Scientist have given a grim warning that to fully open schools will spark a second wave of coronavirus by December, potentially causing another full lockdown.
Members of the scientific community across the UK are very concerned, as the daily number of deaths are still in triple figures, with more dying now, than when the country went into full lockdown on 23 March.
On Saturday, the coronavirus death toll increased by a further 204, bringing the official UK total to 40,465.
Under Boris Johnson’s plan, he is wanting schools to resume with a phased plan in easing of the lockdown.
Some pupils from reception year 1 and year six returned back to school this week, and secondary pupils from year 10 and 12 to return by July.
However, scientists at UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have given a stark warning, that sending all children back to school in September, could trigger a more deadly and far larger second wave in December.
Professor Chris Bonell, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said to the BBC, “Our concern from the data at the moment is test-trace-isolate is not reaching the coverage we think is the minimum.
“There is clearly a risk of a second pandemic wave… I’m worried. The R [rate of virus spread] is a bit below one [the point at which the number of new cases starts to take off again], but the incidence is high so it’s precarious.”
Dr Jasmina Panovska-Griffiths, from UCL warned, “Cases are not coming down as much as we wanted.”
She added, “I would caution against reopening schools when we are doing a lot of other interventions and we don’t know the impact of them.
Everything depends on control of transmission, there is the threat of a second pandemic wave.”
Dr Ed Hill, from the University of Warwick further warned, “If we reopen all schools it could push R above 1 in some regions.
“Decisions surrounding reopening of schools are a difficult trade-off between the epidemiological consequences and the needs of the children in terms of educational development.”
Public Health England (PHE) have teamed up with Cambridge University and analysis has found the North West has the highest reproduction rate of coronavirus in Britain.
The R value which is the reproduction rate of coronavirus has now reached 1.01, anything above 1 means the virus is rapidly infecting people, which means the North West of England will become the new epicentre.
The director of PHE Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy of Thameside Council has ordered schools to not reopen “until there is further assurance,” as the R value is worryingly high.