England would only suffer 35,000 Covid hospitalisations if the entire population got infected right now compared to a quarter of a million in Germany, a study backed by Government scientists has found.
Researchers looked at vaccination rates and cumulative infection numbers in 19 countries in Europe to estimate levels of immunity and work out what would happen if everyone was suddenly exposed to the virus.
England would be the least affected in the hypothetical scenario with 35,000 admissions and 10,000 deaths. Even though the model only looked at England, there is nothing to suggest Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be hit harder.
There have been more than 500,000 Covid hospitalisations in England alone in the last 18 months, for comparison, with just over 140,000 dying with the virus.
The study estimated around 280,000 people in Germany would be hospitalised with the virus — the most of any country in Europe — while Romania would suffer around 150,000.
The researchers include Dr Rosanna Barnard, Dr Nick Davies and Dr Adam Kucharski — three members of SAGE's Spi-M modelling subgroup, which has been instrumental in Government policy during the pandemic.
They said higher levels of prior infection and the success of the vaccine rollout in England meant the country is likely to be better protected than its neighbours this winter.
Britain was branded the 'sick man of Europe' this summer after it dropped all restrictions in England in July and saw cases spiral to as much as 50,000 a day. But experts now say opening up early allowed the country to frontload its cases, meaning more people now have immunity than in Europe.
Scientists also believe Britain's longer dosage gap between vaccines — 12 weeks compared to three weeks on the continent — has afforded Brits longer lasting immunity from jabs.
Just 62 per 100,000 people in England would be hospitalised if they were exposed to Covid with no further restrictions put in place, according to research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It has the lowest expected admissions in Europe thanks to its successful vaccine rollout and high levels of prior infection
The number of Covid intensive care in-patients in European countries like Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France are on the rise and heading into levels not seen since the start of the year. In comparison the UK's number of patients requiring intensive care is levelling off
Austria has the highest Covid cases per million people in Europe, followed by the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland
The UK's booster drive has steamed ahead of others on the continent. More than 20 per cent of Brits have now got a booster, which is almost double the level in Austria
Another 700,000 Europeans could die from Covid this winter, the World Health Organization warned today.
WHO officials suggested the continent's death toll was set to spiral from 1.5million to 2.2million by March amid a ferocious fourth wave.
This figure includes 53 countries in Europe, including EU member states, the UK, Kazakhstan and Russia, among others.
If this prediction is correct, it means that Europe is facing a winter only slightly better than last year, despite vaccines now being widely available.
Bodies are already 'piling up' on hospital wards in Romania, with Bucharest's main hospital morgue now almost three-times over-capacity.
The WHO said the new wave of the Indian 'Delta' variant, vaccine scepticism and relaxing Covid restrictions were to blame for its gloomy prediction.
Some 66 per cent of people in the European Union are already double-jabbed, and many countries are now rolling out booster doses.
Surging cases have also sent several nations scuttling back into lockdowns and tighter restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
It comes after an AstraZeneca boss suggested that Europe's hospitalisations are surging because it was slow to roll out their jab to older age groups, unlike the UK.
But scientists say Europe's fresh wave is likely due to a number of other reasons, including slower booster roll outs, longer lockdowns in the summer and shorter vaccine dosing intervals.
In a sign of a growing crisis the Netherlands today began moving Covid patients to Germany to help ease pressure on its hospitals.
Europe is currently in the midst of a rapidly worsening winter Covid crisis, with cases and hospital admissions creeping up towards levels seen last winter in countries across the continent.
It has seen harsh restrictions and lockdown reimposed, with some countries, including Italy, opting to make vaccines mandatory, sparking protests across the continent.
The World Health Organization yesterday predicted another 700,000 Europeans could die from Covid in the coming months — despite the availability of vaccines.
As well as slower vaccine rollouts, mobility data shows that in recent weeks Europeans have socialised more than Britons, whose behaviours have remained cautious even after lockdown.
The LSHTM paper — which has not yet been peer-reviewed and was published on the preprint website MedRxiv — estimated the number of hospitalisations for countries in the 'short term' — meaning it did not include the effects of waning immunity or emergence of new variants — but did not specify the exact timescale for the hospitalisations.
It also did not