When Boris Johnson delayed the final release of Covid restrictions on June 14, he warned the country that hospital admissions were increasing by 50 per cent per week.
"We know the remorseless logic of exponential growth," the Prime Minister said at a gloomy press conference, imploring the public to allow the NHS "a few more crucial weeks".
Yet the "remorseless" build-up of patients simply has not happened.
On June 14, there were 220 people admitted to hospital. The most recent daily reported figure was 227, and in between it has flip-flopped between 203 and 237.
Crucially, not only have admissions failed to sky-rocket, but the total number of people in hospital is also not rising alarmingly as it did in previous waves.
Around 1,500 hundred people are currently in hospital with Covid, an increase of 20 per cent since the mid-June press conference – and a figure that pales in comparison with the 39,000 seen during the January peak.
Take a quick look at the Government’s healthcare graphs and we see a gentle slope upwards, nothing like the steep incline of the first and second waves. This is despite a rapid rise in infections, with around 23,000 virus cases reported on Monday.
When we last experienced such a level of daily infections, in mid-December, there were around 2,000 people being admitted daily, with 18,000 already in hospital.
Critics may argue that there is a lag between reported cases and admissions, with the most recent hospital data only available up to June 22. But even allowing for a six-day lag, when compared to December, based on our current daily infection rate we should be experiencing nearly 1,800 admissions per day and 16,500 people in hospital.
So it is very clear now that the devastating link between Covid cases and hospital admissions has been broken.
Away from the figures, hospital doctors also say they are finding the current blip to be very different to previous waves, with patient numbers manageable.
The vaccination programme has not only prevented people from getting symptomatic disease and needing medical treatment, but also means those catching Covid are now experiencing a milder disease and so do not require so long in hospital.
According to specialists, fewer intensive care patients are needing ventilators, with most managing on oxygen alone.
This becomes apparent when looking at the latest data from the Government’s Covid-19 Clinical Information Network (Co-Cin).
In the January peak, fewer than half of patients had been discharged after 10 days in hospital. Now, 50 per cent of patients have been sent home by day four, with just one in five still needing hospital care by day 10. Some 92 per cent of patients admitted to hospital are now surviving past 14 days, compared to 79 per cent in the last wave.
Because those being admitted are largely younger, they are better able to fight off an infection. The latest figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that only eight deaths have occurred from the Indian or delta variant in the under-50s, and none in those who had been fully vaccinated.
The young are now being admitted to hospital – but levels are still much lower
A quick glance at the death figures shows even less need to worry. When we had the same infection rates in October, around 459 people were dying each day. Monday’s death figure was just three – the same number as reported on the day of Mr Johnson’s press conference.
As manageable as the situation is now, it is likely to continue to improve as more people are vaccinated. Some 84 per cent of adults in Britain have had a first jab, and 60 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
Immunising younger people will have a disproportionate impact on the spread as they have more contacts and are more likely to be the cause of super-spreading events.
Infection rates are not rising as fast as previously, despite recent government figures showing cases jumping 60 per cent in a week. According to the King’s College symptom tracker app, the national rate is now only increasing by two per cent each day and may soon level off completely.
In the North West, which has seen the worst of the latest rise in figures, King’s believes the ‘R’ value is back to 1, while in Yorkshire and the Humber it is 0.9.
And there is growing evidence that the final stage of lockdown release will not bring too many problems. Pilots of 10 major sporting and musical events involving 58,000 people threw up just 28 cases of Covid and no major outbreaks.
Over the past few months, Mr Johnson and government scientists have been at pains to warn the public that infections and hospitalisations will inevitably rise once more restrictions are lifted, but that we must eventually learn to live with the virus.
It is now time they took their own advice.