THE first step in easing the lockdown has now been taken.

Earlier Boris boldly told us: "I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our roadmap to freedom." Yet perhaps he was not being entirely candid.

This morning (13 April) Boris repeated that message but stressed "It is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in hospitalisations, deaths and infections has not been achieved by the vaccination programme."

"It's the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement."

It is possible to put a number on what Boris means by "overwhelmingly."

Vaccinated with a first jab back in February, the over-70s have seen a greater reduction in Covid mortality than younger mostly unvaccinated folk.

The numbers imply lockdown is responsible for more than 95% of the reduced mortality.

When everybody has had their first jab and it has had time to take effect, the vaccinations will be preventing spread of the disease by reducing the R-number by a half, maybe more with the second jabs.

But until then, lifting the protective lockdown means the the R-number will increase again.

In Boris's words, "The result will inevitably be that we will see more infection. Sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths, and people have just got to understand that."

And Boris says it is "very very important" we all understand that as he unlocks the country.

Dr Martin Rodger