatic timeline that keeps R near 1 – as long as vaccines are effective at reducing transmission.
Vaccines also assumed to reduce hospitalisations and mortality, so deaths reduced (compared with last year) even when R is greater than 1.