Tim Spector

Infections are Peaking Nationwide as They Fall in the Unvaccinated, Says Professor Tim Spector

Reported positive Covid tests hit a new recent high yesterday of 48,553, confirming for many that their fears of a big exit wave are coming to pass.

However, Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, had another message: according to his data, infections are already peaking.

ZOE data for July 11th (data from the app is always four days behind) showed 32,920 symptomatic infections in the U.K., and this appears to have peaked (R is currently estimated to be around 1) and may already be starting to drop (see above).

Why is this so different to the new daily ‘cases’ reported by the Government, which show no obvious sign of peaking?

Professor Tim Spector Calls for Vaccination of Children ‘Because Delta Variant’

King’s College London Professor of Genetics Tim Spector dismayed many of his Twitter followers yesterday by calling for the vaccination of older children. The reason? Because the Delta (Indian) variant means we now need 85% of the population vaccinated to reach herd immunity, he claims.

Professor Spector, who leads the ZOE Covid symptom study, was replying on Twitter to Israeli scientist Eran Segal, who tweeted: “Before Delta, Israel reached herd immunity or close to it. To regain herd immunity, we need to vaccinate as many of the 1.2 million over the age of 12 who have not yet been vaccinated.”

Spector wrote: “In the U.K. with delta we need to get near 85% of the population – which also means vaccinating older children.”

In calling for this, Prof Spector appears not to be concerned about the worries of many scientists including members of the JCVI about the benefit-versus-risk balance for teenagers in having the vaccine, or the ethics of suggesting children should be given a vaccine with no long-term safety data not for their own benefit but for the benefit of others.

The notion that a threshold of herd immunity will only be reached if 85% of the population is vaccinated also bears no relationship to real-world data. It’s not entirely clear what Segal and Spector mean by herd immunity in these tweets, but if they mean that without an 85% vaccination rate the Delta variant will continue indefinitely to cause mass hospitalisations and deaths, then perhaps they would like to explain why India’s test positivity rate entered a sustained plummet nearly two months ago, despite the Delta variant being dominant and the country at that point having only 2.5% of its population fully vaccinated? (The figure now stands scarcely higher at 4.3%.)

Britons Catching Covid after Being Vaccinated Get Milder Symptoms

According to the data gathered by the ZOE Covid Study app based at King’s College London, Britons catching coronavirus post-vaccination get a milder form of the disease. Sarah Knapton, the Telegraph‘s Science Editor, has more.

The team at King’s said as the number of people being vaccinated increased, those reporting an infection after the jab was rising, but the symptoms had changed.

Prof Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app, and professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s, said: “Whereas in the past about half of people had classic symptoms in the first week, less than a third do now, if they’ve had a vaccination.

“And so you’re gonna get less symptoms, they’ll be less severe, they won’t be classic, so do keep an open mind and do get a test when we ask you to, that way we’ll keep a close eye on it, and make sure that even if mild, you’re not going to pass it on to other people.

“The importance of our survey is getting even greater because the disease is shifting. The fact that we haven’t relied on those three symptoms like official government ones allows us much more breadth to find out what’s really going on, and whether not only the new various [sic] might be causing different symptoms.”

A third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, latest figures have shown. A total of 17,669,379 people have received both jabs, the equivalent of 33.5 per cent of all people aged 18 and over.

Meanwhile, 35,371,669 people in the UK have now received a first dose of vaccine, the equivalent of 67.2 per cent of the adult population.

King’s estimates the current risk of a Covid-19 infection for the unvaccinated is one in 46,855, falling to 1 in 97,616 after the first dose, and 1 in 167,341 after the second dose.

Time to reopen Boris?

Worth reading in full.

Vaccines the Cause of Britain’s Drop In Covid Cases, Not Lockdown, Says KCL Epidemiologist

A King’s College London epidemiologist has said that Britain’s “exemplar vaccine programme” – which has seen almost 40 million first and second doses administered – is behind the drop in Covid cases since January. Professor Tim Spector’s view contrasts with that of the Prime Minister who believes lockdown – not the vaccine – has delivered “this improvement in the pandemic“. The Mail has the story.

Vaccines are behind Britain’s sharp drop in coronavirus cases since January, top experts claimed today – despite Boris Johnson insisting lockdown was the reason for the fall.  

Professor Tim Spector, a King’s College London epidemiologist who runs the UK’s largest Covid symptom tracking study, said the epidemic had “mainly” been squashed by the “exemplar vaccine programme”.

With more than 60% of the population jabbed with at least one dose and up to 10% protected due to prior infection, Professor Spector added Britain was “starting to see herd immunity take effect”.

His comments come after data from his symptom-tracking app showed a 17% drop in daily cases last week, with an estimated 1,600 new symptomatic infections a day across the country – down from 60,000 at the peak in January.

Separate Test and Trace figures showed new cases in England had dipped by 34% last week, with 19,196 positive tests recorded in the seven days to April 7th – compared to 29,178 at the end of March. 

Professor Spector said: “As the UK slowly exits lockdown, I’m encouraged to see Covid cases continue to fall with our rates among the lowest in Europe. 

“In fact, the UK closely mirrors cases in Israel with its exemplar vaccine programme. Based on our data and countries like Israel, I believe the fall in cases since January is mainly thanks to the vaccination programme and less about the strict lockdown the UK has been under since late December. 

“With up to 60% of the population vaccinated and around five to 10% with natural immunity due to infection, we’re starting to see herd immunity take effect. This should prevent future large-scale outbreaks.”

Professor Spector warned it was inevitable cases would pick up again as restrictions are eased over the coming months. But he said any outbreaks would be “smaller” and “manageable” and among groups yet to be vaccinated.

The Prime Minister has been underplaying the impact of the vaccine for some weeks. As well as pinning the fall in Covid cases on lockdown rather than on the vaccine rollout, he recently said that vaccinated people must not meet indoors because jabs “are not giving 100% protection” – this despite the fact that the risk of catching a symptomatic Covid infection for two people who have been vaccinated is about one in 400,000. His confidence in lockdowns has, however, stood firm, despite an increasing number of studies showing they’re ineffective.

The report by the Mail is worth reading in full.