‘States’ reopening not prudent as vaccination rates still low’June 23, 2021
Using test positivity as guiding factor may create challenges: Oxford Economics
States’ reopening strategy in the wake of a decline in COVID-19 cases is not “prudent” and might even result in a rise in infections as vaccine coverage remains low in many States, global forecasting firm Oxford Economics said on Wednesday.
In a report, it also said, “we remain cautious and maintain our 2021 growth forecast at 9.1%”, pointing out that economic data did not support an upward revision at this point.
The rapid decline in COVID-19 cases and test positivity rates has prompted many States to relax restrictions that are in place to curb the spread of coronavirus infections. Against this backdrop, Oxford Economics said vaccination rates were far below the levels deemed to be safe for easing social distancing measures substantially in the more populous and economically important States.
While partial restrictions were likely to be extended into the third quarter of the calendar year 2021, the reopening had started at a faster pace than it had expected, it noted. “We think this reopening strategy is not prudent and may result in a renewed rise in infections and retightening of restrictions in the future,” Oxford Economics said.
The reopening had begun at a faster pace than it had anticipated as States had focussed on declining test positivity rates as the guiding factor for easing measures rather than the share of population vaccinated.
“This strategy could create a challenge… if infections increase again, especially as we head towards the festive months, and vaccine coverage remains low in many States,” it said.
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