While the delta variety is spreading, the English will live freely from July 19: what are the threats?

Scientists and health secretary Sajid Javid himself admits that even if the coronavirus shackles are not released, as many as 50,000 can be recorded as early as mid-July. Already on Wednesday, for the first time since January, more than 30 thousand. COVID-19 cases.

Later, it is possible to cross the peak of last winter (81 thousand cases per day) and exceed 100 thousand. case limit.

More than 100 public health experts and medical scientists, The Lancet, have publicly warned this week that “opening up” England (other parts of the UK have the right to act in their own right) was already “dangerous and hasty” in mid-July.

Compared to recent weeks, hospitalizations and deaths have already increased by more than 40 percent.

Imago / Scanpix nuotr./COVID-19 atmaina Delta

So far, neither experts nor decision-makers in the government and the National Health Service (NHS) are determined to say with certainty what kind of crisis in the healthcare system and how many deaths would be caused by such an increase. However, science provides some implicit answers.

Cases

It is clear that the third wave of coronavirus in the UK has already risen. The number of new cases doubles on average every nine days, says Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief science adviser.

If such rates do not slow down, the national epidemic is likely to become even greater than during the second wave that hit the country in the winter.

At the beginning of July, more than 25 thousand were recorded daily. cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged on Monday that by July 19, when at least England has to lift its latest coronavirus restrictions, the number of cases registered daily could rise to 50,000.

Analysts laying out patterns of epidemic trends believe that infections will increase throughout July and the outbreak will peak in August.

At the end of this month – up to 100 thousand. per day, in other words, to a level the United Kingdom had not yet seen during this pandemic.

Analysts laying out patterns of epidemic trends believe that infections will increase throughout July and the outbreak will peak in August. It is said that many of those infected will be younger people who have not yet been fully vaccinated.

Data from Imperial College London already show that the European Football Championship and the country’s successful march towards the tournament finals are contributing to the spread of the epidemic in England. It has been observed that it is because of a passion for football that men are currently infected with the coronavirus by 30%. more often than women.

AFP / Scanpix Photo / England national team fans at Wembley Stadium

AFP / Scanpix Photo / England national team fans at Wembley Stadium

On the other hand, the number of patients in hospitals is not very high so far, although, of course, there are more of them than, say, in June. In addition, COVID-19 has been shown to be much less common in vaccinated individuals than in non-vaccinated individuals.

Hospitals and the impact on the NHS

More than a year of living with a coronavirus has already taught me that hospitalizations are about a week or two behind infections.

Typically, a sudden surge in infections translates into an exponential increase in the number of patients entering hospitals. So if the number of infections doubles in a fixed period of time, it should theoretically be the case with hospitalizations – but practically not.

The main factors are vaccination and immunity after natural infection. At least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine has already been given to two-thirds of the UK population, half of whom received both doses.

And because the vaccination campaign started with the oldest and most vulnerable, those who end up in hospitals these weeks are younger. Due to the changed average age of the patient, significantly fewer deaths are also recorded.

Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College London, estimates that the link between infections and travel to hospitals has weakened by more than two-thirds since the winter. It continues to weaken as people continue to get vaccinated.

In the winter, there were days when more than 4,000 people were hospitalized in England. people, and now the NHS can avoid such pressure.

Models from the University of Warwick suggest that in late July and August, English hospitals may have admitted around 1.3 thousand. patients infected with coronavirus. The NHS can certainly lift that burden.

Wikipedia photo / Neil Ferguson

Wikipedia photo / Neil Ferguson

Apparently, this is why the government is willing to take risks – after all, in the winter there were days when more than 4,000 people were hospitalized in English hospitals. people, and now the NHS can avoid such pressure. Of course, if there are 150-200 thousand infections every day, hospitalizations and deaths simply will not be able to increase.

“Even if vaccine deaths are low, current trends in hospital admissions in other countries suggest that the NHS will be under a heavy burden,” said Azra Ghani, a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London.

In addition, coronavirus patients need to be taken into account not only in terms of medical employment, but also in people suffering from so-called long-term illnesses. covido. It can also catch younger people who don’t get sick so badly as to travel to the hospital but later turn to specialists more than once.

Deaths

If a person is vaccinated with both doses of AstraZeneca or Pfizer / BioNTech, the risk of dying from the latest delta strain of coronavirus is reduced by more than 90%.

According to Professor Ferguson, mortality from COVID-19 in the UK is currently as much as 10 times lower than during the autumn epidemic. The peak was then reached by registering 68,000 a day. infections and 1.8 thousand. deaths.

AFP / Scanpix nuotr./Pfizer vaccine

AFP / Scanpix nuotr./Pfizer vaccine

99 percent. all of the UK population who died from COVID-19 were aged 40 and over. But by July 19, almost everyone in this age group will already be offered both doses of the vaccine.

Vaccination of young people over the age of 18 is on the rise in the country, and experts point out that vaccines are important for this age group because of the lower risk of transmission rather than protection against death.

Younger people are more likely to interact with others, so the virus spreads more than older people, which is natural. What is important, however, is that if there are many cases, the virus will also be more likely to find vulnerable people who have not yet been vaccinated or whose body has not produced enough antibodies.

Vaccines and collective immunity

By mid-September, both doses of the vaccine will be offered to all adults in the UK, but the number of infections will increase, as mentioned. Along with infections, it is true that public immunity will expand.

This will slow down the spread of the virus. However, for the epidemic to escape altogether, the United Kingdom, like other countries by the way, needs to reach the threshold of skiing collective immunity.

Reuters / Photo by Scanpix / Vaccination against coronavirus in London

Reuters / Photo by Scanpix / Vaccination against coronavirus in London

This threshold is not clear, and its steepness depends on who is spreading the virus. But given the contagious delta strain, it is estimated that it may be necessary to prevent the spread of the contamination by at least 85%. part of the population.

The National Statistics Office estimates that more than 85% British adults have antibodies to coronavirus. However, this alone does not necessarily protect against infection and transmission of the virus to others.

And since adults make up only 80 percent. of the entire population of the United Kingdom, the road is still short. The threshold may only be crossed when everyone is immune and has been vaccinated or re-vaccinated with COVID-19 several times.

New varieties

The more infected people there are, the greater the risk of new strains emerging. As London has decided to “open up” public life, an intensification of the epidemic is inevitable, and hence the threat of new options.

The delta strain is considered dangerous because it is highly contagious and is also slightly more resistant to the effects of vaccines. The main threat is that an even smarter strain will emerge in the coming months that will require new vaccines.

ZUMAPRESS / Scanpix photo / Boris Johnson

ZUMAPRESS / Scanpix photo / Boris Johnson

True, the British have already planned an additional vaccination of the population aged 50 and over for the fall, which should be enough to control the epidemic. However, vaccine formulas may need to be updated and adapted to the most popular coronavirus variants at a later stage.

“Just over 50 percent have been fully vaccinated. population, so by allowing the virus to roam society, we create the perfect conditions for the virus to mutate and escape the vaccine. Therefore, our strategy poses a threat not only to England, but also to the global fight against the pandemic, ”said scientist A. Ghani.

Can restraints be returned?

There are obviously a number of problems. However, scientists advising the government believe that a new big wave of the epidemic will not happen in the near future – such a scenario is considered the blackest.

Of course, this is possible – previous worst-case scenarios were overly optimistic. Perhaps that is why Johnson on Monday refused to rule out the possibility of restraint if necessary.


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