The UK media remain keen to depress us all with gory details of how 100,000 people have died of Covid. To me the number is flawed, the real number should be excess deaths and not this easily disputable number. but it makes it easier for the loony 'Boris the Butcher' headcases to argue for lockdown forever etc.
On that note, the excellent progress in vaccination should mean that light is at the end of the tunnel, just when we are at the worst point of the pandemic yet.
It looks like all (ish) over 80's will have been vaccinated with an initial does by the end of January or early February. This will continue to bring case number down (which have fallen even faster than they rose, not that pundits seem to want to comment on that) even further.
The tricky decision will then be when to release lockdown. there are many knowns, the state of the economy, the lack of education, the lack of cancer and other treatments - these are not minor considerations.
The known unknowns are also hard - how effective is a one dose approach? will the younger population still suffer and end up with many deaths and hospitalisations if restrictions are reduced a lot? How long do the vaccine's give protection for? Will a new variant arise that nix's the whole strategy?
it is quite a balance, the Government do not want another lockdown after this. As such they will push it for as long as they think they can manage given the parlous economic circumstances, to buy the most time for the vaccine programme to work.
With that view, I think the idea schools will be back at end of February to be unlikely, but not impossible given the rapid vaccination rate and relative fall in numbers cases currently. With vaccine success, the end of March is a more likely time for Tier 3/4 in most of the Country.
If the lockdownders win, then end of April will be the worst case. Spring sees the virus struggle to transmit so easily anyway for a few months and cases will remain low whilst they carry on with a wider vaccination programme.
The worst case news is a variant develops that is vaccine resistant currently, such that it causes a 6-8 week delay in the current plan and end up with restrictions for a lot longer. I can't see Wimbledon or any sports having fans until the autumn and I am very glad I don't own a nightclub right now.