Yet the Government may choose to pull the trigger before cases and admissions rise considerably, in the hope of fending off a future wave.
“When you make a move, you have to go earlier than you think you want to, you have to go harder than you think you want to, and you need to make sure you’ve got the right geographical coverage,” added Sir Patrick.
However, there is a slight problem with relying on advice from the modelling group as the experts now admit that they misread the exit wave. All the modelling teams predicted a large summer spike, but it failed to materialise.
“The large-scale outbreaks that were considered feasible after taking Step 4 have not been seen,” the experts admitted in their statement, and said predicted highs would be unlikely without waning immunity or a novel variant.
The team said it did not appreciate the impact of the Euro 2020, the warmer weather, the closure of schools, or Test and Trace.
Cause for optimism?
Prof Medley added: “To be completely honest, I don’t think any of the modellers have a very good explanation for what happened.
“We are still waiting for the full effect of schools reopening and potentially people going back to work to play through the data, but I think we are unlikely to see the very high levels that we have seen in the past.”
There is more cause for optimism. Cases in Scotland are now falling again after a worrying spike, despite no interventions, possibly because of changes in behaviour in response to rising case numbers.
So it is possible that the fear of Plan B will be enough to keep the virus at manageable levels without ever needing to impose it.