London CNN  — 

On Monday, Boris Johnson placed English citizens at the center of an experiment that will give some indication of how well a highly populated country with surging cases of Covid-19 copes when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

In Johnson’s favor, most of the UK’s adult population is now double vaccinated. However, while those vaccinations have cut the numbers of people suffering from severe illness and succumbing to the disease after more than 128,000 deaths, the number of cases is rising. There is also scant evidence that vaccines prevent the worst effects of long Covid in those who become infected.

Despite Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – the other, less populous, nations of the UK – also being highly vaccinated, it is only England that is taking this leap on Monday.

Almost all of the remaining coronavirus-related restrictions in England had been lifted as of Monday. Mandatory mask-wearing is gone, limits on the numbers of people who can mix indoor or outdoor have been ended, social distancing will be limited to people who have tested positive for the virus and airports, and venues like nightclubs and sports stadiums are free to open at full capacity.

As midnight struck on Monday, thousands across England flocked to nightclubs for the first time since they closed back in March 2020. As it’s no longer a legal requirement to prove one’s Covid-19 status before entering such venues, the nation now waits to learn whether the end of restrictions will plunges the nation into an unprecedented wave of infection.