New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the UK have spiked to the highest level in months
ByKaren Graham
PublishedOctober 21, 2021
A sign stating that a face covering must be worn on Transport for London services and stations at Tower Hill station, City of London, London. (Image dated August 15, 2021). Source - sebastiandoe5, CC SA 2.0.
The U.K. again has one of the worst COVID rates in the world. Up 35 percent over the last two weeks, new cases are currently averaging more than 45,000 a day. They will soon surpass July’s initial Delta variant peak of about 47,000 daily cases, and there is no end in sight.
Additionally, on Tuesday, the UK Government announced a further 223 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19,  the highest daily figure since early March, bringing the UK total to 138,852 deaths.
These latest figures come as ministers refuse to look at possibly another lockdown and experts call for an urgent acceleration in the booster vaccine program. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also being told to reverse his relaxation of face mask rules in public places, according to The National.
Johnson’s government has strayed away from the path followed by many other European countries in controlling the virus. “We [must] learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted in July.
CNN is reporting that a number of countries on the continent have introduced vaccine passports, England halted its original plan to do so. Mask-wearing and social distancing and other measures are no longer required by law in Britain.
Boris Johnson has vowed to forge ahead with his post-Covid recovery plan to ‘build back better’ in areas from infrastructure to climate change – Copyright AFP PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
What is happening in the U.K.
The Guardian is reporting that hospitals in Britain are once again buckling under the strain of new admissions, while people are increasingly reporting catching Sars-CoV-2 for a second or even third time. And a new analysis also suggests that unvaccinated individuals should expect to be reinfected with Covid-19 every 16 months, on average.
One other problem the UK is facing is the poor rollout of booster shots and shots for children, with the National Health Service calling for the vaccination program to be extended to all schoolchildren, including two doses for teenagers.
“If you’ve got high-level prevalence, and frequent exposure to the virus, as you have in schools, you are going to see more and more people getting reinfected despite having been double vaccinated,” said Stephen Griffin, associate professor of virology at the University of Leeds.
Data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) published on 6 October says that among 20,262 Britons who tested positive for Covid-19 between July 2020 and September 2021, there were 296 reinfections – defined as a new positive test 120 days or more after an initial first positive test – with an average (median) time of 203 days between positive tests.
This next bit of data is surprising: However, the reinfection risk appears to have been higher since May 2021 when Delta took over as the predominant variant. Further data from the US, where various states have now started tracking and reporting on reinfection rates, supports the idea there is a substantially higher risk of re-infection with the Delta variant.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines reinfection as a lab-confirmed case of Covid-19 occurring 90 days or more after a previously lab-confirmed case.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, and a leading member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said, “people need to be aware that we have currently higher levels of infection in the community than we’ve almost ever had during the pandemic”, amid suggestions that people have “gone back to normal.”
Many experts blame the lack of momentum in the UK’s vaccination drive on months’ worth of positive reassurances from Johnson’s government. The official message from the government has been positive, suggesting people were out of danger and that the pandemic is essentially over.
In this article:
boris johnson
Rising cases and deaths
united kingdom
vaccine rollout
Karen Graham
Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.
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