Modelling the medium-term dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in England in the Omicron era

Barnard, Rosanna C. and Davies, Nicholas G. and Munday, James D. and Lowe, Rachel and Knight, Gwenan M. and Leclerc, Quentin J. and Tully, Damien C. and Hodgson, David and Pung, Rachael and Hellewell, Joel and Koltai, Mihaly and Simons, David and Abbas, Kaja and Kucharski, Adam J. and Procter, Simon R. and Sandmann, Frank G. and Pearson, Carl A.B. and Prem, Kiesha and Showering, Alicia and Meakin, Sophie R. and O’Reilly, Kathleen and McCarthy, Ciara V. and Quaife, Matthew and Wong, Kerry L.M. and Jafari, Yalda and Deol, Arminder K. and Houben, Rein M.G.J. and Diamond, Charlie and Jombart, Thibaut and Villabona-Arenas, C. Julian and Waites, William and Eggo, Rosalind M. and Endo, Akira and Gibbs, Hamish P. and Klepac, Petra and Williams, Jack and Quilty, Billy J. and Brady, Oliver and Emery, Jon C. and Atkins, Katherine E. and Chapman, Lloyd A.C. and Sherratt, Katharine and Abbott, Sam and Bosse, Nikos I. and Mee, Paul and Funk, Sebastian and Lei, Jiayao and Liu, Yang and Flasche, Stefan and Rudge, James W., Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases COVID-19 working group (2022) Modelling the medium-term dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in England in the Omicron era. Nature Communications, 13 (1). 4879. ISSN 2041-1723 (

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England has experienced a heavy burden of COVID-19, with multiple waves of SARS-CoV-2 transmission since early 2020 and high infection levels following the emergence and spread of Omicron variants since late 2021. In response to rising Omicron cases, booster vaccinations were accelerated and offered to all adults in England. Using a model fitted to more than 2 years of epidemiological data, we project potential dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospital admissions and deaths in England to December 2022. We consider key uncertainties including future behavioural change and waning immunity and assess the effectiveness of booster vaccinations in mitigating SARS-CoV-2 disease burden between October 2021 and December 2022. If no new variants emerge, SARS-CoV-2 transmission is expected to decline, with low levels remaining in the coming months. The extent to which projected SARS-CoV-2 transmission resurges later in 2022 depends largely on assumptions around waning immunity and to some extent, behaviour, and seasonality.