The UK: Why are Covid-19 cases rising yet again, after its speedy vaccination?


Do the Brits have a collective death wish that none are aware of?




The UK has one of the highest Covid infection rates in the world right now: Here’s why

Published Tue, Oct 19 20214:27 AM EDTHolly Ellyatt@HollyEllyatt

Key Points

  • When the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe in 2020, the U.K. was hit hard, reporting some of the highest cases numbers and fatalities in Europe.
  • The U.K.’s speedy vaccination rollout was widely praised and helped to bring cases under control.
  • Now the situation is looking dramatically different, with the country recording close to 50,000 new Covid cases a day — giving it one of the worst daily infection rates in the world.

On Monday, 49,156 new cases were recorded, marking the highest number in three months and taking the total number of cases to over 8.4 million in the U.K. The country also reported 45 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of fatalities to 138,629 — one of the highest death tolls in the world.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations and deaths have been steadily increasing since the summer when Covid restrictions in England were lifted on July 19. Pubs, restaurants and nightclubs reopened and mask-wearing became (for the most part) voluntary.

Thankfully, the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths have been rising at a much slower rate than earlier in the pandemic, largely due to Covid vaccines being highly effective at preventing severe infection, hospitalization and deaths.

Nonetheless, healthcare professionals in the country’s National Health Service are warning of a tough winter ahead.

Experts say there are a variety of reasons for the U.K.’s steep Covid numbers — ranging from the half-hearted mask adoption (even when masks are required, such as on public transport, the rule is rarely enforced) to large indoor gatherings that have allowed the virus to spread.

The U.K.‘s hesitation in vaccinating younger teenagers, something that other countries in Europe and the U.S. did much earlier, and the return to schools in September, have also been cited as reasons for the sharp rise in cases, although the boom in infections among 0-18 year olds is now ebbing as infections rise in their parents’ generation, data shows.

Perhaps most ironically, the U.K.’s early vaccination rollout — which began in December 2020 and was one of the first in the world — is also seen as contributing to its high case rate now.

That’s because we now know — due to an increasing body of data — that immunity in vaccinated people wanes after about six months. The spread of the much more infectious delta Covid variant in the spring and summer is also seen as a factor that has diminished vaccine efficacy.

Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, tweeted his assessment of the U.K.’s situation on Saturday, stating: “Why does the UK currently have 6-fold hospital admissions and a 3-fold higher death rate compared with Europe? Among [the] possible explanations, two that stand out are less use of mitigation measures and less vaccination of kids, age 12-17.”

He noted that reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine (where effectiveness has been found to decline slightly more over time than the Pfizer vaccine) as another possible contributing factor.

While, “another potential explanation is that the U.K. vaccinated earlier than rest of Europe, and therefore has manifest more waning of protection, especially among older people,” he noted. On a more positive note, Topol noted that “the U.K. has done far better than the U.S. for uncoupling cases from hospitalizations and deaths.”

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