As UK nears zero Covid deaths, there’s good reason for optimism

Analysis: the vaccine strategy and staggered easing of restrictions have worked well. The next step is crucial

The handling of the coronavirus crisis in the UK has provided few moments to celebrate, but the day we reach zero deaths from the disease will clearly be one to toast. That day may not be far off. On Tuesday, the UK reported four Covid deaths within 28 days of a positive test. On Monday it was only one. Months of painful lockdown, in the face of more transmissible variants, and the rapid rollout of effective vaccines, have proven their worth. We have good reason to feel optimistic for the months ahead.

No one will have forgotten the brutal winter. In January alone, the UK reported nearly 32,000 Covid deaths, an appalling tally directly linked to locking down too late. In April, the death toll fell to 753. This month, scientists advising the government expect deaths to fall further. It is worth remembering that it’s been more than nine months since the UK last reported zero Covid deaths. We may see more in May, though people will continue to die of Covid, and the numbers might well rise again when restrictions are lifted on indoor mixing.

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