A COVID surge in September is “highly likely” when classes return next week, SAGE experts have warned.
Scientists say cases are likely to spike when youngsters go back, with a “high prevalence” of the virus in schools predicted by the end of the month.
The overall risk of a child becoming severely ill or dying from Covid is extremely low.
In the first year of the pandemic, 25 under-18s died of the virus, while 251 were admitted to ICUs in England.
Meanwhile, all teachers and parents will have been offered the jab, with 42.3million second doses doled out to adults in the UK so far.
However, experts on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling – or SPI-M – say Boris Johnson must now plan for a jump in cases.
The news comes as officials revealed they’re readying to jab children aged between 12 and 15 if the vaccinations watchdog gives the green light.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid says the Government must be ready to “move quickly” in one of the strongest hints yet that children will be inoculated.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is still deciding whether to extend the jab to healthy younger children.
A verdict isn’t expected until next week at the earliest.
The SPI-M paper reveals the number of tests coming back positive rocketed from 0.1 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the last half-term.
Authors say it’s very likely there’ll be “exponential increases” in schools, where face masks and bubbles have now been ditched.
The experts believe a fifth of pupils are immune. However, they say that if immunity is lower than 40 per cent, the R rate will likely rise.
‘JABS AT SCHOOL’
Latest data shows Covid cases have risen across the UK. Currently, one in 70 people in England are now infected.
However, cases are already beginning to rise.
Largely rural Cornwall is the country’s new hotspot after a boom in Brits heading to the county for summer holidays.
Both Cornwall and neighbouring Devon have been slapped with new Covid rules after the spike – with children urged to wear masks in communal areas when they return to the classroom.
Health chiefs are also bracing for a spike linked to the bank holiday as 500,000 Brits head to festivals and millions more go on UK breaks.
Eight festivals are being held across the country this weekend, with hundreds of thousands of revellers gathering to party.
Leeds and Reading, Creamfields in Cheshire and Victorious in Portsmouth are taking place.
And tens of thousands of partygoers are heading to Pride in Manchester.
Those attending one of the festivals are urged to take a rapid flow test beforehand, and to stay home if they are positive.
Meanwhile, further 38,046 Covid cases and 100 deaths were recorded yesterday.
Deaths are up almost 10 per cent over the past seven days, with the total number of fatalities since the start of the pandemic now 132,243.